Online bookings for the Melbourne International Film Festival had to be shut down after the site was bombarded with phony purchases which resulted in the entire program being sold out, said festival spokeswoman Asha Holmes.
A Chinese citizen living in the United States had alerted organisers to the viral campaign, which originated from a website in China titled "A Call to Action to All Chinese People", said Holmes.
The site explained how to set up a fake profile to buy tickets, and aimed to crash the festival's site in protest against its screening of "Ten Conditions of Love" and its hosting of the documentary's subject, Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.
"It's a very pointed attempt to shut down the system, which has been quite effective," Holmes told AFP.
"We have had to shut down our online site and ask everyone to book at the physical box office or on the phone."
The scam aimed "to protest and sabotage the Melbourne International Film Festival because the festival invited Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled Uighur leader from Washington DC," the man who first raised the alarm wrote, in an email seen by AFP.
|Your name: *|
|Your email: *|
|Recepient's email: *|
|Enter code: *|