* "The Yes Men" spoofs depicted in documentary
* Hoaxes meant to show lack of corporate responsibility
By Christine Kearney
NEW YORK, July 26 Jacques Servin fooled the BBC
and the world when he posed as a Dow Chemical (DOW.N) spokesman
five years ago and said that Dow would pay billions of dollars
in compensation for India's Bhopal disaster.
Such hoaxes by Servin and his partner, Igor Vamos, better
known as the American protest group "The Yes Men," are featured
in a documentary premiering on U.S. cable channel HBO on
"The Yes Men Fix The World" chronicles their efforts to
lampoon what they see as corporate greed and the excesses of a
free-market economy. It won the audience award at this year's
Berlin film festival and will hit U.S. cinemas in October.
"It's a bit like if you crossed Sacha Baron Cohen with
Michael Moore," Vamos told Reuters in a recent interview of
their stunts in which they portray corporate or government
representatives and infiltrate press and trade conferences to
make fake announcements.
Vamos, 41, better known as Mike Bonanno, and Servin, 45,
who uses the name Andy Bichlbaum among many other aliases, rely
on humor to point out corporate and government
"We have prioritized profit pretty much over everything
else and we have seen the results," said Servin. "We are seeing
it on Wall Street, with millions of people losing their homes
and we are starting to see the results of that globally with
CLIMATE CHANGE HOAXES
Several companies said the stunts are a serious offense.
But Servin and Vamos have never been sued.
The BBC interview in 2004 -- their biggest hoax -- was
picked up by several news organizations and caused Dow
Chemical's shares to tumble 3.4 percent.
"That showed that corporations can't announce that they are
going to do the right thing, because they will be punished for
it," said Vamos. "We have to change the rules."
Dow Chemical says it bears no responsibility for the Bhopal
catastrophe that killed at least 8,000 people and poisoned half
a million people after lethal gas escaped from a chemical plant
into nearby slums 25 years ago in the central Indian city.
The Bhopal factory was owned by Union Carbide, now a Dow
subsidiary, which paid $470 million to the Indian government in
a 1989 legal settlement.
"While some may find 'The Yes Men' entertaining, it is
important to realize that these pranksters continue to
communicate inaccuracies," a spokesperson for Dow said in an
Servin also is seen delivering a speech posing as an Exxon
Mobil representative in 2007 at Canada's largest oil conference
in Calgary, showing off an oil product he said was made from
people who died in climate change disasters.
In another hoax, Servin posed as a U.S. government
representative announcing that public housing in New Orleans
would reopen and that Exxon Mobil would earmark billions to
finance wetlands rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) spokesman Rob Young said that
regardless of the film's intent, "we think it is a serious
matter when people willingly misrepresent themselves."
Halliburton Co. (HAL.N) , which is also mocked in the film,
was unavailable for comment.
Servin appeared at a Florida trade conference showing off a
survival suit supposedly made by the energy services giant
aimed at keeping corporate managers safe in the event of global
(Editing by Michelle Nichols and Xavier Briand)