November 24, 2013. Cyberspace. The notoriously corrupt and repeatedly convicted multi-national bank JP Morgan Chase discovered something last week it apparently wasn’t aware of – the entire world believes the financial corporation and all its executives are, well, evil. That’s not our word either. After only six hours on Twitter, the bank was repeatedly called just that – evil.
One of the many sarcastic tweets sent to #AskJPM befor the project was cancelled. Image courtesy of MathBabe.org.
JP Morgan’s social media team thought it would be a great idea to produce a publicity campaign called, ‘#AskJPM’. With the fast pace and limited space, Twitter seemed to be the perfect platform. But when Vice Chairman Jimmy Lee logged onto the bank’s Twitter account only moments after the opening bell on the day Twitter went public, he tweeted, ‘What career advice would you ask a leading exec at a global firm? Tweet a Q using #AskJPM.’ The response was one derogatory, sarcastic, accusatory question after another. After six hours, the entire promotion was scrapped.
The puppets can hear you
It took only a few hours worth of spiteful and accusatory emails, always in the form of a question per the bank’s request, for JP Morgan Chase to shut down their Q & A idea. But the often hilarious questions from the bank’s critics and victims were now on the internet, forever. Immediately, re-tweets, memes and even video parodies began going viral, all taking pleasure in JP Morgan’s pain.
One of those videos found its way to YouTube compliments of The Puppets Can Hear You. It’s a two-minute clip of award-winning actor Stacy Keach on stage doing a dramatic reading. Except he’s only reading the tweets from the JP Morgan #AskJPM Q & A session. The Puppets Can Hear You added in, what else, a blue puppet who dramatically read the JP Morgan Twitter feed’s tweets, while Keach read the questions from the Twitter Universe.
Actual question from #AskJPM, dramatically read by Stacy Keach (from ThePuppetsCanHearYou):
‘Did you always want to be part of a vast, corrupt, criminal enterprise? Or did you break bad?’
‘If you were a shameless financial predator, profiting off the misery of your customers, what kind of creditor would you be?’
‘What’s your favorite type of whale?’ [a reference to JPM’s ‘London Whale’ who lost billions and was given immunity in exchange for testimony against co-workers].
‘I have mortgage fraud, market manipulation, credit card abuse, LIBOR rigging, and predatory lending. Am I diversified?’
‘Is the fact that you’ve paid over half a billion in fines since August a source of pride, or are you embarrassed it’s not higher?’
‘Is it the ability to throw anybody out of their home that drives you? Or just the satisfaction to know you could do it?’
‘At what number of billions of dollars in fines will it no longer be profitable to run your criminal enterprise?’
‘Will the firm explore new markets by selling candy-backed securities to babies without disclosing the lack of chocolate in the bond?’
‘What is the maximum amount of material wealth that a person can accumulate and still be allowed into heaven?’
‘Is it true JPM stands for Just Pay More? No, it stands for Just Print More.’ [in reference to the $85 billion a month the Federal Reserve is printing and handing over to a small, handful of banks including JP Morgan]
It’s at the end of the six-hour self-inflicted abuse session on the bank’s Twitter account, the bank tweets, ‘Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad idea. Back to the drawing board.’ But if JP Morgan officials thought they’d heard the end of it, they were sadly mistaken. The bank’s millions of victims seem to relish in the ability to stick it to the bank that’s too big to fail and too big to jail, no matter how meaningless and inconsequential the momentary act of frustration might be.
One is the loneliest number
It didn’t take long for the firestorm against JP Morgan to reach epic proportion. Business Insider reprinted additional Tweets to #AskJPM, including some from some supposedly unbiased members of the financial press. Joining CNBC’s Stacy Keach, Bloomberg News’ Matt Levine tweeted a ridiculous question seemingly meant to show how ridiculous JP Morgan’s hollow effort was. Below are some more of the tweets from the campaign:
‘Do you like puppies? If you had a puppy, what would you name him?’ – Matt Levine, Bloomberg News
‘What’s it like working with Mexican drug cartels? Do they tip?’ – David Dayen, Salon
‘Who does #2 work for?’ – regular twitter user, and a reference to Dr. Evil’s second in command.
Digging through the six-hour list of tweets to JP Morgan, the New Yorker found some more of interest, again, including some from the press like a tweet from an editor at the Atlantic (from the New Yorker):
‘Do you have any self awareness?’
‘Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?’
‘What section of the poor & disenfranchised have you yet to exploit for profit & how are you working to address that?’
‘Why aren’t you in jail for sending a literal ton of gold bullion to Iran in violation of sanctions?’
‘When Jamie Dimon eats babies are they served rare? I understand anything above medium-rare is considered gauche.’
‘Do you feel bad for ripping me off every month for charging me over 10% on a car loan & reject me when I apply for a credit card?’
‘Why is JPMorgan Chase foreclosing on my neighbor after she’s paid for her house 4 times over?’
Amazingly, there was still more. The investigators from Global Research dug through the Twitter feed and found some more interesting tweets from the six-hour #AskJPM session (from Global Research):
‘As a young sociopath, how can I succeed in finance?’
‘How can a company spend $100,000,000 per day on legal expenses and not be a criminal enterprise?’
‘Can I have my house back?’
‘Is it true that, while you don’t always spit on poor people, when you do, you have perfect aim?’
Probably the most astonishing aspect of the entire episode is how different society sees JP Morgan Chase. Our television sets tell us they’re just one more respectable financial institution. But through the truth serum of the internet and social media, we learn that we’re not crazy. JP Morgan Chase really is evil. Apparently, just ask anyone.
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