The Yes Men Have Done It Again

The Yes Men Have Done It Again

Date posted: 2007-06-18 09:19:00

The Yes Men have done it again.

The anticorporate activists crashed the keynote luncheon Thursday at  
Canada's "largest oil and gas event" – the Gas & Oil Exposition 2007  
in Calgary. According to the expo's Web site , the luncheon's speaker  
was a "Special Advisor" to the "National Petroleum Council," an  
advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Energy currently chaired  
by former Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond.

Luncheon attendees showed up expecting a major announcement detailing  
the long-awaited results of an NPC study. What they got instead were  
the Yes Men, pretending to be representatives of the NPC and Exxon  
Mobil. The Yes Men's Andy Bichlbaum says he and Mike Bonnano started  
out telling attendees about a World Health Organization study that  
estimates climate change is responsible for about 150,000 deaths a  
year. The good news, they told the luncheon, tongues in cheek, was  
that "that sort of loss to the biome could be turned into a net asset."

The Yes Men said the flesh of those human casualties could be turned  
into a new Exxon oil product called Vivoleum. "With more fossil fuels  
comes a greater chance of disaster, but that means more feedstock for  
Vivoleum," Bonnano told the conference. "Fuel will continue to flow  
for those of us left."

By this point in the presentation, the audience still didn't seem to  
realize it was being had. "It remained abstract," Bichlbaum says. But  
then the Yes Men passed around a visual aid, and the jig was soon up.  
"The point at which we got interrupted was about five minutes after  
we had passed out these candles that were supposedly made from human  
flesh, to demonstrate their fuel capacity." The candles had hair  
sticking out of them and, when burned, started to stink.

A conference organizer stopped the presentation, the Yes Men were  
escorted out, and the police were called. Bichlbaum and Bonnano were  
not charged with any wrongdoing. "It was a really funny scene — the  
[organizers] were extremely uptight about it," Bichlbaum says. "They  
had 20,000 people there, they had really touted this event, and done  
a lot to get the media there."

Calgary police confirm the Yes Men were escorted from the expo by  
security.

The Yes Men say they targeted Exxon Mobil and the Canadian oil and  
gas industry because "they're just pouring immense amounts of  
research into oil sands," Bichlbaum says, a process environmentalists  
argue is contributing to global warming. "Scientists are telling us  
that this sort of thing is going to destroy our civilization. Why  
don't we have the political will to make that kind of investment into  
technologies that will actually save us? They're pouring research  
money into something that's going to make this worse."

Bichlbaum says the expo organizers have not contacted him since the  
prank, but he hopes they sue. "It would bring a lot of attention to  
this issue."

Exxon Mobil won't comment. NPC spokeswoman Carla Byrd says, "We  
didn't find out much about it until late yesterday, and that's mostly  
from what we've read. We had no knowledge of it until late last night."

A public-relations firm representing the expo, dmg world media, also  
won't comment. In a press release, it says it "continues to make  
every attempt to verify the legitimacy and credibility of its  
speakers and security of its conference venues."

Share|
Fall Semester Arts Open Studios
December 15, 2017 9:00 AM
West Hall Floors 1-4

Join first and second year Electronic Arts PhD and MFA students for open studios in West Hall.