A union activist who was originally identified as a Google employee explains that attended an anti-Google rally in San Francisco on Monday so as to engage in “political theater.”
The “Googler,” Max Bell Alper, was caught on video shouting at a group of demonstrators who were protesting the tech giant for allegedly driving up the cost of living in the San Francisco area.
But contrary to all early reports and what believe was an act of deception, Alper is not a Google employee. He is union organizer who’s connected to Unite Here Local 2850, according to the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
He claims he “meant no deception” and said it was all “political theater,” the report adds.
“This is political theater to demonstrate what is happening to the city. It’s about more than just the bus,” he told the San Francisco Bay Guardian. “These are enormous corporations that are investing in this community. These companies, like Google, should be proud of where they’re from and invest in their communities.”
It appear the tech boom has increased the cost of living for lower-income individuals in areas like San Francisco, according to outlets including the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Weekly Standard.
But stunts like Alper’s may distract people from the cost of living issue and instead lead people to focus on rather unpleasant protesting gimmicks. Obviously, some protesters are unhappy with the “political theater.”
“No I did not know him, he didn’t tell me that he was going to be doing that,” the protester who Alper yells at in the video told the Guardian. “I’m really upset that this happened.”
Alper stands by his staged “confrontation”: “People are talking all over the country about what’s happening in San Francisco (referring to evictions and displacement). That’s the debate we need to have here. The more we talk about it, the more we think about it, the more we’re going to see the tech companies need to contribute.”
“This was improv political theater,” he said, claiming he hadn’t planned to stage the fight but only decided to do so once he was there.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian was the first outlet to incorrectly identify Alper as being a Google employee, starting of a viral chain reaction. The news outlet was quick to correct itself once it became known that Alper was a union activist and not an employee of the tech giant.
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