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Grimes claims responsibility for Hipster Runoff hack

By | Published on Friday 25 March 2022


Grimes has claimed that it was she who hacked music blog Hipster Runoff in 2012 and then “basically blackmailed” its owner. Specifically, she says, she wanted a photograph of her kissing another woman on a night out taken down.

The revelation comes in a new video posted by Vanity Fair, as a bit of bonus content attached to its recent magazine interview with the musician. In it, she is asked to comment on a series of images from throughout her career, of which the offending picture is one.

“This one’s funny, I’ve always wanted to tell the story about this one”, she says. “Back in the day, before the ‘woke’ era, I actually got cancelled for this, which is so crazy. I was just at a party with my friends, someone took this photo, and it got leaked to this website called Hipster Runoff. And he ran this story”.

“I was trying to be all integrity, and you know, start my career, and it was like ‘Grimes Gone Wild’ or something, and it was just this super wack mean story, and it was this meme which was going all over the internet”, she adds.

If you don’t remember Hipster Runoff, it was a blog that satirised indie music culture, which operated from 2007 to 2013. Run by anonymous writer ‘Carles’, it had a very specific tone of voice and – depending on your view – was either “funny” or “mean spirited”. It is credited with coining the genre name ‘chillwave’ and often claimed to be fighting the “Corrupt Indie Machine”.

As she came to prominence, Grimes became a particular target for HRO’s gossip blog style content, and – it seems – eventually she’d had enough of it.

She now admits that she got a friend to help her with hacking the website by launching a DDoS – or distributed denial of service – attack to take the website offline in order to force the removal of the offending photo.

“We were actually able to DDoS Hipster Runoff and basically blackmail them”, she says. “We were like, ‘We’re not going to let you put your site back up until you take the story down’. And he did, in fact, take the story down. It was my coolest hacker moment”.

Speaking to Vice’s Motherboard blog amid the 2012 hacking incident, Carles explained: “I can’t really name names, but I know that my site is frowned down upon in the indie community. All of the other sites hate me, and many artists and labels do not support my site. I am paying a price for not being part of the Corrupt Indie Machine”.

The site did come back online soon afterwards, but Carles stopped posting in 2013 and two years later sold the site and its social media handles for just over $20,000.

Whether the hacking attack was to blame for the site’s ultimate demise is debatable. Many were already claiming that the site was past its prime in 2012 – something Carles noted in his Motherboard interview.

But, whatever, it probably didn’t help. And now Grimes has basically admitted to an actual crime. So that’s fun. Maybe the site could be revived to write about it.