Fri, 18 June 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST


How Scammers, Grifters, and Con Artists Are Taking Over the Internet – From Theranos to Fyre Festival

Gabrielle Bluestone in conversation with Pandora Sykes

Vice journalist and producer of the Netflix Fyre documentary Gabrielle Bluestone joins us with an eye-opening look at the con artists of the digital age – and why we can’t stop falling for them.

We live in an age where scams are the new normal. A charismatic entrepreneur sells thousands of tickets to a festival that never happened. Respected investors pour millions into a start-up centred around fake blood tests. Reviewers and celebrities flock to London’s top-rated restaurant that’s little more than a backyard shed. These unsettling stories of today’s viral grifters have risen to fame and hit the front-page headlines, yet the curious conundrum remains: Why do these scams happen?

Drawing from scientific research, marketing campaigns, and exclusive documents and interviews, Vice reporter Gabrielle Bluestone delves into the irresistible hype that fuels our social media ecosystem, whether it’s from the trusted influencers that peddled Fyre or the consumer reviews that sold Juicero.

A cultural examination that is as revelatory as it is relevant, this talk with author and journalist Pandora Sykes will pull back the curtain on the manipulation game behind the never-ending scam season—and how we as consumers can stop getting played.

Praise for Gabrielle Bluestone’s Hype:

“A deep dive into the depressing world of grifters, bullsh*t artists, plagiarists and long con experts turbocharged by the Internet—and what, if anything, separates those scammers from some of our most respected captains of industry. Fyre Festival, Bluestone makes clear, may have been a low water mark so far in the history of empty hype—but the tide, as ever, just keeps rolling out.”– Anna Merlan, author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power

“Hype is the best kind of nonfiction: juicy, sharp, savage and wildly entertaining, with a celebrity behaving badly on every page. What more could you want?” – Cat Marnell, New York Times bestselling author of How to Murder Your Life

“Gabrielle Bluestone is one of the most gifted chroniclers of American culture working today because she is one of the coolest people alive. In Hype, she delivers the story of what the f*ck is wrong with us as only she can: with detailed reporting that skewers the subjects who deserve it — and without an ounce of sanctimony — while taking us for a ride so fun that, by the end, it takes you a second to realize that Hype may have indicted you, too (she is a lawyer, after all). We may not deserve this book, but we do need it. Hype is the most fun, most outrageous, and — most of all — most true book.” –  Olivia Nuzzi, author and Washington correspondent, New York magazine

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Gabrielle Bluestone

Journalist and Emmy-nominated Producer

Gabrielle Bluestone is a journalist and licensed attorney from New York whose writing has appeared  in the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Observer, Sunday Times Magazine, Esquire, InStyle and Gawker. She is the Emmy-nominated producer of Netflix’s Fyre and the associate producer of Different Flowers, winner of the 2017 Kansas City FilmFest Festival Prize.

Pandora Sykes

Author, Journalist and Podcaster

Pandora Sykes is an author, journalist and speaker. A former editor and columnist for the Sunday Times Style magazine and a Contributing Editor at Elle, she has written for publications including the Telegraph, Observer, GQ and Vogue. She is the co-host of the weekly pop-culture and current affairs podcast, The High Low and published her first book How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? this year.