Hipster Runoff was a satirical indie blog that ran from 2007 to 2013. In 2012, the site mysteriously went down, with anonymous founder and blogger Carles telling Motherboard at the time: “My hosting company and support team say that there are signs of foul play on the server, and some of the last actions before it crashed are very suspicious. My server disk has crashed and remote backups were sabotaged.”
In a recent video interview with Vanity Fair, Grimes took responsibility for the takedown, claiming that she hacked HRO and destroyed its backups after a photo of her kissing an unidentified friend at a party was posted on the site and went viral.
“Back in the day, like before the woke era, I actually got canceled for this,” she said in the clip, referring to the photo, which she claims was leaked. “I was trying to be like, all integrity, and start my career, and it was like ‘Grimes Gone Wild’ or something, and it was just this like, super wack, mean story, and it was like this meme which was going all over the internet.”
She goes on to explain how she orchestrated a DDoS attack on the site with the help of a friend from the video game industry. “But my friend who worked for — I will not say which video game — had access to … OK, well I don’t wanna get him in trouble, but, anyway, we were actually able to DDoS Hipster Runoff and basically blackmail them,” she said. “We were like, like, we’re not gonna let you run your — put your site back up until you take the story down. And he did, in fact, take the story down. And it was like my coolest hacker moment. So, yeah, that’s the story of this photo.”
Cybersecurity expert Jackie Singh reported on the incident in her newsletter yesterday, writing: “A decade later, unfazed by time and experience, Grimes remains convinced this was a triumphant moment for her, and not an ethical lapse for which she should feel ashamed. For someone who can’t stop ranting about “wokeness” and “cancellation”, Grimes doesn’t seem concerned about any actual risk associated with admitting crimes to a major magazine, despite the fact that Canada does not have a statute of limitations on cybercrime.”
Hipster Runoff was sold in 2015 and has been effectively defunct since.