Cannes: International movie celebrities were scared almost to death by a failed PR stunt staged by an internet company, which hired fake Islamic State-looking commandos to make a sea landing at a hotel where the stars were staying during the Cannes Film Festival.
According to RT online, guests at the five-star Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc said that men dressed as "IS-like" terrorists and flying a black flag resembling the jihadists' banner approached on a speedboat before docking at the resort harbour.
Hollywood actress Marion Cottilard at Cannes. Pic/ AFP
The landing at the French Riviera resort, which several Hollywood stars were using as a hideaway during the Cannes film festival, caused a number of VIP guests to panic, police said on Saturday.
"We were caught off guard," American publicist J.R. Savet told the Hollywood Reporter. "And then someone screamed and people jumped out of their chairs and started moving quickly to the swimming pool."
"It was pretty scary. The fact that men appeared to be dressed like an IS militia group was quite shocking," he added.
A spokesperson for Oraxy, the "world’s first private global marketplace reserved ... for Ultra High Net Worth Individuals,” confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that the whole thing had been a publicity stunt, claiming that they coordinated with maritime authorities.
The start-up company has apologized for the PR stunt, saying it had not intended to scare people.
“It was not about scaring people, and it was definitely not planned to look like a terrorist attack,” a spokeswoman for the company said. “If they scared people, they feel very badly about it. They did not mean for people to take it that way.”
Cannes is on high terror alert for the 12-day film festival, with thousands of security officers deployed in the city, while a warship patrols the bay and snipers are posted on rooftops.