reverend billy charged with riot in the second degree for organizing musical protest at bank

by Tim Phillips

Last week New York City charged performance artist and activist Bill Talen, who goes by Reverend Billy, and Nehemiah Luckett with riot in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct for a protest a little more than a month ago at a Chase bank in Manhattan. Their trial is scheduled to begin on December 9. According to a November 13 Grist article,

Reverend Billy has been arrested, he estimates, at least 75 times since 1999… Since then, he’s used the persona of the televangelist to stage theatrical protests about the influence of corporations on American life. In recent years, Talen and the 50-odd performers that now make up the core of the Church of Stop Shopping have focused on the role that corporations play in climate change and species extinction.

The Chase bank protest lasted 15 minutes. Talen and Luckett now face up to a year in prison. The interview portion of the Grist article quotes Talen as saying:

It’s either too late, or very close to too late. We don’t get to know. We’ve got to turn the tables over, and try to get people’s attention.