An actor who uses comic theatre and music to persuade corporations to address climate change faces a year in prison after the largest bank in the US took offence.
In June, Billy Talen and eight members of the Church of Earthalujah choir walked into the lobby of a Manhattan branch of JP Morgan Chase in New York.
Dressed as central American golden toads, a species that has been made extinct as the result of climate change, they told the staff that they were about to perform “expressive politics”.
As the choir sang, Talen, who impersonates a Baptist preacher as “the Rev Billy”, then delivered a short sermon about climate change and Chase’s record in financing in some of the world’s most fossil fuel intensive industrial projects. The bank is one of the largest funders of mountaintop removal mining and other major fossil fuel projects around the world.
Talen and choir director Nehemiah Luckett were later arrested and charged with riot, trespass, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. The New York prosecutor called the performance a “criminal stunt” and demanded that Talen go to prison for a year. The trial starts on 9 December.