The Chamber of Commerce’s lawsuit against the Yes Men is “a comedy and a travesty,” according to one member of the prankster group and a target of the suit.
“All they care about is taking money out of ordinary people’s pockets and putting it in the pockets of the super rich,” Mike Bonanno told TPMmuckraker in an interview this afternoon.
“They really only care about whether the banks and the insurance companies have rights,” Bonanno continued. “And them suing us is evidence of that.”
Last week, the Yes Men teamed up with a group of political activists to hold a fake press conference at which they impersonated Chamber execs and announced that the business lobby was shifting its opposition to serious efforts to address climate change, fooling some news outlets. In response, the Chamber sued the Yes Men for trademark infringement.
In its complaint, the Chamber charged, in part, that the hoax was designed to help promote the Yes Men’s new movie, which was released earlier this month. In response, Bonanno acknowledged the movie, but denied that this was the fake press conference was designed to promote it. “Obviously, we’re attacking the chamber of commerce because they’re doing horrible things,” he said.
Bonanno — whose real name is Igor Vamos — said the stunt had a serious purpose. “We certainly hope that it brings more people’s attention to the role of lobbyists like the Chamber who are undermining and attacking public health.”
He said that he and Yes Men partner Andy Bichlbaum wouldn’t back down easily — but didn’t make any promises about going up against the might of the business lobby.
“Me and Andy are willing to fight this,” Bonanno said. “But we’re willing to see what makes the most sense in the long run.”