By: Cailley Chella

You may have seen them in the news or at your local protest. They call themselves the Useful Idiots, but the plan beneath their colorful costumes is anything but idiotic.

Laurel Trotter is one of the co-founders of the group. She says it’s all about getting the right message out, “Because we do have a group that is from TV production, they know that when somebody shows up to something they’re gonna find the most interesting or weird person there to talk to. Look like a clown, get the media’s attention and then have an important message to share.”

Their plan is working. They’ve been interviewed and published in too many outlets to count. But there’s much more too it than meets the eye. Trotter says she spends hours preparing before each event. The planning involves contacting the organizers of the event to find out the message of the rally, finding a theme to match the rally, work on costuming and making signs. “For each one, those of us that are organizing them spend anywhere from 15 to 20 hours.”

Not only are they creative but they’re tough as nails. Neither complicated costumes nor abnormally warm weather can stop this crew.

Though they live on the Westside, you can find them all over LA, sometimes with a huge coffin, and other times with delicate butterfly wings. Why they do it? Trotter says, “Our motivation is to just continue resisting.”

On their Facebook page they say:
“Some on the right think we’re the manipulated tools of some evil liberal machine…But the truth is much scarier. We’re individuals who believe in equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from oppression. Not only do we believe in it, we’re willing to stand up for it using creativity, humor, and some really ridiculous costumes.”

Not everyone will agree with their message, but they say that’s ok. They’re happy just being useful idiots.