Testify in court: Environmental crusader Rev. Billy might face prison

From Grist:  http://grist.org/climate-energy/testify-in-court-environmental-crusader-rev-billy-might-face-prison/

13 Nov 2013

A little over a month ago, the Reverend Billy was arrested on a New York subway platform. This was a little unusual, but not very. The Reverend, a performance artist and activist named Bill Talen, had just been singing, dancing, and preaching into a megaphone inside of a Chase branch in midtown Manhattan, about how the bank’s investment practices were contributing to climate change. He was accompanied by a group of performers dressed like the golden frog of Central America [PDF], one of the first known species to become extinct as the direct result of climate change.

Reverend Billy has been arrested, he estimates, at least 75 times since 1999, when the Reverend first appeared in front of the recently opened Disney Store in Times Square in a white leisure suit and clerical collar. Since then, he’s used the persona of the televangelist to stage theatrical protests about the influence of corporations on American life. In recent years, Talen and the 50-odd performers that now make up the core of the Church of Stop Shopping have focused on the role that corporations play in climate change and species extinction.

“I’m not getting better at jail as I get older,” Talen wrote the day of his release from the Tombs, “It’s awful.” But, he continued, he was glad to be back in Brooklyn. Then, Talen got news that he wasn’t expecting. The City of New York was charging Talen and choir director Nehemiah Luckett with riot in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly, and two counts of disorderly conduct for the Chase protest. The pair faces up to a year in prison. Their trial begins on Dec. 9. I spoke to the free-for-now Talen over the phone (the judge denied the DA’s $30,000 bond request and released them on their own recognizance):

Q. Were you surprised to be arrested after that performance at Chase? 


A. This idea of going into that lobby, going into that point of purchase, going into that elevator — we’ve been exploring that for a decade. So this is not new to us.

It’s a very sensitive thing for a corporation to have activists come in. We’re more dramatic than they are and we’re stopping everything. Some of the toads are up on the desks dancing. We’re singing. I’m preaching. Our researchers have it that JP Morgan Chase is one of the top financiers of climate change disruption in the world, and we’re handing out that information and that is a very sensitive thing.

Continue reading at:  http://grist.org/climate-energy/testify-in-court-environmental-crusader-rev-billy-might-face-prison/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Testify in court: Environmental crusader Rev. Billy might face prison
%d bloggers like this: