What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see a Guy Fawkes mask these days? Without a doubt, it has to be Anonymous. Supporters of the hacker group, which has targets as varied as they come, have taken to wearing the Guy Fawkes mask in public protests. However, although the mask brings anarchy and anti-capitalism to mind, Anonymous has inadvertently contributed to Time Warner’s yearly profits.
Initially made somewhat popular by the successful Warner Bros.’ film, V for Vendetta, it wasn’t until Anonymous co-opted the image that it turned into a modern-day symbol of the struggle against the establishment. As it turns out, it is an incredibly ironic symbol.
Putting the likes of the Iranian and Syrian governments, the Church of Scientology and MasterCard and Visa in its sights, Anonymous has gained the support of a worldwide audience. Most recently, Anonymous put out a call to protesters to take to the streets of San Francisco in response to the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s move to cut off cell phone reception in an attempt to quell a protest. And of course, those who answered the call, did so wearing the Guy Fawkes mask.
In a discovery that is wrought with irony, it turns out that Time Warner actually owns the rights to that image. So for every Anonymous supporter who has bought a Guy Fawkes mask, a little bit of that money has gone straight into Time Warner’s pockets – and it’s obvious the total amount won’t be chump change.
As far as mask sales go, Guy Fawkes is at the top of the Amazon sales list, ahead of cult favourites Harry Potter and Darth Vader. A New York costume company told the New York Times that sales of the Guy Fawkes mask exceed 100,000 per year, while other masks barely sell half that figure.