recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
I'm the Monopoly Man that trolled Equifax -- AMA!

I am a lawyer, activist, and professional troublemaker that photobombed former Equifax CEO Richard Smith in his Senate Banking hearing (https://twitter.com/wamandajd). I "cause-played" as the Monopoly Man to call attention to S.J. Res. 47, Senate Republicans' get-out-of-jail-free card for companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo - and to brighten your day by trolling millionaire CEOs on live TV. Ask me anything!

Proof:

To help defeat S.J. Res. 47, sign our petition at www.noripoffclause.com and call your Senators (tool & script here: http://p2a.co/m2ePGlS)!

ETA: Thank you for the great questions, everyone! After a full four hours, I have to tap out. But feel free to follow me on Twitter at @wamandajd if you'd like to remain involved and join a growing movement of creative activism.


76
questions
80,410
score
October 6th 2017
interview date
shanakn

Will you be using the Monopoly Man getup for future public appearances (including as a subversive protest, but also, say, in court)? Relatedly, how do you recommend others to become as badass as you?

:) <3


wamandajd

I wore this costume to call attention to S.J. Res. 47, a bill some Senate Republicans are trying to push through as a get-out-of-jail-free card for Equifax and Wells Fargo. Hopefully all this attention has scared them off from taking that vote, but if Mitch McConnell does another push, Monopoly Man will absolutely rise again!

Given the great support, I am also open to using Monopoly Man for other causes. And I am not limiting myself to this one character - creative activism takes many forms, and you need to fit the character to the protest.

cutelittleintern

Public Citizen called arbitration clauses a “get out of jail free” card for companies. What advice do you have for people who don't want to fall victim to these hidden clauses?


wamandajd

Sadly, these ripoff clauses seem to be just about everywhere now. We even found one in the Pokemon GO terms and conditions last year! A few clauses have opt-out provisions, where you can write to the company (usually within 30 days) to waive the clauses, but that is rare.

Honestly, the most effective way to protect your right to sue big companies when they break the law is to push for federal protections like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's arbitration rule. That is why I am fighting S.J. Res. 47, the effort to repeal it.

thoawaydatrash

Any other direct actions planned? Also, the Monopoly man doesn't have a monocle and I'm interested as to whether you knew that but decided to go with the monocle anyway because so many people think he does or if it's just a good prop. I have to admit, you pulling out the monocle was quite possibly the funniest thing I've seen in months.


wamandajd

Thanks for asking! I have been getting so many comments about the monocle. When planning the outfit, I used google images of Rich Uncle Pennybags as reference. Most of the images didn't have a monocle, but a few did, and I knew it would make a great prop.

Also, my sister gave me a monocle as a gag gift when I graduated from law school, so I HAD to use it.

About23Koalas

Have you had many news organizations or people reaching out to you after the fact? How widely were you recognized by people who knew you?


wamandajd

I have been doing non-stop press since Wednesday! The amount of attention has been overwhelming, but I am very happy that I seem to have made this very rough week easier for some folks. And of course I am excited that people are paying attention to S.J. Res. 47 and supporting the CFPB arbitration rule.

Strangely enough, many folks who know me personally did not recognize me in costume. Every day, I get several texts from people who just figured out it was me! I imagine some folks will only find out years from now.

washingtonpost

Hello! Thanks for doing this AMA!

As many people have pointed out, the Monopoly man doesn’t actually wear a monocle. Are you going to modify your costume to stay true to the original or is this your take on the Monopoly man? Do you have any other costumes? Will you continue with Monopoly man for any other events? Why did you pick Monopoly man? How do stunts like this advance your activism? How much more attention did you get this week compared to playing it straight in the past?


wamandajd

Hasbro's Monopoly Man may not wear a monocle, but this one does. When doing physical comedy, you don't turn down a hilarious prop.

The only other costume I currently own is a Furby costume that I wore as a joke in high school. (We'll see if that one makes it into any hearings...) But I am open to buying/making other costumes as needed, to fit the activism.

