Protests: Greenpeace Posts a Route

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Outside magazine, October 1994

Protests: Greenpeace Posts a Route
By John Galvin

“Hey, it’s the dude that was on TV!” Thus was John Mallett greeted by fellow jailbirds at New York City’s central lockup on July 11, after getting busted for climbing halfway up Time’s 48-story Rockefeller Center HQ to protest the magazine’s use of chlorine-bleached paper.

Mallet, 30, and two other Greenpeace activists, Kathy O’Keefe, 25, and Nadine Bloch, 33, assembled before dawn to begin their Spiderman routine. Fairly experienced climbers all, they ascended by clamping into window-washing rails with special hardware. By 9:30 A.M., they’d placed the requisite banner–a huge mockTime cover that groused about
chlorine–and spent half an hour listening to muted bleatings from NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit. (“Are you scared? Are you coming in?”) Then they gave up and were hauled to the clink.

The three were later sentenced to two days of community service. As for his jailhouse fame, Mallett says it ended badly: An inmate who clearly didn’t think climbing 25 stories was so tough bullied him into handing over his watch. “It was,” he says, “the most scared I’ve ever been in my life.”

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