Oil Sands Protest?
Several dozen unrenowned Hollywood celebrities gathered in downtown Calgary early Saturday, April 1, 2017 for what they were led to believe was a protest against Canadian oil sands development.
In an unexpected twist, it was revealed that the producers of a new reality TV program that couples celebrities with professional dancers had organized the event to attract and recruit affordable talent.
“Well-known celebrities are getting harder and harder to bring onto shows like ours,” explained the project’s executive producer. “One day we were watching TV and saw yet another celeb of yesteryear going on and on about the Canadian oil sands. Then it hit us: An oil sands protest – the perfect way to attract former household names nobody had heard from in decades!”
Producers Targeted Ill-Informed Celebrities
The producers advertised the oil sands protest event at talent agencies around Hollywood. The ad promised airtime, easy publicity, and the chance to feel good about “doing something for the environment” without actually having to research or learn anything. In fine print, it also offered the opportunity to appear on the inaugural season of a dance-based reality show.Producers targeted ill-informed celebrities for an oil sands protest. Click To Tweet
Actor Reinhold Leisterbaum, who rose to “fame” in the 1970s as the traffic cop on the PBS children’s program The Electric Company, was one of the duped celebrities.
“It seemed legit,” related Leisterbaum.
“The flyer just said to show up in Calgary, rant about global warming and respect for Mother Earth, play Neil Young songs, and do some chants in front of the camera. I haven’t been on air since ’79, so it sounded great. The only fishy thing was that I was told to wear a flamenco outfit.”
Protest Debunked by Vista’s Technology Manager
The fake protest may have gone undiscovered were it not for the quick actions and eagle eye of Vista Projects Managing Partner, Patrick Reilly.
Reilly was presenting on the benefits of digital project execution at an industry conference near the protest when he heard the chanting.
“I saw a group of people out front with signs and megaphones, shouting a bunch of misinformation. Ordinarily I’d just ignore them – life’s too short, you know? But I was pretty sure I recognized one of them as that guy from the original Battlestar Galactica who dies in the pilot episode. Man, I love that show,” enthused Reilly.
“Anyway, when I heard them going on about tailings ponds and dead ducks, I just had to explain steam-assisted gravity drainage, and how innovative technologies – like Vista’s digital engineering environment – are actually helping to create more and more efficient and environmentally-friendly oil sands operations. Then I noticed they were all dressed in dancewear.”
As Reilly deftly contradicted myths and falsehoods about oil sands production, he spotted two of the reality show producers lurking behind the crowd, taking notes on the protestors’ posture and encouraging them to “make love to the camera.”
“It seemed kind of odd when one of the protestors was given a rose to hold in his teeth as he shouted into the megaphone. And then they were telling him to keep his shoulders square and buttocks proud. Now, if there’s one thing I know better than SAGD production systems, it’s flamenco dancing. I realized, wait a minute – not everything’s what it seems here.”
Show Producers Apologize for Misleading Celebs
After Reilly confronted the producers with his suspicions, they eventually admitted their misdeed.
“We apologize to the many talented actors, dancers and singers who paid out of their own pocket to travel here for what they thought would be another fifteen minutes of fame. We, the producers, played upon their envy of Leonardo DiCaprio, who got global coverage for his scientific revelation connecting chinooks with oil sands production,” they said in a prepared statement.
“We made them believe they could be the next Jane Fonda, travelling to a city she knows nothing about to rage against utterly misconceived notions of economy and the environment. For that, we are truly sorry.”
An apology to the people of Alberta for spreading alarmist misinformation was not received.