It looks like Yelp has been hit with an internet hoax. The Inquisitr, as well as many other media outlets, reported that Yelp was suing South Park, as well as Comedy Central after a recent episode compared Yelp reviewers to ISIS. While the episode actually happened, a Yelp lawsuit was never in the works.
In a statement released to the Inquisitr by Yelp, a spokesperson said, “The rumor about a Yelp lawsuit was started by a satire site, which makes it both funny and untrue. We have no interest in legal action against the fantastic team that makes the South Park magic happen.”
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) October 23, 2015
Originally NBC.com.co, a very clever parody site, mocked to look like the actual NBC site, reported that Yelp was suing South Park because of the episode, “You’re Not Yelping.”
In the episode South Park mocked Yelp reviewers and the effect they have over small businesses due to reviewers from Yelp writing negative reviews. In the episode, characters Gerald and Randy are Yelp reviewers who enter a restaurant and discover that they have to wait a half hour to be seated. Gerald reveals that he’s a Yelp reviewer and the pair are seated right away. In another instance in the episode, Cartman bullies a restaurant owner to give him a free dessert. Then he tells the owner’s son, a bus boy at the Mexican restaurant, that he’s writing a bad review.
— Re/code (@Recode) October 21, 2015
The satirical site, which tricked many people into believing that Yelp was suing South Park for $10 million, said that Yelp released a statement on the content of the episode.
“Our company, along with its millions of users, take Yelp very seriously. The South Park episode was in extremely bad taste and not funny whatsoever. To say our critics are out there trying to get free food and using racist slurs on little Mexican children is beyond ridiculous. To compare the users of Yelp to terrorists is not only cruel, but the definition of libel and slander. I believe any reasonable court in America will agree with the lawsuit and rule in our favor.”
The satirical site also released a fabricated quote from Matt Stone and Trey Parker about the “lawsuit.”
“We’ve taken a hard look at the information presented to us, and after reviewing it, we have given Yelp and their lawsuit only one star. Their lawyers delivered us legal documents in a very unprofessional manner; not bothering to smile or even a quick handshake. The writing on the envelope was barely legible and in two different colors. It is our personal opinion that Yelp could do a much better job by not suing us for ten million dollars.”
This got a lot of South Park fans and Yelp users talking about the move, especially when reports started to circulate. Yelp eventually tweeted about the hoax and told everyone to chill out. The company proved that they definitely have a sense of humor and aren’t pressing any charges over the episode.
— Yelp (@Yelp) October 21, 2015
According to Eater, a spokesperson told the site, “The rumor about a Yelp lawsuit is entirely untrue and was started by a satire site that has received far too much media credibility.”
It’s not that far out of reach that South Park would be sued for defamation. Although the show isn’t being sued by Yelp, they’ve been sued in the past. The show was taken up to task for the three episode installment titled “Imaginationland” over a character called “The Lollipop King” for Copyright infringement. Fortunately, for the South Park duo nothing happened to the suit.
[Image via Comedy Central]