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"Yes Men" Getting No Laughs from Exxon, Dow

By Andy Lauer | Indiewire August 5, 2009 at 4:34AM

Anti-corporate pranksters the Yes Men are at it again - exposing corruption and human rights violations among some of the world's most powerful corporations via outrageous comic stunts - in their new film "The Yes Men Fix the World." Not everyone, however, is amused.
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Anti-corporate pranksters the Yes Men are at it again - exposing corruption and human rights violations among some of the world's most powerful corporations via outrageous comic stunts - in their new film "The Yes Men Fix the World." Not everyone, however, is amused.

"The Yes Men Fix the World" is a screwball true story of two self-described political activists (Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno) who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off outrageous pranks.

Dow Chemical and Exxon, two of the corporations skewered in the film for perpetrating environmental and human rights offenses, have spoken out against it in a recent interview with Reuters.

"We think it is a serious matter when people willingly misrepresent themselves," said a spokesperson for Exxon responding to the film's airing on HBO earlier in July. Exxon stopped short of calling the Yes Men outright liars, despite a scene in the film where the Yes Men, impersonating Exxon at a big oil conference in Canada, present the company's supposed solution to climate change: a new biofuel called Vivoleum, made from the human victims of climate change.

The film also shows the Yes Men impersonating Dow employees live on the BBC before 300 million viewers, announcing that Dow will finally compensate survivors of the Bhopal catastrophe in India, which left thousands dead after lethal gas escaped from a chemical plant owned by a Dow subsidiary, and clean up the tainted groundwater left in its wake.

"While some may find the Yes Men entertaining," said a Dow spokesperson, "it is important to realize that these pranksters continue to communicate inaccuracies."

Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men responded by saying "Dow lets people die from tainted water in Bhopal, yet communicates itself as a sort of corporate Mother Theresa. Nobody but a psychopath would find that entertaining."

"The Yes Men Fix the World" opens in the US on October 7.