Environmentalists Disrupt Fed Chair Powell’s Speech

U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell | Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Image

A speech by the Federal Reserve chair on Thursday was interrupted by environmentalists when several of them overtook the stage.

The protesters made it past Jerome Powell’s security detail as they interrupted his opening speech at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters during an annual research conference on “Global Interdependence” in Washington, D.C.

“Jerome Powell, by refusing to treat climate change like the systemic risk that it is, you are putting us at risk of economic disaster,” said one of the three protesters as the group overtook the stage.

Keynote speakers at the event also included prominent economists and policymakers, such as Israeli Central Bank governor Amir Yaron, IMF first deputy managing director Gina Gopinath, and IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas.

“Okay, thank you, thank you very much, thank you,” Powell said as he was ushered off the stage by security.

Although the protesters seemingly only intended to disrupt the event, the notion that they could openly walk behind the head of U.S. monetary policy could pose a security risk. This is the second time a group of protesters has disrupted an event featuring Powell, with the last one taking place in late October, per Reuters.

“Just close the f*****g door,” Powell told security in a fit of frustration.

Powell’s innocuous slip of the tongue could have some unintended consequences for the fed chair when it comes to AI-generated content. Powell has been careful not to use the f-word publicly. Now, in the world of deep fakes and rapidly advancing AI technologies, it is possible that fake media content featuring him cursing could be created.

Overall, the disruption did not last long, with IMF security quickly escorting the protesters out of the building. While the conference was open to the public, it required registration and photo identification for admission.

The conference resumed shortly afterward without incident.

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