Whoever said 'No publicity is bad publicity' obviously wasn't a member of dance-pop band YACHT.

The duo from Portland and now based in Los Angeles, have been heavily criticised for a stunt they pulled yesterday about their leaked sex tape, which they later admitted was a hoax.

Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans, who have also been a romantic couple since 2006, posted a Facebook statement on Tuesday describing how a sex tape that they made privately had been leaked, and urging fans not to watch it.

"It was intended for us only. We don’t feel the need to justify the reason we made it," they said. "Anyone reading this who has been in a long term partnership understands that preserving the relationship is an ever-changing and challenging thing. It’s especially difficult when the lines between career and romance are as merged as ours are."

They continued: "So we turned on a camera, became naked, and had sex. We assumed that we were the only people who would be privy to that video. I guess we were naive. Now you have the option to be privy to that video. For us, that’s a shame. We feel like art is an act of generosity. The art we make for the public is for that expressed purpose. And now we’re in an awkward situation where the art that we made for us and us alone is being viewed by anyone who has the inclination to hit play — a true and humiliating blurring of the public and private."

However, the duo weren't expecting the backlash that followed, with many criticising their publicity stunt for undermining real victims of revenge porn.

One person wrote on Facebook: "Your fake sex tape fiasco to generate PR for your band completely and totally mocks and undermines efforts to make revenge porn a serious crime, especially given the number of suicides and personal lives that have been ruined over people legitimately doing this. I am embarrassed that as a public entity, the BEST idea you two could come up with was to fake something like this."

Yesterday, the pair defended themselves, saying that they had made a tape that was available on file-sharing sites and adult websites, but it was released "as a slowly-unveiling conspiracy, inspired in equal part by The X-Files, Nathan for You, and The KLF. It’s a project that allowed us to play with science fiction, the attention economy, clickbait journalism, and celebrity sex tapes all at once."

They addressed the claims that they were being frivolous by saying: "We never make light of victims of any form of sexual abuse. Frankly, it’s disturbing to us that press outlets could make the incredibly irresponsible leap from “celebrity sex tape,” which is the cultural trope this project explicitly references, to “revenge porn,” which is unfunny, disgusting, morally repugnant, and completely unrelated."