Some of the profits from the Guy Fawkes masks frequently worn by members of the hacktivist collective “Anonymous” go to one of the largest media companies in the world.
The mask was first popularized by the 2006 film “V for Vendetta,” where it was worn by a vigilante fighting against a totalitarian government. Fawkes was a 17th century Englishman who tried to assassinate King James I of England by blowing up the House of Lords with gunpowder.
“Anonymous” members adopted the mask as an unofficial symbol of the movement during worldwide protests against the Church of Scientology in 2008.
The Guy Fawkes mask has been associated with “Anonymous” ever since and frequently worn by protesters.
The New York Times reported that Time Warner owns the rights to the Guy Fawkes mask because “V for Vendetta” was produced by Warner Brothers, one of its many subsidiary companies. Time Warner is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask.
Thanks to “Anonymous,” the mask has become one of the most popular masks in the U.S. and the top-selling mask on Amazon.com. Rubie’s Costumes, the New York company that produces the masks, sells more than 100,000 Guy Fawkes masks a year.
“It’s a symbol of what Anonymous stands for, of fighting evil governments,” said a Guy Fawkes-masked man protesting San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit’s decision to cut off cell service to stop a previous protest. “You can get a mask and join the fight, too! But I heard the costume store is sold out until Friday.”