Meet the genderqueer activist behind the Monopoly ManEntertainment News, Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Saturday, October 21st, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amanda Werner, the activist who dressed up as the Monopoly Man at a U.S. Senate hearing on Equifax and “won the Internet,” recently came out to the nation as genderqueer, nonbinary and bisexual. Werner made an announcement to professional colleagues last week on National Coming Out Day, one week after becoming a national media sensation.
“I had not planned to come out so publicly quite yet. But when journalists asked for my pronouns after the stunt, I knew this was the moment to get it right,” said Werner, who uses the gender-neutral pronouns they, them and their. “I am grateful to be able to leverage this attention to raise the visibility of nonbinary people and represent the larger queer and trans communities in my activism.”
Werner, who serves as arbitration campaign manager for Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform, dressed up as the Monopoly Man and sat directly behind Equifax CEO Richard Smith at a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing on Oct. 4. The stunt enraptured viewers as the Monopoly Man was seen adjusting a monocle, wiping their brow with an oversized hundred-dollar bill and chasing down Smith with a bag of money after the hearing.
Werner’s appearance as the Monopoly Man received glowing coverage from the likes of CNBC, NPR, Perez Hilton, GQ, Breitbart, Time, Fox Business, the BBC and Teen Vogue. Werner was called “the consumer protection hero we need,” “your new best friend” and “magical.” The popularity of the Monopoly Man didn’t end there. An Oct. 6 “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) conversation with the Monopoly Man on Reddit has garnered more than 1.2 million views and is the eighth most popular AMA of all time – surpassing chats with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the creator of The Simpsons. Werner also discussed their identity as a trans and nonbinary person in response to questions from Reddit users.
The Monopoly Man’s appearance at the Equifax hearing was part of a national campaign to raise awareness about forced arbitration, arguably the most important tool that banks, lenders and financial companies have used to scam and rip off customers. Forced arbitration denies customers their day in court – requiring them to use a secretive, private arbitration system rigged to protect corporate wrongdoers. In response to this abusive practice, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a rule restoring consumers’ right to go to court. But now the Senate is considering a fast-tracked Congressional Review Act resolution (S.J. Res. 47) that would overturn the rule, and lawmakers must vote on it by Nov. 13. Werner is an attorney and an expert on forced arbitration.
“Make no mistake: Forced arbitration is a rigged game, one that the bank nearly always wins. It gives companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax a monopoly over our system of justice by blocking consumers’ access to the courts,” said Werner. “The CRA resolution striking down the arbitration rule is a virtual Get Out of Jail Free card for companies engaged in financial scams. It should not pass go.”
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