BP's Global PR vs. BPGlobalPR

Click the image above to view the world's worst man-made environmental disasters

Correction appended June 6, 2010

The first disaster was the oil spill. The second was BP’s public relations. Since the Deepwater Horizon rig sank more than a month ago, the company’s response has ranged from awkward to awful, causing offense all over again with inappropriate statements and tone-deaf tweets. In the past few weeks, a prankster/activist has joined the fun by establishing a fake BP Twitter account, with posts that can be dry enough to be confused for the real thing. Its popularity is soaring, with exponentially more followers (116,000 and counting) than the real thing (about 10,000). And sadly, their parody tweets are sometimes indistinguishable from the real things.

Can you tell the difference? Take a look at the list below and see if you can pick out which attempts at damage control are from BP—and which are fake.

1. “We regretfully admit that something has happened off the Gulf Coast. More to come.”

2. “What the hell did we do to deserve this?”

3. “Are people mad at us for drilling in the ocean? Maybe God shouldn’t have put oil there in the first place.”

4. “We will fix it. I guarantee it. The only question is we do not know when.”

5. “The environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.”

6. “Here’s the thing: we made $45 million A DAY in profits in 2009. This really isn’t a big deal.”

7. “Catastrophe is a strong word, let’s all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy.”

8. “There’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do. I’d like my life back.”

9. “We’re all disappointed that the “top kill” operation didn’t work. We failed to wrestle this beast to the ground.”

10. “All ideas for alternative solutions welcome on (281) 366-5511.”

11. “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”

12. “At night the gulf really doesn’t look that bad.”

13. “You don’t go drilling 5,000 feet underwater with the tools you want, you do it with the tools you have.”

14. “We will only win this if we can win the hearts and minds of the local community. It’s a big challenge.”

15. “People are upset, so we are working nonstop to make as many ‘BP cares’ shirts as we can.”

16. “Food poisoning is a really big issue when you got a concentration of this number of people in temporary camps, temporary accommodation. It’s something we have to be very, very mindful of.”

17. “So, I actually haven’t been watching the [live feed] video.”

18. “I actually don’t know, this moment, what we’re actually doing.”

19. “We are dedicated to helping the wildlife in the gulf. Any birds that need cleaning must report to 287 Quartemain St., Baton Rouge, LA 70801.”

20. “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.”

The answers are below, just after this video of the aquatic life in the gulf currently threatened by the spill.


2. April 29, BP CEO Tony Hayward to fellow executives, reported in The New York Times.

4. May 14, Tony Hayward, interview with The Guardian.

5. May 18, Tony Hayward on Sky News.

8. May 30, Tony Hayward, NBC Today Show.

9. May 30, Bob Dudley, BP managing director, Fox News Sunday.

10. May 13, BP America Twitter feed.

11. May 14, Tony Hayward, interview with The Guardian.

14. May 13, Tony Hayward, Financial Times, subscription only.

16. May 31, Tony Hayward on the numerous people who have become ill while working on the spill.

17. May 28, Doug Suttles, BP chief operating officer, CNN The Situation Room.

18. May 28, Doug Suttles, CNN The Situation Room.

20. May 20, BP representative Randy Prescott.


1. May 19

3. May 24

6. May 30

7. May 23

12. May 30

13. June 3

15. May 22. The fake twitter account is selling real “BP cares” shirts, and this week they reportedly donated more than $10,000 in sales to the Gulf Restoration Network.

19. May 27

Correction (posted June 9, 2010): The statement, “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp," was originally attributed to the wrong BP official. Randy Prescott made the statement, according to a report in The Lens.

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