Stunts like this bridge the gap between entertainment and activism. If done right, creative protest can be far more effective than traditional advocacy. The rise of Trump shows the power of entertainment. But while Trump's antics are nihilistic at best (and insidiously oppressive), there is no reason progressive messages cannot be delivered in a way that is both entertaining and effective. See Charlie Chaplin, for one.

Even though most entertainers have fairly progressive politics, there is a reluctance to embrace art - especially comedy - as activism. That is a major tactical error, in my opinion.

The attention my campaign to support the CFPB arbitration rule got this week is unlike anything I have ever seen. Traditional tactics are necessary to shape policy, but we need to be willing to take big risks if we want to see major reform.

I expect the Monopoly Man will rise again, when the people of Gotham need him most.

BorinUltimatum

There's footage of you chasing him all the way to the elevator before ( seemingly ) getting ushered away. If you had somehow made it into the elevator, what would you have asked/ how would you have reacted?


wamandajd

Hahahaha I debated cramming myself into that elevator...

I would have made sure to give Richard Smith (and his apparent advisor, former Senator Saxby Chambliss) my bag of money and told them to enjoy their $7.25 million contract with the IRS! http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/equifax-irs-fraud-protection-contract-243419

hbendavid

So what did people say? How did they react to your getup? Did the Equifax CEO acknowledge you or at least give you an odd look?


wamandajd

I didn't catch it in person, but watching videos after the fact, I saw Richard Smith look back at me and make a pretty priceless alarmed face. But I was seated in the row right behind his advisors, and one of his PR folks was seated immediately to my right.

I caught several of them giving me dirty looks throughout. One guy in particular tried to stare me down in the beginning. (But I don't scare easily)

cr9ball

1) What kind of laws you wish more people knew about that can help them financially for the future?

2) What can be done by everyone to help the process to start scrapping the social security card and getting a identification similar to the UK?

3) This is a really huge deal and seems like everyone is brushing it aside and letting people get away with this huge leak; What is currently being done to help mitigate this damage in the long foreseeable future?


wamandajd

These are great questions, but a bit outside my wheelhouse. I focus more on corporate accountability and access to the court system than credit reporting reform - hence my focus on S.J. Res. 47.

But I would check out my colleagues' work at the National Consumer Law Center and the Consumer Federation of America. They have been very active on these issues!

From what I glean though, this is a seriously endemic problem, and we need Congressional action to actually remedy the catastrophic damage done in this breach. So, again, call your Senators!

bflo091986

Were you worried that this “stunt” would distract from the hearing and Equifax to be become a secondary thought?


wamandajd

That was definitely on my mind. I strategically tried to be most entertaining during the questions I thought were most important, in hopes that if I made it onto news shows, people would hear those questions and answers.

Fortunately, the coverage so far has been surprisingly focused on the issues! Especially my efforts around S.J. Res. 47 and the CFPB arbitration rule. So the activism was actually far more effective than I'd hoped at drawing attention to Equifax and Wells Fargo's misdeeds.

1life2fishes

Obvious question: how'd you do it? How did you make your way to that perfect seat without getting kicked out?


wamandajd

Credit for the perfect seat goes to a very dedicated intern, who was first in line for the hearing at 7 AM! As for not getting kicked out, I had heard stories from other activists about what is and isn't allowed, and skirted that line as closely as I could. Fun fact: you are allowed to wear costumes, but you can't hold up signs or make a lot of noise.

[deleted]

[deleted]


wamandajd

Unfortunately, private citizens cannot bring criminal claims. Only state and federal prosecutors can charge people with crimes.

