MEMPHIS, Tenn. Activists who have disrupted three Minnesota Timberwolves fights in two NBA arenas over the past two weeks are demanding that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor relinquish his role as governor and contribute $ 11.3 million to various units on behalf of animal welfare.
The activists, members of the organization Direct Action Everywhere, are targeting Taylor for his ownership of Rembrandt Farms, a large-scale factory that produces tens of thousands of eggs each year. Rembrandt’s plant experienced an outbreak of bird flu in March.
“Getting Taylor and other extremely powerful factory farmers to make these taxpayers’ bailouts run off against the values of ordinary Americans,” said Direct Action Everywhere media contact and activist Matt Johnson. Taylor should set a strong example by stepping away from NBA ownership and refusing to receive subsidies in connection with the HPAI outbreak, and donating funds previously received to help repair some of the damage from the most destructive industry on the planet. “
To combat the highly pathogenic avian influenza epidemic, the company killed more than 5 million birds using a method called ventilation shutdown plus at one of its Iowa primary facilities. During the method, the air flow is closed into the industrial sheds where the birds live. Activists consider the practice inhumane.
Protester Alicia Saturio glued her hands to the court during live play in the Timberwolves’ play-in match against the LA Clippers on April 12 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, the first of three events. The security quickly lifted her from the court and shot her out.
“I was nervous,” Saturio told ESPN. “I had never super-glued myself to anything. I was not sure how the fans would react. I certainly did not want any of the players to get hurt, so I made sure to do it when they were down. other end of the court. “
In Game 1 of Minnesota’s first round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, activist Zoe Rosenberg chained herself to a basket stand near Taylor’s seat during the match at FedExForum in Memphis. She was quickly released by police and carried out of the arena. Rosenberg is charged with intrusion and disorderly conduct.
Johnson participated in Game 3 of the Target Center with the intention of disrupting the game. He was apprehended and tackled by the security guard before reaching the floor. He was arrested and expelled from the Target Center for a year.
In Game 4 of the series in Minneapolis, activist Sasha Zemmel rushed the pitch right in front of Taylor and interrupted live play. She was dressed in the uniform of an NBA official. Her intention was to approach Taylor, whose net worth was estimated at $ 2.5 billion by Forbes magazine in 2020, and call a “technical error” on the owner of the Timberwolves and Rembrandt Farms.
Security personnel immediately took her down to the floor and removed her before she could gesture. The judge’s jersey number was 5.3 to represent the 5.3 million birds killed by Rembrandt. Zemmel is charged with disorderly conduct and fifth-degree assault.
“I did not even know what it was,” said Timberwolves young star Anthony Edwards after Minnesota’s Game 4 victory. “You have to stop running on the floor in Minnesota. Do it in Memphis. We do not need it.”
Direct Action Everywhere performs public acts of civil disobedience as well as what it calls rescue missions at agricultural factories. Although recent actions are in response to the killings of Rembrandt, the group is more generally against factory farming.
The organization has filed a complaint with local and state authorities in Iowa alleging that Rembrandt’s conduct violated state law. It requires Taylor to speed up the pending sale of the team to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, who have accepted the terms. Direct Action Everywhere is also demanding that Taylor Corp., Rembrandt’s parent company, donate the $ 11.3 million it received in federal funds to help with a 2015 outbreak to public health and animal welfare organizations.
Neither the Timberwolves nor representatives of Taylor commented at the time of publication.