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Gulf oil spill: BP airs apologetic TV spots

Tonyhayward cole
As protest groups planned anti-BP demonstrations in 50 cities and BP's stock price tanked, the beleaguered oil giant launched an advertising campaign to apologize for its massive contamination of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "The gulf spill is a tragedy that never should have happened," BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward says in TV commercials that began airing on national television Thursday.

"BP has taken full responsibility for cleaning up the spill in the gulf," he says. "We've helped organize the largest environmental response in this country's history. More than 2 million feet of boom, 30 planes and over 1,300 boats are working to protect the shoreline. Where oil reaches the shore, thousands of people are ready to clean it up. We will honor all legitimate claims. And our cleanup efforts will not come at any cost to taxpayers. 

"To those affected and your families, I am deeply sorry. The gulf is home for thousands of BP's employees, and we all feel the impact. To all the volunteers and for the strong support of the government, thank you. We know it is our responsibility to keep you informed. And do everything we can so this never happens again. We will get this done. We will make this right."

BP also took out full-page ads of apology in several daily newspapers. The company is still struggling to stanch the catastrophic flow of oil resulting from the April 20 blowout of its deep-water well.

Hayward's earnest appeal in the TV ads contrasted with the flippant tone of a remark he made to reporters Sunday, saying he "would like his life back" from the spill. Fishermen and other Gulf Coast residents expressed anger at his complaint, so he issued an apology on BP's Facebook page Wednesday.

"I made a hurtful and thoughtless comment on Sunday when I said that 'I wanted my life back,'" Hayward wrote. "When I read that recently, I was appalled. I apologize, especially to the families of the 11 men who lost their lives in this tragic accident. Those words don't represent how I feel about this tragedy, and certainly don't represent the hearts of the people of BP -- many of whom live and work in the gulf -- who are doing everything they can to make things right. My first priority is doing all we can to restore the lives of the people of the gulf region and their families -- to restore their lives, not mine."

Speculation, especially in the British press, is rampant as to whether Hayward will be forced to resign in the wake of the London-based company's inability to stop the leak and revelations about technical problems leading up to the blowout.

BP’s shares have fallen more than 35% since the April 20 accident, which killed 11 workers. On Thursday, BP was trading at about $39 a share, down from nearly $61 on April 20.

A protest and mock arrest of Hayward has been scheduled for Friday outside the company’s Washington office. The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen is staging the event along with several other groups.

The 50-city protest, organized by a group called Seize BP, is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday.

--Margot Roosevelt

Photo: Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, tours his oil company's cleanup operations in Port Fourchon, La. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (13)

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Yea, so it has bought these TV ads and also the Google search results for oil spill and now wants to set things straight. Frankly, BP screwed up big time and this is too little too late and is not going to fool anybody. BP has been dishonest about the spill from the very beginning and so people are not really sympathetic with it. Everyone sees it as BP's fault without an argument, and perhaps rightly so

BP actually has the nerve to lie and say they have plenty of people ready to clean up if and when the oil reaches the shore in these ads. Who are they kidding? The oil IS reaching the shore and live news reports are showing that there are NO people there to clean up in a lot of places. The oil is now a black tide. Birds are swamped in the black gooey mess. Of course these ads paint a more rosy picture. Ridiculous. People are not that stupid.Tony Hayward is a narcissistic liar who could not care less about the people or wildlife of the Gulf Coast or the rest of the world. He and BP are a disgrace who have proven to only be interested in MORE MONEY NOW.

This anti-british stuff is a little short sighted...
The operations in the Gulf are run by BP America.
It's a US operation in US waters.
No doubt the staff on board the rig were from all corners of the globe.. and thus it's a global problem.
Industrial accidents are by no means a new thing but playing the blame game isn't going to help the clean up process one bit.
Some bad decisions were made and, as the investigation continues no doubt there will be design questions relating to the methods and equipment being used during the drilling process.. the expectation will always have been that these were tried and tested methods and processes that have always worked. but weather it was an accident or negligence is yet to be seen.
and people seem to be forgetting there are a number of companies involved in this.. not just BP.
there's been drilling going on in the Gulf for decades
and you ALL rely on what comes out.

why not weigh up some alternatives.
stop production, import oil, higher prices and a devastating rise in unemployment that will all but cripple the US and Global economies.

i think it's time everyone stopped all this fear mongering, blaming and arguing
and started to pitch in and help clean up the mess.. which is ultimately - as consumers of products made from the Oil and Gas production - our collective responsibility.
There are tens of thousands of people working and volunteering - working around the clock - to get this sorted.
Maybe you should speak to some of those people before you condemn the situation.

I have been watching this huge oil spill on television. I think its high time that we all hold these big oil companies accountable for all the pain they have caused everyone.

Bp in my opinion is a big joke.

There's been some media coverage of the booms being made of human hair, which is highly absorbent of oil, but not enough effort to rally people and hair salons to cut and collect it. BP's upper level staff (those that have hair) should make a symbolic statement by shaving their heads to make booms. If they must waste their time and money with an ad, make one of THAT.

He'd like to get his life back. So would the eleven men killed by his company's negligence.

BP and its lackeys in the US government--and very likely, some state governments as well--have done more harm than many people now in prison for life.

I'm from Alabama an we are now beginning to see the effects
of the blowout. It seems funny that his arrogance has turned
to care as his stock price tumbles, and criminal charges are
in the works. The next thing you know he will set down for
a meal with the little people. Arrogance is beginning to
give way to compassion in the era of Goldman Sachs and BP.
Hope he knows there are no golf courses at Leavenworth.

Whoever in their company and in our government facilitated this should face criminal charges. And serious prison time, if convicted.

Other than as an act of war, I can't think of comparable damage that has been inflicted on this country. Aside from the immediate loss of life, the loss of environment, health, and livelihood will probably last for a generation or more. The punishments should be commensurate with the offense.

Companies have taken for granted for years that American citizens have been reduced to helpless peonage. If BP and Minerals Management escape from this horror unscathed, I guess it's true. If such a thing happens, I'd strongly suggest that young people consider emigration, because there's nothing left for them here.

It doesn't help at all when your CEO happens to look like a pesky leprechaun.

more heads should roll!

You can't trust the British. We kicked 'em out once before and we ought to do it again.

Think you have a good idea on how to fix this mess? Post it here!

Maybe they should've spent the time and money they put into that ad campaign on pursuing cleanup and prevention strategies for the affected areas. We know you feel terrible Hayward, shut up and deal with the problem.


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