Reverend Billy Faces One Year in Jail

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Billy Talen, aka "Reverend Billy", discusses the charges he faces for trespassing at JP Morgan Chase during an environmental protest and the possible year in jail he faces.

→ Photos of the Chase Protest


Billy Talen
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Comments [33]

Can't really tell, but those hats appear to intentionally interfere with facial identification of the persons wearing them, especially by pre-positioned bank cameras.

Functional "masks".

[Don't worry, no way I could qualify for the jury that will find this poser guilty. I want to suggest that he and his "abettors" serve a sentence of one year without the benefit of hydrocarbon products or services.]

Dec. 09 2013 01:38 AM
Julie from NYC

Billy is a very brave man. I was disappointed with the tone you took with him today, Brian. This is shameful overcharging at the very least. Billy deserves our respect and support.

Dec. 05 2013 11:50 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ rosellen -

Go ahead, exploit all the fossil fuels and natural resources you want, plus do it in an unsustainable manner so that those resources become increasingly scarce and expensive for future use. For the most part, that's what humans have always done. (How conveniently Manifest Destiny of you.)

Go ahead, believe that an uptick in greenhouse gas emissions (not just CO2) doesn't the cause global warming and climate change, but know that you are clinging to an outmoded, unsubstantiated BELIEF, one that is not based on observable and testable scientific findings. The climate is changing from increased greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity, and that's occurring regardless of your beliefs.

Dec. 05 2013 04:34 PM
Georgia Atkins from Bayonne, NJ and North Conway, NH

Reverend Billy And Church Of Stop Shopping, you are all so cool.
You are definitely what NYC and the USA needs.

I know you will like this DKos Diary that I wrote. We could all use your help stopping spectra.
All New/Totally Updated-Jersey City NJ Sues In Federal Court To Stop spectra's gas pipeline

All the best to you in court.

Georgia Atkins

Dec. 05 2013 04:29 PM

Listening to him was like being back in the sixties; that cadence, tone of voice , that hippie dippie earnestness. The hippies-they'll always be with us.
Drill baby drill, frack baby frack! The earths energy sources are there to be used by mankind, for mankind. Carbon output/global warming obsession is a 21st century form of millennial apocalyptic hysteria. This global warming activism is a self righteous hobby which allows activists to be above the fray of real human problems.No need to concern themselves with todays real life moral/political problems-they're above all that as they concern themselves with the whole future of Humankind/life itself! How grandiose and convenient as climate, given enough time is always changing and any climate change can always be around the corner, in the future. Unlike risks people take when they take a political stand on other real pressing political issues, with global warming scenarios, which one can always claim is a coming,they'll never be proved wrong. How convenient.

Dec. 05 2013 12:27 PM

Hurrah for Reverend Billy- an old school new york kook who cares! He's always had fun, intelligent protests and gets people to think while being entertained.

The fact J/P/Morgan Chase (master crooks to the highest levels like all the bailout banks) is actually taking action against him is ludicrous. Yet another reason to question their very sanity when dealing with the public and wonder where their priorities are- especially after all the FRAUD they've propagated, while continuing to overpay and worship their own capitalist Pope Jamie Diamond... not even to mention continuing to exploit the earth in the worst ways with their morally bankrupt investments.

Cheers to Sue (here on the msg board) for mentioning she switched banks (to Apple bank). That is how you change things in a easy, day to day way. Help the little guys survive and thrive, put your money where your beliefs are. Vote with your wallet, small scale and large.

I talked with a friend who owns a very popular, old bar in the West Village and rental property that does very well... they switched from Chase 3 years ago after the crash! And another very well known business that's growing dropped working with Citibank for the same reasons. Punish the evildoers, hallejuhah!

Dec. 05 2013 11:19 AM
sean from brooklyn

I am totally behind what Reverend Billy is all about. Now that I've seen the photos posted above I don't think I would have been scared for my well being had I been in that bank.

However, I think that seeing a group of people with their faces obscured entering a bank is frightening. I don't want to see masks in a bank. Maybe they were more hats than masks, maybe they were singing and seemed nonthreatening. But I think even partially covering your face in a bank by one person, let alone a group is irresponsible. Those seconds of fear before you realize whats going on are unforgivable.

