Yes Men bow to BP complaints – in their own way

March 10th, 2008 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

To be a satirist necessitates a certain thickness of skin. You’re going to be upsetting people (if you do it properly), and need to be comfortable staring them down. So what do you do when you get a letter from a potential target complaining about a satire that never actually got completed and distributed? Well, if you’re the Yes Men, you prioritize completing that project, and roll it out immediately, of course.The story begins with a letter from BP complaining about a page they’ve found on the Yes Men website:

Our attention has been drawn to the existence of the following web pages. http://www.theyesmen.org/agribusiness/beyondpetrol/ You will note that these pages bear a remarkable similarity to the genuine www.bp.com website.You will observe that the webpages in question include multiplereproductions of the BP logo. BP p.l.c. has not authorised this andsubmit that this infringes the copyright in BP’s trademarks.In addition, we are concerned that there is a real risk of that genuinevisitors could be confused and being diverted away from the genuine www.bp.com site. For example, please refer to link to the “Contact Us” page http://www.theyesmen.org/agribusiness/beyondpetrol/contactusdisplay.html  

 So there are some pages, on the Yes Men site, and BP are worried people will think they are official BP pages. That the ‘www.theyesmen.org…’ URL won’t trigger people’s suspicions. And why, you might wonder, did the Yes Men have this set of pages anyhow – what purpose was it serving, sitting there on their site?

Back in 2006, we began preparing some satires on a number of companies that we considered to be the world’s prime malefactors, in order to help expose their monstrous crimes in a humorous way. These companies included ExxonMobil, Halliburton/KBR, and a number of other entities, including your own.Sadly, while we did get around to fully realizing some of the spoofs – including the ones on Exxon and Halliburton – we actually *forgot* about yours shortly after we began work on it, and it thus remained in the execrable half-finished state in which, to your horror, you found it last week. It didn’t even have its own URL!  

 Obligingly, the Yes Men responded to the BP complaint by removing the pages from their site – and giving them a domain name, and a site, of their own. Behold Beyond-Petrol.com.

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