I would love to see more prosecutions of corporate crime. But as it stands now, few charges are ever brought and they mostly result in small fines for the company rather than any prison time for the executives that broke the law. If corporations are people, the rest of us are second-class citizens in comparison.

snorlaxthelorax

Serious question: are you paid by non profits or is this on your free time? Do you have a full time career? I would like to get into activism but it's hard when you work a 9-5.


wamandajd

This particular stunt was for my day job, as a Campaign Manager working to support the CFPB arbitration rule. But I also do organizing in my free time on other issues. It is very hard to balance work and activism, and jobs in this area are scarce and low-paying.

But that is one reason why I push for entertaining and creative activism! I hope folks can turn this kind of fun protest into a hobby that energizes us rather than tires us out.

ItsBail

Anything happened after? Were you banned from ever attending again?


wamandajd

I am fortunate to not have had any real interaction with the capitol police, before or after. One officer asked me to take my bag of money off my lap and put in on the ground, but that is it.

However, now that I am public, I would not be surprised if folks will watch me more closely. I am sure we will see soon!

lolnudel

How did you stay so serious? I would be laughing and giggling and get kicked out. Huge respect dude //edit after 17 hours: wow I learned a lot about different sexualities/genders today. reddit is great


wamandajd

Believe me, I have been cracking up these last few days at every photo and video. But in the moment, I was on a mission. That's why they call me a professional troublemaker.

tempus_periit

First, thank you for your activism. How long have you been doing this? Do you think this is effective or just entertaining?


wamandajd

Thank you all for the support! I don't really remember a time when I wasn't an activist. When I was 13, I staged my first action outside of a Disney store to protest their labor practices. I use a variety of tactics - both traditional and non-traditional - but I think activism is most effective when it is both entertaining and informative.

psymonprime

What law do you practice?


wamandajd

I do policy and advocacy work, focused mostly on corporate accountability and financial reform at the moment - so I don't spend a lot of time in courtrooms. But I graduated from UCLA Law as part of their Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies programs, and I am admitted to practice law in California.

beyondavatars

How did you get a seat positioned directly behind the Equifax CEO in a way that you were also on camera without causing suspicion?


wamandajd

Oh, I absolutely caused suspicion, but luckily my actions fell within protected free speech. I knew which seat to sit in because I have watched and attended many Senate Banking hearings as a (plain-clothes) advocate.

drfsupercenter

Wow, the first frontpage AMA I've caught live!

I'll ask a question that (as far as I can tell) nobody's asked yet. I was reading your Twitter posts and Reddit post history, and see that you're non-binary/genderqueer - how does that affect your relationship with clientele? Do any of them think it's weird? Or is it not an issue because you work as part of a firm so they aren't hiring you as an individual?

I've heard lots of depressing stories about discrimination so I hope it's not an issue for you!


wamandajd

Oh damn! I am on the front page?

Well, funny story: I wasn't exactly out as trans/non-binary in my professional life before this thing blew up on Wednesday. But people kept asking my pronouns, and I couldn't bring myself to lie. We will see how folks react.

I am glad to be driving a conversation around this! Apparently I was the first person to ever ask for non-binary pronouns in an NPR interview.

missdanielleloves

I work for a progressive nonprofit in DC that also does work on Tax Reform so I'm thrilled to see S.J. Res. 47 getting the attention it needs!

My question is: Where did you get the idea/ovaries to pull this off?


wamandajd

Thank you! The Monopoly theme was tied to an action my organizations - Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform - organized the day before to hand out get-out-of-jail-free cards to all the Senate offices. (See: http://rulesatrisk.org/hilldrop/)

But it was my idea to try to photobomb the hearing in character. I have sat in hearings before (not in costume) and noticed myself in shots on C-SPAN, and I have always been a shameless agitator. So it seemed like a natural fit to combine my comedic talents and irreverence with our activism here. Luckily, my bosses gave it the green light!

hrtl

Did he see you?


wamandajd

At the time, I wasn't sure former CEO Richard Smith saw me because he played it so cool. But in watching video footage later, there is a moment where he looks behind him right before the hearing starts. His face is pretty priceless!