I am pro civil disobedience to prove your point, but I don't think assuming because you think you arent threatening is the same as not being threatening.

Dec. 05 2013 11:19 AM
Joe Pearce from Brooklyn

When I read most of the above comments, I fully understand why NPR has most of its programs slanted to the left. You do have to please your public. But Reverend Billy to me just comes over as a self-serving and self-publicizing moron. Does he really think such actions as the one he pulled at Chase will effect a change (assuming a change is needed)? Does he really think he has the right to hold demonstrations ON private property? Does Reverend Billy have a job? Is he independently wealthy? Is he on Public Assistance? Does his wife support him? How does he have the time to do all of this and get arrested 75 times? And after 75 arrests, who would hire him anyway? (The name of Bill Di Blasio machine guns its way into my head.) He mentions his 3-year old daughter. I pity her, having a father who comes over as a total flake. Brian, was it really necessary to have Reverend Billy on your show? You sounded like you thought he was a flake, too.

Dec. 05 2013 11:17 AM


Rev. Billy is going to jail and Jamie Dimon can't even get INDICTED?!?!

Dog Ble$$ AmeriKa™!!

Dec. 05 2013 11:09 AM

"Who's a kook…", rather.

Dec. 05 2013 11:08 AM
Sue from NYC

Yo, foodaggro with your Winston Churchill quote -- Churchill didn't live in the time of the insane, fact-denying GOP and Tea Party, so that quote no longer applies.

Dec. 05 2013 11:06 AM

why isn't he concerned about the radiation pollution from Japan? isn't that more of an immediate danger to the environment and humans?

Dec. 05 2013 11:06 AM
TXC from Manhattan

Hang in there, Bill. Keep fighting the good fight.

Dec. 05 2013 11:06 AM

I love this guy. Would that there were more like him . . .

Dec. 05 2013 11:05 AM
Sue from NYC

Around the time of Occupy, I did a bunch of research on banks in NYC, looking at where I could move my money out of a giant corporate bank. I wasn't able to get into a credit union, but landed at Apple Bank for Savings, which is a small, local bank that appears to be owned by the family of the founder. And I didn't see any evidence that the founder made creepy (i.e., GOP) political donations. I've been happy with Apple Bank.

Dec. 05 2013 11:04 AM

This guy is a hero!!

Dec. 05 2013 11:03 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

This "Reverend Billy" person may have the right environmental motives, but he has no business trespassing on private property.

If there's video from the bank, that will be the primary evidence used as it is more accurate than "he said/she said." And then we will know the truth of what happened. Notwithstanding, he is still not welcome to trespass. He could have made as much of a point by protesting on the sidewalk in front of the building.

Dec. 05 2013 11:03 AM
Minister Erik McGregor from New York

A picture (or a bunch) is worth a thousand words:

Note the "terrified" teller smiling while videotaping the performance and the customers going on their regular business while performing in a nearly empty bank branch.

Pretty "menacing"

Dec. 05 2013 11:02 AM

Whose a kook?!?!?

The guy screaming, "THE HOUSE IS BURNING DOWN!!!" or, the idiots that sit in the house and say everything is just fine?!?!?

Dec. 05 2013 11:02 AM
Joe from nearby

This highlights the power of the 1% to crush our Constitutional rights.

Dec. 05 2013 11:01 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty, you have no brain.' - Winston S. Churchill

Dec. 05 2013 11:00 AM
Robert from NYC

Thank you Reverend Billy. Scare 'em all, it's the very least they deserve. They're not going to jail, let 'em run scared.
Brian, did you bring him here to take him to task? Why don't you just listen to his message. Yes the teller works for these banks they represent the banks they are part of the bank. If they disagree with the bank's policies they should get another job somewhere that is not a bank, or at least a sleazy bank!

Dec. 05 2013 11:00 AM


Dec. 05 2013 10:58 AM

Typical heavy-handed overreaching prosecution. Sounds like a Soviet Union/Russian show trial.

Nice to see that our country mimics the "justice system" of one of our biggest adversaries.

