Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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Faux Activism: Recruiting Anti-Chevron Protesters for $85 a Head
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

In March, a federal judge in New York ruled that the 20-year-long legal campaign against Chevron over oil pollution in Ecuador was actually a bribe-fueled fraud. This week in Texas, anti-Chevron activists recruited phony paid protesters to picket the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Several dozen demonstrators gathered outside the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum in Midland to condemn Chevron, which held its annual meeting on Wednesday at the historic site in the west Texas oil patch. Humberto Piaguaje, one of the indigenous Ecuadorian leaders involved in a massive lawsuit against the oil company, helped lead the sign-waving, slogan-chanting cohort. To fill out the ranks of the demonstration, a Los Angeles-based production company offered local residents $85 apiece to serve as what the firm described in a recruiting e-mail as “extras/background people.”

Julieta Gilbert, executive producer of DFLA Films, said in the e-mail that the company “need to get a group of people to help us document this event. … We will pay each one of them $85. They will be there for a couple of hours (8am to 12 pm). We need ethically [sic] diverse people.” She obviously meant “ethnically diverse,” but the typo seems illuminating in a Freudian sense.

Aux États-Unis, les activistes qui embauchent les manifestants. Au Québec, c’est le gouvernement qui embauche les activistes… Steven Guilbeault a été nommé coprésident du Comité-conseil sur les changements climatiques du gouvernement du Québec (on retrouvera aussi un membre de la fondation David Suzuki)…