iOS app Android app More

The Yes Men Prank Davos, Send Out Press Release With Blankfein Confessions

First Posted: 03/30/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 04:20 PM ET

Blank Fiend

Earlier today, a press release was sent out from the World Economic Forum, describing how "world leaders" in Davos have pledged a "strategy to end poverty now." A statement from World Economic Forum Chair Klaus Schwab read, "In light of the recent tragedy in Haiti, which was already on the brink due to free-market policies, it is clear that taking a new tack to end poverty is morally necessary." German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged, "Today, we are at a moment of societal crisis when dramatic change is inevitable...The only question is: will we help to usher in that change, or will we be its victims?"

And check out this from Goldman Sachs chair Lloyd Blankfein!

"It is by now universally understood that many of our institutions were directly responsible for the collapse of housing value, not to mention massive unemployment and misery, in the United States and much of the rich world," said Lloyd Blanfein, Chair of the New York Financial Caucus, and current Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.


"But it is equally true that we in the financial sector bear much responsibility for Haiti's poverty, which has made it impossible for them to even begin to deal with the current tragedy," added Blanfein. "The least we can do to repay our moral debt is to immediately lift up the collapsed Haitian economy, and not by making usurious loans through the IMF, either."

Even if Blankfein's name wasn't misspelled twice, you can basically look at those statements and know that those exact words would never spill from his pie hole. The press release is fake, the accompanying Web materials are spoofs, and yes -- globalist pranksters, the Yes Men, are behind it. Or so they have confirmed in an email response to Huffington Post Green Editor Katherine Goldstein.

Clusterstock's John Carney and Lawrence Delevingne posted on the matter today and immediately speculated that it was a hoax: "We cannot imagine a universe in which Blankfein would admit that the financial sector was making "usurious loans" through the IMF, much less that it bore responsibility for Haitian poverty. This is implausible." Yes. Also, that whole "admitting in public the truth that major financial institutions caused the housing crisis part."

But the proof of the hoax was always just a few clicks away. The very first link on the press release leads to a page that purports to be the World Economic Forum's Twitter page. That account is following 32 other Twitter accounts, one of which is The Yes Men.

The misspellings of Blankfein's last name aside, the overall presentation of the hoax is well-executed. Especially enjoyable are the lip-dubbed Web videos of various personages, their words altered as if they'd experienced a deep moral revelation or been dosed with a powerful truth serum. The quality of the overdubs is good enough that you might miss them if you aren't paying attention.

Here's Schwab, redubbed to say, "the present system of rampant capitalism is not worthy of salvaging."

And here's Archer Daniels Midland CEO and president Patricia Woertz, overdubbed to appear as if she's saying, "As a co-chair of the annual meeting, part of my focus will be on agriculture's role in today's economic savagery, and the broader, long-term issue of robbing whole groups for the greed of the food industry."


On the Yes Men's site, they offer a complete round up of the spoofery, including this nod to the recent troubles of James O'Keefe, who, if his Facebook page is any guide, draws inspiration from the Yes Men:

In a dramatic bit of irony, it was revealed that the fake Queen Elizabeth II was played by boy actor James O'Keefe, who was recently arrested for feloniously attempting to tamper with the phone line of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, not long after being honored by House Republicans for his "ACORN pimp" role last year.


"Oh that queen," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men. "Who knows what trouble she'll get into next."

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]

FOLLOW HUFFPOST BUSINESS
Subscribe to the HuffPost Money newsletter!