NSFForceDistance

How much practicing did your mastery of the monocle take? Seems like it'd be kind of hard to keep in, but you handled it like a right old timey pro.


wamandajd

I definitely struggled with it a bit. But the prop I had was pretty lightweight, so it wasn't that hard to hold in. You just need to exercise those eye muscles!

RedLogicP

Did anyone approach you about your outfit?


wamandajd

I got a lot of questions from other folks in line, but I was fortunate enough to not get hassled by capitol police. One officer did ask me take my bag of dollar bills off my lap though!

THELIMIT1100

Do you think you will inspire more monopoly men to start making appearances?


wamandajd

I certainly hope so! I posted a how-to guide with links to all the accessories I used here: https://queeronclearance.tumblr.com/post/166109873133/monopoly-man-top-hat-nj-novelty-7-on-amazon

(Yes, I have a queer fashion blog)

damnedtolive

Was it actual money in the bag? Also did you have any trouble with security?


wamandajd

It was not real money. Those were oversized hundred dollar bills my colleagues printed for their Forgo Wells activism around the Wells Fargo hearing, which took place on Tuesday. I did not have trouble going through security, though many Senate staffers gave me some odd looks!

Dontstop-wontstop

Thank you for doing this AMA. How do you strategically place your seating so that you will be seen in the background? Is there no seating arrangements?


wamandajd

Luckily, I had a dedicated intern who snagged the first spot in line at 7 AM Wednesday morning.

The front row is reserved for guests of the testifying witness, but the rest of the rows are open. Because I have watched and attended many hearings, I knew which seats would make it on camera and chose strategically.

WedgeTalon

What does S.J. Res. 47 do? What are the arguments both for and against it?


wamandajd

S.J. Res. 47 takes away our right to join together in court to sue companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo when they break the law. It repeals a protection from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Elizabeth Warren's agency) that restricts banks and lenders' use of forced arbitration and restores our day in court.

All the arguments I have heard in favor of S.J. Res. 47 are misleading and disingenuous. They claim that consumers win more money in arbitration than they do in class action lawsuits. In fact, on average, consumers are ordered to pay their bank or lender $7,725 in arbitration. Also, the point is pretty irrelevant anyway because the CFPB rule does not ban arbitration - it only ensures we are not forced into it against our will.

O_Apples

cause-played

Please tell me this is a thing. Cosplaying for a cause. Is this a movement or are you the first?


wamandajd

Someone informed me of this term last night! I did not coin it, but I think it is brilliant. I would honored to help create a movement of cause-players.

howmanyhashtags

Seeing that you're quite an active activist, what topics do you believe need the most attention? (Not trying to start a huge political debate thread, just curious)


wamandajd

The issues closest to my heart are racial and economic justice (must be both, not either/or), corporate accountability, and queer/trans rights.

In general, we must fight all forms of oppression and empower people with enough freedom and access to resources to have control over their own lives. I think that philosophy applies to most progressive issues.

JurassicMJ25

Did anyoneone at the time realize what you were doing?


wamandajd

I think everyone realized what I was doing. Luckily, free speech is (mostly) still a thing.

oskiwiiwii

What is your favorite Monopoly game piece? Mine is the thimble!


wamandajd

I have to go with the iron. Gotta keep this suit pressed.

[deleted]

Let me just open with saying I love what you did, I had many a lol watching you throughout the hearing. My question to you is a bit long winded but here goes: what about this action makes you think you'll draw positive attention to this stunt (for want of a better word)? I understand that your endgame is to draw attention to consumer rights, but other than just kind of trolling a guy who is a massive douchelord, you haven't said a great deal else on the matter, and some groups may have seen your demonstration as immature (again not criticising, i loved it) . So is your intention to draw media attention to yourself in order to give yourself a platform to talk in the public eye about this? I'd love to see you on TV, talking in professional terms about what we as people can do to either protect ourselves now or in the future.


wamandajd

Almost every article that has been written about my stunt has included extensive information on my cause (defeating S.J. Res. 47) and has generated more coverage of the issues at stake in my campaign than two years of traditional activism.

