What BP Should Have Said

By now, we’ve heard just about everything there is to hear about the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. We’ve listened to corporate representatives, regulatory agencies, and Washington pass the buck. We’ve been bombarded with information, some true (it’s the most expensive oil spill in history) and some not (it is not the largest spill ever). We’ve seen the heartbreaking photos. However, out of all of this, what surprises me most isn’t the disaster itself, it’s BP’s amazingly poor public response.

From its plans to distribute dividends and its CEO's bizarre comments to its stilted attempts at apologies, BP's responses have disappointed many. Even now, its website boasts that its acts towards rehabilitating the region are "over and above BP's obligations under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990." Defensive much? Here's a tip: In times of crisis—and in the face of an environmental catastrophe—the last thing people want to hear is "we're already doing more than we have to." It's simply stunning to me that the company that once pulled off one of the best rebrandings in recent memory is now tripping over itself so hopelessly. So, I’m going to help. Here’s the press release they should have written:

BP Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
June 14, 2010

We screwed up. Tremendously. It was our rig, it was our operation, and now, in the face of this disaster, it is our fault and our responsibility to fix it. And while we cannot undo the damage that has already been done, we can devote ourselves to how we manage the crisis, and how we plan on restoring the Gulf Coast.

We would like to take a moment to respond to recent events, to attempt to clear up some misnomers, and to inform you about the efforts we’ll be undertaking moving forward.

First, much has been made of CEO Tony Hayward’s recent remarks. His comments were insensitive, misguided, and for them we apologize. We cannot say strongly enough that these statements do not in any way reflect the opinions of BP. Yes, of course, we do “want our lives back.” But so do the good people of the Gulf and so, too, do the innumerable species of sea life who quite literally might be losing theirs.

The public response to the spill has been passionate, deafening, and deserved. In many of the affected regions, demonstrations against BP have occurred. There is a natural inclination to boycott BP stations. While we certainly understand this sentiment, we urge you to take a different course of action. The people these acts hurt most are the men and women who own and work at your BP stations. They deserve better. They played no part in this disaster and to make them suffer only further damages communities that are already feeling too much hardship as a result of the spill.

You may feel the need to do something, to put your anger to some good use. We suggest directing your energy towards writing or calling your congressperson and pushing for more adequate regulation for our industry. While we have failed you, so has our regulatory body, the Minerals Management Service (MMS).

The simple truth is this: In regards to drilling, there’s very little difference between oil companies. This could have just as easily happened to any of our competitors. We are all out there, racing to find new sources of oil. And in the absence of true regulation, it becomes far too easy for any of us to allow the spirit of discovery to usurp the prudent contemplation of “what if.”

It should be said that this is not an attempt to skirt accountability. Over the past weeks, you’ve no doubt witnessed the game of hot-potato between BP, the MMS, and countless politicians, each attempting to evade responsibility. That ends now. We cannot pass the blame any longer; we need to share it. It is all of our faults. We need stronger regulation, we need it now, and it will take all of our collective efforts to keep anything like this from happening again—with any oil company.

Unfortunately, accepting fault changes nothing. The disaster rages on. We are working tirelessly to both stop the leak and clean the spill. However, if we have learned anything, it is that despite the fact that BP has some of the world’s most highly trained engineers and technicians, we do not have all the answers. Therefore, we encourage anyone with innovative answers to the problems we now face to step forward. If you have something to say, we’re listening.

Finally, whatever it costs to clean the water, to replenish the sea life, to study the effects, and to revitalize the industry—we will pay it. If there is a solution worth trying, we will fund it. It is an answer that our shareholders might not like, but it is the right answer. We believe that the only way to truly do right by our investors is to restore the public trust. And the only way to do that is to spare no expense in restoring the Gulf Coast.


via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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