Marshmello tweeted, “Whoever Web Summit booked to perform and do interviews was not me.“
Attendees of cryptocurrency conference Web Summit Lisbon were treated to a surprise guest appearance by Marshmello last week. The masked DJ and producer took the stage on Wednesday, November 15 to introduce Adicoin, a new cryptocurrency in partnership with Adidas.
But there was a problem. The speaker wasn’t Marshmello, and the coin didn’t even exist.
Nor was Adidas involved whatsoever. The appearance was a prank organized by The Yes Men, an activist group who enticed Web Summit’s organizers with the prospect of a high-profile appearance promoting the sham coin. The cryptocurrency, they said, would track factory workers’ movements, converting them to digital cash that they could spend on virtual goods.
“Lately, I’ve been thinking, I want them to be happier,” said the Marshmello impersonator once on stage in reference to the actual artist’s 2018 single “Happier” featuring Bastille. “It’s not fair that they go hungry. It’s not cool that we party all night in Fortnite while they’re stuck in the real world. A new world is born right here, today. We can cut ourselves free!“
Overhead screens then played a supposed preview Adicoin’s virtual reality environment, the Adiverse, during a dance routine on stage. To the shock of attendees, most of the clips consisted of grotesque and sexually suggestive CG renderings.
“Whoever Web Summit booked to perform and do interviews was not me,” said the actual Marshmello the following day on X (formerly Twitter). “Sorry to anyone who was misled by that imposter, my legal team has reached out.“
“Sincere thanks, Marshmello, and apologies for the confusion — but you have genuinely advanced the demands of thousands of garment workers owed severance and back pay by the company that makes the clothes you wear,” The Yes Men replied.
A 2021 report by Swiss watchdog Public Eye found that Adidas owed over 30,000 factory workers $11.7 million in pandemic backpay. In addition to wearing their garments in public, Marshmello has collaborated with Adidas on a line of sneakers.
Watch a video of The Yes Men’s Marshmello impersonation stunt at Web Summit Lisbon on Youtube.