A prankster dressed as Rich Uncle Pennybags has photobombed the US Senate hearing of a Wall Street chief executive.
The former chief executive of Equifax – the huge credit reporting company that was hacked, compromising the data of 145 million Americans – had to testify before Congress on Wednesday.
As Richard F Smith tried to explain the massive data breach, a familiar figure began to emerge behind him.
It was the Monopoly man – the mascot from the board game – complete with top hat, white moustache, a monocle and bags of fake cash.
Activist and lawyer Amanda Werner dressed up as the character, who was originally called Rich Uncle Pennybags, to protest about Equifax’s use of forced arbitration to avoid facing customers in court.
True to the Monopoly theme, Werner also handed out get out of jail free cards with Equifax and Wells Fargo (another financial services firm) logos on them.
“The Monopoly man tie-in came together naturally,” said Werner, who is campaign manager for the Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform groups.
She told the Press Association: “I was just lucky to be able to snag such a perfect seat for the hearing.”
Hello to my new followers!
Please call the Senate & tell them to vote NO on SJ Res 47 - Equifax & Wells Fargo's get-out-of-jail-free card! pic.twitter.com/uRIE3gzHoy— The Monopoly Man - Amanda Werner (@wamandajd) October 4, 2017
But why the Monopoly man outfit for such a serious topic?
“Creative protest can be extremely effective,” she said.
“Folks are rising to the occasion and pioneering new ways to hold our elected representatives to account.
“I am very glad to play a small role in that resistance.”
Werner is encouraging people to call their senators, and support the American Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule, which allows the public to file lawsuits against large financial providers like Equifax.
“Just last week, Senate Republicans pushed a vote to repeal this rule, and we narrowly avoided losing our right to a day in court,” she said.
“I am glad folks got a kick out of the protest, and I hope they will take the next step to tell their senator to vote no (on the bill to ditch arbitration).”