June 03, 2014 in Bloomberg Business Week Energy Section
Photograph by Pqneiman/Demotix/Corbis
The mystery of the fake anti-Chevron (CVX) protest continues to thicken. As I reported last week, the oil company’s May 28 annual shareholder meeting in Midland, Tex., drew an environmental demonstration populated by phony participants who were paid $85 each to wave signs and shout slogans.
“It seemed very staged,” Maria Garay told me Monday. A Brooklyn (N.Y.)-based public relations executive, Garay helped promote the event but said she had nothing to do with the fake demonstrators. She doesn’t know who they were or who paid them. “There was a tall guy with platinum blond hair who was telling them what to chant and where to stand,” Garay said.
Normally, the identity of the platinum blond guy—and, for that matter, this entire bizarre episode—might seem like a minor embarrassment to serious opponents of pollution. It’s more important, though, because it’s emblematic of the dishonesty that has come to permeate a...