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  • 06.17.10

BP’s Hired Guns Block Journalists From Talking to Disaster Workers

BP manages to create more bad PR in a surprising new way.

For some reason, BP continues to invest its resources in keeping journalists away from oil spill disaster sites. The tactic is clearly failing–we all have access to horrific pictures of dead animals and oily beaches–but BP still insists on bullying reporters. Of course, BP doesn’t want to take the blame, which is why it has apparently hired mercenaries to shoo journalists away.

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Scott Walker, a reporter with New Orleans news station WDSU, was recently blocked from interviewing BP employees working on a beach by mercenaries from a company called Talon Security. This happened just two days after Doug Suttles, BP’s COO, released this statement: “Recent media reports have suggested that individuals involved in the cleanup operation have been prohibited from speaking to the media, and this is simply untrue.” One look at the video below (hat tip, Business Insider) proves that this most certainly is true.

When we spoke to Lieutenant Commander Chris O’Neill, the Chief of Media Relations for the
U.S. Coast Guard, regarding a recent incident where CBS reporters investigating an oily beach were threatened with arrest, we were told that, “The incident
isn’t reflective of policy for media access to the spill site or spill
mitigation efforts.” A note to BP: When you blatantly defy Coast Guard policies–and your own COO’s assurances–everyone will find out. (Thanks, YouTube!)

Read more about the Gulf Oil Spill

Got information on the spill you want to share? Email us at oil@fastcompany.com.
It’ll go directly to the lead reporter and editor on these stories, and
they’ll assume all initial communication to be strictly confidential.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.

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