The Yes Men Have Done It Again
The Yes Men Have Done It AgainDate 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
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
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."