People will always criticize, but it is clear to me that this was very effective. I have tried my best to keep the focus on the issues while also answering the more fun and personal questions folks have wanted to ask me. This is not about ego for me. It is about activism.

kev4444

How long did it take you to grow that mustache?


wamandajd

Not nearly as long as my personal information will be at risk because of the Equifax data breach.

purplegrape8

What issues were you trying to draw attention to? What do you want Congress to do about it?


wamandajd

I did this to draw attention to S.J. Res. 47, a Senate push to give companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo a get-out-of-jail-free card when they break the law. Please, if you enjoy my antics, call your Senators! 202-224-3121

And sign our petition at www.noripoffclause.com

Lessiarty

Is Cause-play an activist twist on cosplay?


wamandajd

Yes! Someone informed me of this term yesterday, and I think it is brilliant.

shrimpPPboy

Did you legit stroll in wearing the actual outfit?


wamandajd

I came into the building wearing everything but the hat and mustache, but yes - I put the entire costume on while waiting in line outside.

kirlandwater

Do you have any other Monopoly man appearances planned? And how can we follow your shenanigans


wamandajd

I have some things in the works. You have not seen the last of the Monopoly Man, and definitely not the last of me. Follow me on Twitter @wamandajd if you would like more shenanigans.

Spants23

Is getting the utility companies really worth it?


wamandajd

Nah. If you're a capitalist, serving the public is for suckers.

cahaseler

What would you do if you had a get-out-of-jail-free card?


wamandajd

If I had one months ago, I would have crashed the inauguration in character.

[deleted]

Are you friends with Lord Buckethead?


wamandajd

Someone send Lord Buckethead to a protest, and we can get acquainted.

MChez

As somebody who is considering law school but also wants to work with local activism, how do you find that perfect balance to deal with both?

Thanks for doing an AMA!


wamandajd

Learn the tools of the trade in law school, and use your privilege to leverage system of power. But be careful not to conform to the law school/legal profession's oppressive culture. Surround yourself with dedicated, local activists who can keep you grounded and work to stay humble.

[deleted]

I am curious, Did any news or other media ask you what you where doing? What about other people that where there for the hearing. I assume no senator wanted to be seen with you, but I am curious if there was any activity, like Media, or Staffers that wanted a few min of your time.


wamandajd

I did talk to some reporters in-person after the hearing. And the staffers on the committee actually know me well because I do very serious work there too.

But this video includes some fun interactions with me and some Senators, including (my former boss, who didn't recognize me!) Elizabeth Warren: https://www.facebook.com/TYTpolitics/videos/1929211047326601/?hc_ref=ARRkkZqxLMLnAT9zXgxNfCymuKNN7mYaxMYcDl0Xk_6PAcrKbdSErBgzzhlR25sKEAY

Unipwn

Did you learn to tie a bow tie only for this appearance?


wamandajd

Yes, and I am terrible at it.

Amiracle56

What did your parents do and how did they influence your activism?


wamandajd

My mother is a secretary, and my father mostly held various jobs in sales for industrial companies.

They are actually both Republicans that voted for Trump (though they are slowly starting to come around now...) Disagreeing so wholeheartedly with them about politics and our general life philosophies meant that I got to practice my activism at home. It wasn't fun, but it certainly informs my work.

Glitsh

Ahahaha love the play on words 'cause-play'. Were they any non-blatant repercussions to your actions?


wamandajd

Not yet! I have heard rumors they may change Senate rules for what is/isn't allowed in hearings, but I hope that does not actually happen.

