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Shakespeare fans protest new film

British actor Rhys Ifans, who plays the Earl of Oxford, attends the premiere of Anonymous at BFI London Film Festival at Empire, Leicester Square in London on October 25, 2011. UPI/Rune Hellestad
British actor Rhys Ifans, who plays the Earl of Oxford, attends the premiere of "Anonymous" at BFI London Film Festival at Empire, Leicester Square in London on October 25, 2011. UPI/Rune Hellestad | License Photo

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- A blackout of William Shakespeare's name on buildings and street signs in Britain is under way by a group protesting a film that alleges he was a fraud.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is promoting the campaign to highlight the potential impact of the Hollywood film "Anonymous" and its attempt to "rewrite English culture and history" with a conspiracy theory that Shakespeare was a barely literate front man for the earl of Oxford, the group said Tuesday in a release.

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"This film flies in the face of a mass of historical fact, but there is a risk that people who have never questioned the authorship of Shakespeare's works could be hoodwinked," said Paul Edmondson, head of knowledge and research for the group. "Shakespeare is at the core of England's cultural and historical DNA, and he is certainly our most famous export."

Edmondson said the blackout is aimed at reminding the public of the legacy Britain owes to Shakespeare. "Where better to start a conversation about the true author than in the pubs and streets that bear his name?" he asked.

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