After getting embarrassed by false communications that suggested a policy shift on climate change, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is fighting back by suing the individuals responsible for the prank.
A press release purporting to be from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 19 said that the chamber was “throwing its weight behind strong climate legislation.” Numerous mainstream news outlets ran stories about the release, but later had to retract or correct the stories after the chamber confirmed that the press release was a hoax. While the press release was aiming to make a point about climate change and the chamber, it also was a PR stunt being put on by the Yes Men, a comedic group that was promoting a movie.
The false press release came on a parody site, with quotes attributed to “spokesman Hingo Sembra,” on a template that mimics the Chamber’s Web site and even included links to the real chamber site. The false press release said the chamber desired for climate legislation to “include a stiff carbon tax.”
In addition to the press release, the Yes Men staged a fake press conference, which a U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive attended, denouncing the event as a hoax. Here is a video of the press conference, which has received about 150,000 views on YouTube.
The chamber asserts that the sole reason for the prank was to promote the Yes Men movie “The Yes Men Fix the World,” reports MediaPost.
In the Oct. 26 lawsuit, the chamber asks that the Yes Men take down a Web site that mimics the chambers’ site, as well as to ban the Yes Men from further impersonating the chamber or its representatives.
The chamber also late last week asked that Hurricane Electric Internet Services, which hosts the site, to remove it, based on copyright infringement. The site was down briefly but eventually was rehosted by another service.
The Yes Men’s claim to fame is: “Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else.”