Alleged "Bad Santa" Prank Becomes Twitter Sensation

An image of Harrods' Christmas lights that went viral.
The Poke
An image of Harrods' Christmas lights that went viral.
The Poke

When Twitter users read that a disgruntled Santa at London's famed Harrods had rigged the store's Christmas lights to read "F*** OFF," many couldn't believe it.

And with good reason. It never happened.

The U.K. comedy blog The Poke sparked a viral storm when it reported - complete with doctored photo - that a Santa, fired for being drunk, broke into the maintenance control room of the landmark London department store and "took revenge last night in spectacular style."

The blog reported that a Lloyd Hudson, 35, from Ilford, Essex was able to manipulate the switches for 10,000 external light displays to spell out the holiday "greeting."

All, of course, after the impersonator "had drunk the best part of two bottles of whiskey," a spokesman from Harrods was reported to have said.

The Poke even included "interviews" with alarmed visitors.

"Honestly, I am disgusted," they quoted Irene Rider, 59, from Gary, Indiana. "I was with my grandchildren. We had just gotten off the bus. I said 'look everybody' and pointed up to the lights - but you know what the lights said? They said f*** off. And that is not an appropriate message for a child. At least not at Christmas time."

Business Review Europe reports the hijinks caused a "raucous storm" on Twitter and became a trending topic on Google.

"It has been revealed that the whole affair was a lighthearted joke," Business Review Europe wrote. "And in fact Harrods' world-renowned Christmas décor remain unharmed and glittering as ever."