The main repercussions on a personal level stem from suddenly going viral. It is a lot to take in, but I am enjoying it so far! And very glad that another consequence might be the death of S.J. Res. 47.

sbay

Did the equifax ceo get the 'out of jail' card?


wamandajd

Sadly, no. I didn't make it into the elevator with him after the hearing. https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/74bu5k/the_monopoly_man_chases_the_equifax_ceo_after_the/

But the day before, I tried to give it to Wells Fargo's CEO. He rushed past me. Video here: https://www.facebook.com/TYTpolitics/videos/1929211047326601/?hc_ref=ARRkkZqxLMLnAT9zXgxNfCymuKNN7mYaxMYcDl0Xk_6PAcrKbdSErBgzzhlR25sKEAY

dakapn

How does it feel to be the internet's (and my) hero for a day? You're the activist we need but not the one we deserve.


wamandajd

It feels wonderful! I am really grateful for all of the positive reactions I have received. I think we definitely deserve a bright spot in 2017, and I am glad I could provide one this week.

RemarkableRyan

What's your feeling on Free Parking? House rules cash-grab, or just a do-nothing spot?


wamandajd

It's Free Parking for all in my socialist utopia. ;)

Disney_World_Native

As someone who has for the past two months been impacted by this hack (new accounts and now they are adding names to my current credit cards), can I say thank you?


wamandajd

You are very welcome, my friend. Stay strong and keep fighting!

nadiavali

I'm a female and live in DC, what you did was awesome and I hope one day to be as bold as you are when it comes to standing up for what I believe is right. will you play monopoly with me sometime?


wamandajd

Absolutely! Maybe we can organize a mass monopoly game outside of a Republican fundraiser or something.

Empigee

If you had one piece of advice you could give to the heads of activist organizations, what would it be?


wamandajd

Be creative. Take risks. Hire young/POC/queer & trans/disabled people, and pay them fairly.

Don't feel confined to one issue. Anti-oppression work is all interconnected, and we need to join together to take down these systems of power.

carbonyl_attack

Have you received papers from Hasbro yet?


wamandajd

No. Luckily, satire is protected! And I imagine all this attention is going to boost Monopoly sales, so they probably aren't complaining.

southernstorm

Hey u/wamandajd -

Thanks for your efforts on our behalf. I was wanting to ask, what policy initiatives do you think would be the simplest and most effective to implement to safeguard us against threats like this?

Is it a data gathering issue (ie we should be safeguarded against nonvoluntary data gatthering)? Or should the statutes be pointed at establishing a minimum amount of security? Or something else entirely?

Thanks again.


wamandajd

As I mentioned in another questions, the focus of my work is primarily around corporate accountability and access to the court system. So I am not an expert on credit reporting.

But from what I do know, there is a major problem when we give three privately-owned companies with no accountability to the public access to all of our private data. Credit bureaus are largely unregulated, and Republicans have kept agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from taking major action to do so.

That is the source of many of these problems, and it will require major legislative changes to be fixed.

FuzzyBallzMcCracken

Do you know this eyebrow troll lady? She has potential! Maybe with your coaching or collaboration she too could rise to your level.

https://imgur.com/gallery/YUptySp


wamandajd

I do not, but she has potential.

one_dimple
  1. Do you view your activism as a type of performance art?

  2. How did you come up with the idea of incorporating outfits into your activism?


wamandajd

Yes, I see it as performance art. I think comedy and satire are underappreciated as an art form, but they are some of the most effective tools we have.

The Monopoly Man outfit was a tie-in to a larger action we staged, delivering get-out-of-jail-free cards to Senate offices to call attention to Equifax and Wells Fargo's use of forced arbitration: www.rulesatrisk.org/hilldrop

But more generally, I have never been afraid to make an ass out of myself to make a larger point - and costumes are a great way to do that.

Sidian_13

Was the mustache itchy?


wamandajd

Surprisingly not! It is a pretty high-quality mustache. Info on the props I used here: https://queeronclearance.tumblr.com/post/166109873133/monopoly-man-top-hat-nj-novelty-7-on-amazon

PM_ME_UR_PIE_RECIPES

How long were you planning on showing up to a hearing like this? Was this something in the works for a long time and you were just waiting for the right opportunity? If so, what were some other hearings you were considering showing up to?


wamandajd

It is an idea that has occurred to me before (because I have inadvertently ended up on C-SPAN in other hearings I attended for my job). But this was the first time I considered it in earnest. The whole thing was conceived of last week.

rafaugm

Have you ever finished a game of Monopoly?


wamandajd

I have. Dressing up as the Monopoly Man was a lot more fun.

