Yes Men, Activist Group, Teamed Up On Chamber Hoax

October 19, 2009 10:08 a.m.

Well, it looks like we were right.

The Chamber of Commerce hoax was perpetrated by the Yes Men, in tandem with a group of activists known as the Avaaz Action Factory.

Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum showed up at the 11am press conference that had earlier been announced by a “Chamber of Commerce” press release, and, impersonating a Chamber executive, declared:

We at the Chamber have tried to keep climate science from interfering with business. But without a stable climate, there will be no business.

At some point, reports Mother Jones, an actual Chamber spokesman showed up and yelled: “This is fraudulent!”

The Avaaz Action Factory (AAF) is affiliated with Avaaz, an international progressive activist organization. David Sievers, an organizer with the group, told TPMmuckraker that the thinking behind this morning’s stunt developed out of “ideas being thrown around” in discussions between AAF, the Yes Men, and, another activist group calling for action on global warming.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a parody of itself in running circles around its own position on climate,” said Sievers. “So Yes Men took the opportunity to parody them.”

Did Sievers think the action — which duped Reuters, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among others — was a success?

“It’s clear that the Chamber is having a crisis with its climate position,” said Sievers, referring to the recent exodus of several companies citing the Chamber’s opposition to efforts to address global warming. He said that in so far as his group is able to draw attention to their difficulties with maintaining an anti-climate stance privately, while pretending to support action, he views it as a success.

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