During former Equifax CEO Richard Smith’s congressional testimony on Wednesday, intrepid C-SPAN 3 viewers noticed something odd. Considering the severity of his previous company’s massive hack, both reported and otherwise, the former executive has faced a litany of tough questions and comments from the members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. A few rows behind Smith, however, an individual dressed as the “Monopoly Man” from the popular board game posed for the cameras. Complete with a black top hat, fake mustache and monocle, they performed throughout the event.
CNN and other outlets subsequently discovered the “man” was actually Amanda Werner, a campaign manager at Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen nonprofit groups. “I am 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 massive misconduct,” she told CNN. “They use these ripoff clauses buried in the fine print to ensure that consumers can’t join together to hold them accountable in court.” Werner and her fellow protesters also revealed their true identity and purpose on Twitter and YouTube.
Seriousness notwithstanding, of course, Werner and her associates put on the spectacle for the primary purpose of gaining attention during what most Americans would consider a boring few hours of television — the hack’s severity notwithstanding. Sure enough, plenty of journalists, Twitter trolls and social media lurkers were quick to notice their work.