Joe Lycett: Attempt to sue Harry Styles over chocolate debt revealed as prank mocking Shell’s Greenpeace lawsuit

Comedian Joe Lycett has revealed his attempt to sue singer Harry Styles over a past-due Kit-Kat payment to be a prank mocking Shell’s multimillion dollar lawsuit against Greenpeace.


 Comedian Joe Lycett has revealed his attempt to sue singer Harry Styles over a past-due Kit-Kat payment to be a prank mocking Shell’s multimillion dollar lawsuit against Greenpeace.

In a series of tongue-in-cheek social media posts released since Saturday, Lycett announced that he had instructed lawyers to sue Styles for ‘specific performance’ under contract law after the Watermelon Sugar singer failed to deliver a Kit-Kat Chunky Peanut Butter promised as part-payment for a portrait of Styles painted by Lycett last year. 

However, in a video shared on Tik Tok and Instagram this morning, Lycett revealed the lawsuit to be a hoax mocking oil and gas giant Shell, who launched a multimillion dollar ‘intimidation’ lawsuit against Greenpeace over a peaceful protest last year. Lycett has made limited edition t-shirts featuring his Styles portrait available to purchase, with proceeds donated to Greenpeace’s ‘Stop Shell Appeal’, which funds Greenpeace’s legal defence and ongoing campaign against Shell.

As of today, the videos have received millions of views across all platforms.

Joe Lycett said: Of course threatening to sue Harry Styles is ridiculous, but Shell’s multimillion dollar lawsuit against Greenpeace is all too real. The oil giant is suing them for damages from a peaceful protest, when they’re the ones contributing to the destruction of the planet. We should be demanding damages to all of us! Greenpeace won’t be intimidated by Shell so easily: I urge everyone who can to chuck them a few quid so they can keep fighting Shell – and maybe have a few quid left over to get me a Wispa Gold.”

Styles agreed last year to buy Lycett’s portrait, a parody of a similar painting of Styles by legendary British artist David Hockney, for £6 ‘and a Kit-Kat Chunky Peanut Butter’. However, a video posted to Tik Tok on Saturday showed Lycett opening a parcel from Styles containing six vacuum-packed pound coins ‘but no Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter!’

Lycett has a history of campaigning against Shell. In 2021, he starred in Joe Lycett vs the Oil Giant, a Channel 4 documentary in which he produced adverts mocking the company for greenwashing. 

Philip Evans, Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “We’re delighted to have Joe’s support. This prank might seem like a bit of fun, but this lawsuit really is no joke. Greenpeace is facing one of its biggest legal battles in over fifty years, all because we peacefully protested against one of the biggest polluters in history. 

“Our leaders are failing to hold oil giants accountable for the climate crisis they’ve created, but we’re not giving up. We’ll keep campaigning until Shell and the rest of the industry is banned from drilling new oil and gas and is forced to pay up for the floods, fires, and storms they are fueling around the world.”

Lycett is the latest high-profile figure to come out in support of Greenpeace during its legal battle with Shell. Earlier this year, celebrity supporters including Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Emma Thompson and Greta Thunberg joined almost 180,000 members of the public in signing an open letter backing Greenpeace’s campaign. In January, Emmy winning writer of Succession Jesse Armstrong donated £25,000 to the ‘Stop Shell Appeal’, which has raised nearly £1 million from members of the public since launching last November.

Shell launched the lawsuit in late 2023 in response to a peaceful protest by Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace International earlier that year, in which activists peacefully occupied a moving oil platform to protest against the climate change loss and damage caused by Shell. 

Activists were calling on the company to stop drilling for new oil and gas, and start paying for the climate damage that the oil and gas industry is fuelling around the world. Shell acknowledges no damage was caused to its equipment, but is nonetheless demanding extensive damages.

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Notes for editors:

  1. Lycett posted a total of X videos on social media in the ‘Harry Styles’ lawsuit series. They are available at the following links: video 1 (Instagram), video 1 (Tik Tok) video 2 (Instagram), video 2 (Tik Tok), video 3 (Instagram), video 3 (Tik Tok).
  2. Limited edition Joe Lycett x Greenpeace T-shirts, featuring his portrait of Harry Styles, are available to purchase here, with proceeds going to Greenpeace’s Stop Shell Appeal.


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