Stuart Varney Claims (Based On Literally Nothing) That OWS Is Recruiting Paid Protesters On Craigslist
Good news for the Occupy Wall Street folks: you can now be an OWS "bum" and get paid for it -- that's according to Fox News' Stuart Varney, anyway, who claims (based on literally nothing) that OWS is recruiting paid protesters via-Craigslist to "hang out" in Zuccotti Park today and tomorrow (spoiler alert: the group offering cash for protesters isn't OWS -- it's a for-profit price club -- which Varney might have realized had he done a more thorough "investigation" (Google search). More on that below).
On his show, Varney & Co., this morning, Varney claimed he found a Craigslist ad offering $10 an hour for people to "hang out" in Zuccotti Park today and tomorrow morning. He credits the ad to OWS and quipped how funny it is that a group that's so anti-capitalism would offer a cash incentive to "hang out" in a park. The problem, as we see it, is that no where in the ad Varney claims to have found does it mention anything about Occupy Wall Street. And the group that probably posted the ad is a for-profit company -- not anti-capitalists -- that wants to get "10,000,000 users worldwide" so it can "get the power to make the deals!"
Below is the text from the ad Varney baselessly attributes to OWS (all sic):
Were looking for people who are free Wednesday and Thursday morning from 730AM-1PM for $10/hour plus food and drink and transportation cash to come hang out in Zuccotti park."
As you can see in the image below, no where in the version of the ad Varney provides does it say anything about OWS -- and there's no link to the supposed ad anywhere on his website.
Varney posted this photo on his Facebook page with the following caption: HELP WANTED! Even as the weather gets warmer, the Occupy movement seem to be having trouble finding fresh protesters. Just take a look at this ad posted over the weekend:
We asked around -- there's no special OWS event planned for today that would require extra bodies (just today's weekly protest outside of the Stock Exchange). Tomorrow, however, a rally is scheduled -- but it's in Union Square (not Zuccotti Park) and is at night.
There is a "protest" happening in Zuccotti Park today and tomorrow, though -- but it's not the work of the occupiers.
We (with some help from our colleague Nick Pinto) stumbled upon a group that is offering $10 an hour for people to "protest" in Zuccotti Park today and tomorrow. The group is called "AllOURPower," and while it uses some of the same rhetoric as OWS (the "99-percent" BS, for example) the group isn't Occupy Wall Street. See a different ad the group posted on Craigslist here, in which it offers cash to people willing to hang out in Zuccotti Park.
AllOURPower doesn't appear to be as divisive as OWS -- it's mission statement is to "bridge the gap and connect the 99 percent to the 1 percent." However, it appears to be little more than a for-profit consumer price club that's using the buzz of OWS to help launch its website.
From the AllOURPower website:
All Our Power is a united movement of consumers pooling their buying power to force companies, large and small, to lower prices for AOP members. The AOP purchasing power will save you money on gas, groceries, insurance, electronics, cellular providers, Internet services, hotels, car rentals and on and on and on. All Our Power puts the power of 10 million shoppers in your shopping cart. Join for free and we'll negotiate with all the biggest and best companies, in every sector on your behalf. Whichever one is willing to provide our members with the best price, that's the company we use. Then we'll tell you all about it on our website or in an email, so the next time you shop there, you can proudly flash your AOP I.D. card and you score the killer deal.
Regardless, the group is holding a "rally" (a.k.a. a company launch party) at Zuccotti Park today and tomorrow. The rallies are to be held between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and the company is offering people $10 an hour to come hang out and pretend to be "protesting" (again, this is just a publicity stunt piggybacking off of the OWS movement).
Given the time and location of the AllOURPower "protests" -- and the rate of compensation for those willing to hang out in Zuccotti Park -- we're fairly certain Varney took one look at a Craigslist ad, saw "99 percent," and just assumed OWS must be behind it. We could be wrong, though -- maybe there are two "protests" going on between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. today and tomorrow where "protesters" are being offered $10 an hour to "hang out" in Zuccotti Park. However, if that were the case, we'd be absolutely shocked.
Just in case, though, we sent Varney the following Facebook message:
Do you have any way of verifying that this is even true? Or that it's actually OWS that posted the ad? No where in the ad does it mention OWS. Was it in the ad's title? Anything? Or did you just see "Zuccotti Park" and draw your own conclusion? I'm a writer for the Village Voice in New York. Can you send me a link to the ad? email@example.com. I'm planning on writing about this but if there's nothing to support your claim that OWS posted this, that's what I'm gonna write. Thanks.
We'll let you know if Varney can pony up any proof. Check back for updates.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.