Dec. 05 2013 10:57 AM
Susan Rubin from Chappaqua NY

Reverend Billy is a hero in my book. We need more environmental activists who utilize art and music.

Dec. 05 2013 10:57 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

What a kook. But I say more power to him.

Dec. 05 2013 10:55 AM
Joe from nearby

Brian- thanks for drawing attention to this travesty.

Good luck "Rev"!

Dec. 05 2013 10:53 AM
Dylan from Midtown

This guy is amazingly hilarious. Also, impossible to take seriously.

Dec. 05 2013 10:53 AM
dan from manhattan

"Excuse me, are you trying to make an important point in public?"


"Horrors! To jail with you- riotous scum!"

Dec. 05 2013 10:53 AM
Fishmael from NYC

If Rev. Billy gets *any* jail time for what is in essence a free-speech action, protesting very real harm done to the public (and even if a court rules it is not a free-speech action!), we can pretty much kiss any pretense of justice (justice, the goal of the law, right?) goodbye.

See also the ACLU's current campaign on people serving *mandatory life sentences* for non-violent offenses.

We've profoundly lost our way, America.

Dec. 05 2013 10:49 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

Part 1 of 2

The irony and injustice of Reverend Billy being subjected to a one year jail sentence while J. P. Morgan Chase is compelled to pay off BILLIONS in fines to buy off criminal charges for illegal and dishonest business practices that have totally screwed over investors, home owners, customers and the taxpayers (as it is the taxpayers that have, ultimately, bailed them out) is overwhelming.

NO ONE at Chase is facing ANY personal criminal liability or exposure for engaging in criminal activity. The message is that if you are a multibillion dollar financial institution the individual human beings who engage in criminal actions are too "big" to jail.

Imagine a kidnapper, or a rapist or a bank robber being able to escape criminal prosecution by simply paying a large fine. Yet we do just that when we allow the banksters to get off scott free while merely compelling the corporations they control to pay seemingly large "fines" and "restitution" much of which turns out to be TAX DEDUCTIBLE and all of which amounts to simply becoming the cost of doing business as all of the customer and investor base winds up paying the fines.

Meanwhile, Reverend Billy is prosecuted to the max for simply speaking truth to power.

Make no mistake, this prosecution is all about setting an example and chilling free speech.

If you look on the web you can find hundreds of performances of all kinds that are conducted in public spaces....all manner of improv and theatrical manifestations that are entertaining and thought provoking.....many of which are performed in NYC in Macy's and Starbucks etc.......and we see no attempt from the DA to put these performers in JAIL FOR A YEAR!!!

Dec. 05 2013 10:33 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

Part 2

If the political prosecution of Reverend BIlly Talen "succeeds" in jailing him for a year it will send a message that you too could wind up imprisoned for speaking out.

Even where there is speech utilizing some measure of actual civil is wrong to impose a year long imprisonment where no one was harmed in any way. Some few customers and employees were exposed to words and ideas that were embarrassing to Chase.....why should that activity merit a year in jail???

I understand that doing this in China might get you killed, but do we really want to become more like an authoritarian police state than we already are??? We still have a measure of freedom and democracy left in America, but those rights are being consistently subjected to the "death of a thousand cuts".

All freedom loving Americans should be raising a stink about this persecution of Reverend Billy. If they can do this to him with impunity then the "authorities" will only become more emboldened to do it to more and more of us.

At best these bogus charges should be dropped. At least they should be reduced and the good Reverend should be allowed to plead to a minor misdemeanor and pay a minimal fine for some minor charge. That's peaceful non violent civi disobedience has traditionally worked........until now.

As it stands it looks like the prosecutor is acting as an employee of Chase in the same way tat the Pinkertons were the private police force and brutal "muscle" for the robber barons in the 1890's.

If the prosecution wins in it's effort to jail Reverend Billy it will be one more indication of how we are moving in the direction of becoming a corporate/fascist state. That outcome is not acceptable.

Dec. 05 2013 10:32 AM
Trav S.D. from Brooklyn, NY

My two cents on the Reverend Billy sitch!;

Dec. 05 2013 10:19 AM

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