NEW YORK (AFP) - US electropop duo Yacht has apologised over a publicity hoax in which the artists said they had made a sex tape that was stolen.
The one-man-one-woman duo, which has a niche following in indie rock circles, on Monday said that a "morally abject" person had stolen the sex tape.
Yacht soon said that the duo would sell the tape on its own, revealing the incident to be a hoax and generating heated criticism online.
The Portland-born, Los Angeles-based artists apologised on Wednesday, saying they were "ashamed" at the "egregious mistake."
"While there is inherent deception in pulling a hoax, it was never our intention to mock or make light of anyone who has been a victim of a privacy violation like the one we mentioned," Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans wrote on Facebook.
"This was a lazy starting point for what we wanted to be a much more fun story about the expectations of a sex tape and the frenzy surrounding the taboo of sex, especially juxtaposed with our own non-celebrity," they wrote.
"We failed to tell that story. Instead we told a much darker and more disturbing story."
The duo nonetheless went ahead and released its latest video, which mixes a performance with grainy shots of sexual activity.
Public concern has mounted about online sexual exploitation in an era when most people in developed countries have constant access to the Internet.
The Brookings Institution think-tank on Wednesday urged a first federal US law against "sextortion," noting vast disparities in sentencing and a lack of nationwide data.