There must be something sexy about Andy Bichlbaum . I think this as I watch a Naked News TV reporter lean in towards him. He, along with co-director Mike Bonanno, form the core of The Yes Men, “a couple of gonzo political activists [who] infiltrate the world of big business and pull off outrageous pranks that highlight the ways that corporate greed is destroying the planet.” Sounds sexy enough.
Here’s one of their capers as described by Hot Docs programmer Sean Farnel:
In December 2004, BBC World viewers tuned in to receive the surprising but welcome news that Dow Chemical was fully accepting responsibility for the 1984 Bhopal disaster, a toxic gas leak in which 18,000 people were killed. Even better, Dow spokesman ‘Jude Finisterra’ announced a $12-billion aid package for the people of Bhopal. The broadcast was seen by millions. The Yes Men had struck again.
Jude Finisterra is of course a character Andy Bilchbaum creates to represent Dow Chemical, remakably through a fake website the team created called “Dow Ethics,” they landed a interview with BBC World. Just one of their coups.
I’ve been following their pranks for several years now and I’m happy to see that they received a lot of positive feedback from the kind and like-minded Hot Docs audience. Unfortunately for me, the outrageous sex-appeal of their pranks has worn thin. Glad though, to pass on the torch to new fans.