The first rule of the Internet is that you shouldn't believe everything you read on the Internet. A news report has been circulating online that says that Banksy's true identity has been revealed, that his studio in London was raided, and that he was subsequently arrested. According to The Independent, the reports are fake and the lie was started by the National Reporter, a US-based site known for crafting false stories.

Jo Brooks, Banksy's publicist, confirmed that "the Banksy arrest was a hoax." The National Reporter wrote that the artist's real name is Paul Horner, the same name that was used in the last Banksy arrest hoax in 2013, though the new report changed his age, added lots of details of the raid and arrest, and claimed that Brooks and Pest Control (Banksy's art authentication service) had validated the information. 

The news prompted #FreeBanksy tweets and angry messages from people who thought that the cops should find better uses for their time.


Banksy has been arrested.. #freebanksy Jesus Christ go after the real criminals ffs.. Like the bankers and the politicians #45

— Pauline Stewart (@iluvfilms) October 20, 2014

Really.... How much 'damage' has he really done?? #FreeBanksy

— Prue (@prueDP) October 20, 2014

Can't believe I've woken up to find out Banksy has been caught. Gutted. #FreeBanksy

— Kate Pugh (@katepugh22) October 20, 2014

The Banksy Does New York documentary airs on HBO on Nov. 17 and will be shown during the DOC NYC Festival on Nov. 14, so it looks like the artist will be free to watch it with the rest of us.

[via The Independent]