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Here at AA, we’re no strangers to obviously fabricated, publicist inspired stories meant to drum up interest in a film. From Jennifer Aniston and her conveniently timed supposed tryst with Bradley Cooper, to last month’s obviously planted report on Megan Fox becoming a “Bond Girl,” we can smell a phony story from a mile away….which makes a column appearing on the E! News website today all the more disconcerting.

According to E! News writer Joal Ryan, we, along with many other sites, may have been duped into film-promotion with this week’s release of new images featuring 20 year-old “High School Musical” star Vanessa Hudgens in the buff. Following our initial report that “new/old” pics from her 2007 self-portrait phase had surfaced, we noted in a follow-up story Thursday that the “source” quoted was likely Hudgens’ agent (adding credence to this was the fact the entire story seemed a custom-fit to promote Vanessa’s new film, “Bandslam”). In other words, we were probably only slightly duped.

Illustrated through hypothetical timelime, E! today offered the following food for thought. First, they point to a May interview in which Hudgens sets the stage for once again appearing naked to the public. Soon after, Summit Entertainment (the studio behind both “Twilight” and “Bandslam”) announces they’ll be unveiling an exclusive “New Moon” trailer at “BandSlam” screenings.

Then, just days after a film featuring her “High School Musical” co-star Ashley Tisdale (“Aliens in the Attic”) officially bombs at the box office, a new set of nude pictures taken by Vanessa (for boyfriend Zac Efron) appear on the web, and just happen to coincide with the premiere of her new film (we’ll mention it again) “Bandslam.” Coincidence? No, probably not.

In any case, our thanks to Joal Ryan for pointing out what we really should have been more on top of in the first place. Yeah, it did seem suspicious at the time, and if this proves anything it’s that checks and balances between news outlets and studio spin-doctors must be maintained, lest fledgling studios like Summit transform into tabloid factory juggernauts. We’re not “accusing” Summit of planting the story, of course, we’re just saying….Nice job, fellas. You (probably) got us.

“Bandslam” hits theatres August 14th!