**The MediaZoo7 are currently fundraising to cover legal costs. Support them by donating here.**

Last June, as part of Reclaim the Power’s day of action against the fossil fuel industry, myself and 6 others chose to occupy the offices of PR company Media Zoo. Posing as a PR company exec, I gave a spoke about the trials and tribulations of dealing in dodgy crisis communications, before finally coming to my senses and concluding ‘Fracking is shit, and you can’t polish a turd.’ This all took place in front of 4 friends, locked together and dressed as cartoon poos, MediaZoo’s creative director and a number of police officers. We were arrested, and two weeks ago five of us were finally convicted of aggravated trespass.

But why did we perform this surreal direct action against a PR company in central London?

media zoo 1

PR is PR, but Media Zoo are pretty dirty by anyone’s standards. They specialise in ‘crisis communications’, which by their own admission includes “industrial disputes”, “fatal accidents” and “child labour”. Until recently they boasted about this on their website , but have since removed the murkier elements of their operations.

The reason we locked ourselves together in their offices last summer was to protest against their links with fracking giant Ineos. Ineos had recently pledged £640m of investment in fracking in the UK, with CEO of Ineos Upstream Gary Haywood saying, “I want Ineos to be the biggest player in the shale gas industry”. Not only that, but MediaZoo were responsible for what UNITE described as Ineos’s “campaign of fear” during a dispute at Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland when 1400 workers fought cuts to pay, jobs and pensions.


Why PR?

Our action wasn’t the first time a PR company had been targeted over their links with the fossil fuel industry. Two years ago, 6 activists glued themselves to the front doors of Bell Pottinger for their representation of Cuadrilla, the first fracking company to attempt to drill in the UK. Notorious for running Margret Thatcher’s election campaign against Jim Callaghan, as well as representing Syrian President Assad, Alexander Lukashenko, and Rebecca Brookes, even the infamous Bell Pottinger soon dropped Cuadrilla after becoming a target for climate activists.

The fossil fuel industry doesn’t exist in isolation. It’s propped up by the politicians, banks and businesses who share in their extraordinary profits, which come at extraordinary humanitarian costs. The World Health Organisation estimates that between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress. In the UK, open cast coal mines and fracking threaten both the natural environment and the communities that surround them.

Communities fighting fossil fuel extraction don’t have access to the vast sums of money that climate wrecking companies such as Ineos do. They can’t afford the same access to politicians, they can’t afford to take costly legal action and they can’t afford to employ PR execs to market their message. Local communities know that fracking will destroy their lands and lock us into a dependency on fossil fuels; further driving the climate crisis that will kill and displace millions. Through taking action against the companies that profit from climate change we can amplify their voices and challenge the fabrications and falsifications that ‘crisis communications’ experts want us to hear.

When Ineos profit from climate change, endangering our communities, so do MediaZoo. And they do so by adding a touch of sparkle to some pretty dirty business. For years, activists in the UK have targeted the banks that fund the fossil fuel industry. Now we’re targeting those who represent them.

James, MediaZoo7

**The MediaZoo7 are currently fundraising to cover legal costs. Support them by donating here.**