Meet the real illustrator behind Banksy’s viral Charlie Hebdo tribute

Because the Internet is fueled by false rumors about and misattributions to the pseudonymous street artist Banksy—just one of the perks of underground fame—someone was able to steal another artist’s imagery and pass it off as his on a bogus Instagram account.

RIP @lucille_clerc

A photo posted by StreetArtGlobe (@streetartglobe) on

The illustration, actually the work of Lucille Clerc, is an homage to the satirical cartoonists killed in Wednesday’s terrorist attack on the Paris offices of weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo. Her posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, however, received far less attention.

Break one, thousand will rise #CharlieHebdo #JeSuisCharlie #raiseyourpencil

A photo posted by Lucille Clerc (@lucille_clerc) on

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As with any number of the viral hoaxes that tend to spring up around Banksy, his PR representative was forced to issue a denial. “We can confirm this [picture] is not by Banksy,” Jo Brooks told the Independent. She also followed Clerc and retweeted her posts.

It’s anyone’s guess as to why a million people follow a fake Banksy social media account—and it’s hardly the only successful one—but as long as the proprietor continues to rip off decent and timely material, it’ll probably keep on thriving.

Photo via Eric/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)

Miles Klee

Miles Klee

Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions,  and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'