In September, consumer credit reporting agency Equifax was hacked, which meant about half of the U.S. population's personal data was at risk of being exposed. As a result of the breach, former CEO Richard Smith was brought before Congress to try to explain what happened.
Smith was brought into Capitol Hill to give his testimony about the breach. He was asked to give evidence about what happened in this case that affects the private information of over 145 million people. However, Smith wound up being upstaged by a familiar face sitting behind him.
"Equifax and Wells Fargo are using these arbitration clauses as a way to get out of jail free, and deny consumers justice," Werner said in an interview with VICE. "The added fact that the Equifax CEO was just awarded a $7.5 million contract with the IRS made Rich Uncle Pennybags all the more relevant."
The idea started when Werner and other activists wanted to raise awareness a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule that allowed companies to go to forced arbitration instead of getting into real legal trouble. Since this seemed like a way for companies to get out of jail free, they were inspired. So they went to Capitol Hill and handed out these special "Get Out Of Jail, Free" cards.
"I was getting a lot of dirty looks, and folks were very uncomfortable with the fact that I was in the room," Werner said. "I think honestly they kept waiting for me to do something that was going to get me kicked out, but luckily I did my homework. I knew what I was allowed to do and not do."
As word got out about Werner's stunt, Twitter reacted mostly with joy. A good bit of satirical trolling isn't easy to pull off. And it's probably even harder to do when it's inside the actual Capitol building.
If Uncle Pennybags is so rich, why couldn't he get a front row seat like he's probably used to? Then again, with that much money, it's possible he's done some stuff that could have landed him in Richard Smith's seat instead. So maybe he should consider himself lucky.
"Ironically, today Rich Uncle Pennybags really represented the majority of Americans who were, in fact, affected by the Equifax breach," Werner said. "My personal information was hacked in that breach. And so I'm glad that by kind of mocking the out-of-touch CEOs that have been testifying to congress, we were actually channeling the voice of the people who want to see real justice done here."