Chamber Sues the Yes Men

Image by Wikimedia Commons user <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Yes_Men.jpg">Tavis</a> used under a CC License

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The Chamber of Commerce is suing the Yes Men over the parody press conference the group pulled off last week.

The Chamber has filed a civil complaint in the US District Court of Washington, DC, accusing Yes Men Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos (also known as Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, respectively) of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising. The Chamber’s suit also lists several members of the DC-based activist group the Avaaz Action Factory as co-defendants. The conduct of those who organized the event was “destructive of public discourse,” the Chamber argues.

As the Yes Men have a new film in theaters currently, The Yes Men Fix the World, the Chamber also alleges that the prank was part of a “comprehensive scheme to promote their movie by wrongdoing against the plaintiff”—rather than an event meant to call attention to the organization’s views on climate change.

“The defendants are not merry pranksters tweaking the establishment,” said the Chamber in a press release issued with the suit. “Instead, they deliberately broke the law in order to further commercial interest in their books, movies, and other merchandise.”

 

The Chamber has already issued a complaint regarding the parody website that the Yes Men created for the event.

Despite the fact that the Yes Men have pulled off similar stunts spoofing Exxon, Dow Chemical, Halliburton, George W. Bush, and the World Trade Organization, among powerful entities, they’ve never actually gone to court over them, according to the group. The Chamber appears to be taking the hoax a bit more seriously than previous targets of their humor.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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