Someone dressed as Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly board game crashed the former Equifax CEO's Senate hearing on Wednesday (4 October) and the internet couldn't get enough. Richard Smith is testifying before four congressional committees this week on the embattled credit firm's massive data breach that compromised the personal and financial data of about 145.5 million people.
Dressed in a tuxedo, top hat, bushy white mustache and a monocle, Amanda Werner, campaign manager for non-profits Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform, was seated a few rows behind Smith. During the live webcast of his testimony, the character was visible over Smith's left shoulder, wiping her brow with money and twirling the moustache.
Equifax has come under intense scrutiny following the disclosure of the major breach and offered free credit monitoring to affected customers.
However, the fine print initially included an arbitration clause that prevented people from suing or joining a class action lawsuit against the company. It eventually removed arbitration from its identity theft protection offering following massive outrage.
On Wednesday, Smith said that the arbitration requirement was a mistake.
Americans for Financial Reform said in a tweet that Werner was there to "protest Equifax's behaviour in the wake of the breach, and to draw attention" to forced arbitration clauses that are widely used in the financial industry.
Senators are currently pushing to overturn the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's arbitration rule in July that would curtail the use of arbitration clauses.
Werner also handed out Monopoly-style "Get out of jail free" cards.
"Make no mistake: arbitration is a rigged game, one that the bank nearly always wins," Werner said in a statement. "Shockingly, the average consumer forced to arbitrate with Wells Fargo was ordered to pay the bank nearly $11,000. Bank lobbyists and their allies in Congress are trying to overturn the CFPB's rule so they can continue to rip off consumers with impunity."
Meanwhile, Twitter was thoroughly amused after spotting the character in the audience and praised the stunt as the "best troll of the year".
"The Monopoly Man who is wiping his brow with money and twirling his moustache is magical," one Twitter user wrote, while another said, "That is the best troll job in the history of the world."
Actress Sarah Silverman tweeted, "I love this so much."
Another user commented, "A tip of the hat to the Monopoly Man. You good sir took a chance and it paid off during the Equifax hearings. Now go collect $200."