SeaOfDeadFaces

I don't really have a question but since this comment will get pulled if it doesn't have a question mark... I love you?


wamandajd

I love all of you too.

Now let's go get these greedy corporate executives!

beans8913

Why do you think raising awareness is important?


wamandajd

Mitch McConnell tried to push a vote to take away our right to sue companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo last week - knowing that there would be renewed public attention to this issue because of the hearings this week. Luckily, we were able to stave off that vote thanks to citizen activists calling their Senators.

But I wanted to use the hearings this week to make sure the issue won't be forgotten, and hopefully we can keep the pressure up through mid-November to ensure S.J. Res. 47 never passes and the CFPB arbitration rule can go into effect. More info at www.noripoffclause.com

[deleted]

[deleted]


wamandajd

I hope for the better! It definitely makes it easier for me to make the case to my bosses that creative activism can work just as well or better than more traditional methods.

Being internet-famous is cool, but I am mostly interested in how I can leverage all this attention to advance the causes I care about and encourage other people to get involved in taking down corporate power!

RagingOrangutan

I cause-played as the Monopoly Man

No it's cospla.... Oooooh I see what you did there you clever, clever man.

Do they teach you to be this clever in law school?


wamandajd

Strangely enough, they mostly try to beat the clever out of you in law school.

The_White_Django

Do you believe that you've actually, in any shape or form, made a difference? Or are you just trying to live off of this 5 minutes of fame you have?


wamandajd

My campaign to support the CFPB arbitration rule against S.J. Res. 47 has never received so much support and attention, so yes, I believe this stunt is making a major difference. The current vote count for the bill is extremely close, and I see more and more indications that the attention around the Monopoly Man could be the straw that breaks this bill's back.

I also hope to inspire other people to bring creativity and humor into their activism. This is something DC sorely needs.

Drotante

Have you done this sort of thing a lot? Do you ever cause-play as someone else?


wamandajd

I have done creative activism before, but I have only done cause-play a handful of times - never in such a major venue. I am so pleased with the response though. I hope to do much more of it!

[deleted]

how are you enjoying your 15 minutes?


wamandajd

It has been a lot of fun! From seeing other folks, I know going viral can be a double-edged sword, but I have been very grateful to have almost entirely positive interactions so far. And I am so glad I have started a conversation about forced arbitration, corporate accountability, and (apparently) gender-neutral pronouns!

likingisaproblem

Aside from the typical call your representative etc, what do you suggest the typical American do to call attention to this proposed Bill?

Also, would you rather fight 100 duck sized CEOs or one horse sized Banker?


wamandajd

Well, definitely call your Senators. You can also sign our petition at www.noripoffclause.com But non-traditionally? Laugh. Laugh at these plutocrats that value their power and reputation over our rights and livelihoods.

Another lesson from the rise of Trump: our systems of power stay in place because we respect them. So respect the ones that matter (cough ethics and anti-corruption cough), and aim your disrespect and mockery toward the systems that hurt people. Democracies function at the consent of the governed, and we should never consent to our own oppression.

ETA: I am imagining the 100 duck sized CEOs as Scrooge McDuck types. I wouldn't fight them, but I would swim in gold coins with them. Horse-sized banker, it is.

PlNKERTON

Do you have future plans to do something like this again?


wamandajd

Just send up the Monopoly Man signal. I will be there.

