Google Bus Protest: Angry Confrontation Apparently Staged
Update, Tuesday 5:15 p.m.: More from the Bay Guardian on Monday’s Google bus protest and on the union organizer who, apparently on his own, decided to act the part of the enraged Google employee telling anti-eviction activists they need to get out of San Francisco: ‘Why’d you do it?’ we ask fake Google employee Max Bell Alper
We posted earlier on this morning’s Google bus protest in the Mission District: San Francisco ‘Displacement’ Activists Take to Street and Block a Google Bus.’ Then our attention was drawn to a San Francisco Bay Guardian video (above) of a great moment of street theater the protest provoked: an angry man confronting the activists. We updated our original post with the video and the following description:
“…Let’s show the only thing most people will remember about the protest: The San Francisco Bay Guardian video of an angry apparent Google employee, who declares he’s lived in the city for six months, who urges the activists to just get out of the bus’s way. ‘Why don’t you go to a city where you can afford it [the rent],” he tells one of protesters. This is a city for the right people who can afford it. If you can’t afford it, it’s time for you to leave.’ ”
Valleywag described the confrontation as “almost comically repulsive.”
But if something seems too good to be true …
No sooner had I hit publish on the post than someone spotted reports that the confrontation was staged. The Bay Guardian followed up its video post to say it had been tipped off that the angry, angry man telling off the protesters is actually a labor organizer from Oakland:
UPDATE 12:32pm: Various tips have streamed in that this shout-out was staged. Protest organizer Leslie Dreyer talked to us on the phone and verified that this person’s identity was Max Bell Alper, a union organizer from Oakland. This person was not a Google employee, and Dreyer was not able to verify if Alper was there in the morning with the group of 20-30 protesters. The Guardian is attempting to contact Alper for comment. Dreyer said she, as an organizer, was unaware that the “performance” had been planned. We are following this as it develops.