_tx

How much time planning did you spend?


wamandajd

Almost zero. Which, luckily, worked out surprisingly well!

spacetoddity

Don't you think it hurts the cause to call yourself a "professional troublemaker" when so many on the right are trying to push a narrative that all these protests are funded by people like George Soros?


wamandajd

This action was related to my day job as a nonprofit campaigner, so it would be disingenuous for me to suggest I did it as a private citizen. But I do tons of organizing in my spare time as well, and no one I know is getting rich working at nonprofits. I hope most people can see that the narrative the right is pushing about professional protestors is not at all based in reality.

To be absolutely clear: it is NOT my job to go to hearings dressed in costumes simply to make a scene. This action was part of a larger campaign that I run to support actual policy reform. I am an attorney and activist, and I use a variety of tactics - most very serious, some a little silly.

When I call myself a professional troublemaker, I do so in the vein of Rep. John Lewis' concept of "good trouble." It's worth a Google search, if you are not familiar.

The_LonelyTraveler

Do you have any up coming protests?


wamandajd

We will certainly be planning some soon. I am glad so many folks are excited to join in!

popeonaslope

I'm all for trolling public appearances and hijinks, but what is the best way we can actually make progress in stopping corporate get-out-of-jail free cards?

Humuor is great at bringing attention to issues, but these matters are usually resolved without much public action besides decrying and outrage.


wamandajd

The timing of my hijinks was very intentional. Right now, Senate Republicans are pushing S.J. Res. 47, which would take away our right to sue companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo in court when they break the law.

The best thing you can do to help is call your Senators, and tell them to vote NO on S.J. Res. 47 and to support the CFPB arbitration rule. You can find more information and sign our petition at www.noripoffclause.com

declancahill47

Can you tell what exactly you were protesting? After reading some of the articles I was still confused. The message you brought it's clear banks are screwing people over again


wamandajd

I was there to protest S.J. Res. 47, a Senate push to give companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo a get-out-of-jail-free card when they break the law.

To break it down, many corporations bury "ripoff clauses" in the fine print of their customer contracts to block consumers from suing them in court when they break the law. Instead, we are forced to challenge them one-by-one in secret arbitration proceedings, where the company picks a private firm to decide the case - and the average consumer is ordered to pay their bank or lender $7,725.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a new protection called the arbitration rule to put an end to this. But Republicans are trying to repeal it with S.J. Res. 47.

Please, if you enjoy my antics, call your Senators! 202-224-3121. And sign our petition at www.noripoffclause.com

arrenlex

Why the monopoly man? It seems like in this particular business, Equifax doesn't have a monopoly, with Experian and TransUnion being strong competitors in this field?


wamandajd

With just three credit bureaus, it is not a monopoly, but it is damn close. They certainly work together to exert monopolistic pressure.

But I dressed as the Monopoly Man to call attention to Equifax and Wells Fargo's use of forced arbitration as a get-out-of-jail-free card for their misconduct - as well as Senate Republicans' attempt to preserve it with S.J. Res. 47

Chimel

How did you react when you saw you became famous on the internet ?


wamandajd

I twisted my mustache.

No, really. I saw it happening on Twitter in real-time during the hearing. Every time the camera was off me, I was looking at my phone and tweeting at people who were talking about it to make sure they knew I was there to protest S.J. Res. 47.

tacknosaddle

Did you take inspiration from Billionaires for Bush?


wamandajd

Not directly, but I am a big fan of political satire.

oconeeriverrat

Do you actually believe it's only Republicans that get the get out of jail free card?


wamandajd

No, and it was not my intention to suggest that. But it is only Republican lawmakers who are supporting S.J. Res. 47, which is a get-out-of-jail-free card for Equifax and Wells Fargo.

There is no reason this should not be a partisan issue though. Republican voters are with us on this one! I hope more Republican senators will come out against S.J. Res. 47 (right now Lindsey Graham is the only one taking a public stand).

Pyretic87

How did you feel when 90% of the comments were about how the monopoly man doesn't wear a monocle?


wamandajd

The same way I feel when I notice 90% of those monocle comments came from cis dudes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansplaining

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December 17th 2018