Campaign group BP or not BP? (who describe themselves as actor-vists) staged a bold intervention, spilling oil over their ‘living statues’ after refusing to leave the museum when it closed. They chose the evening of the BP-hosted VIP launch of the exhibition for this first stunt, and it disrupted the evening with guests hastily rerouted to a back entrance.
Then at the weekend several actor-vists took to the stage in the BP Lecture Theatre minutes before a Curator’s introduction about the exhibition. But they weren’t the only group protesting that day because as visitors arrived at the museum, they had to pass a small Extinction Rebellion ‘affinity group’ who had travelled for hours from Glastonbury for their own protest over oily sponsorship.
They held a large vinyl banner telling ‘creepy BP’ to get their “oily hands off our culture”. We spoke with Laura, who told us that while claiming to be moving towards greener options, BP actually spend £40 million per year lobbying against the renewables industry.
BP’s own claim to be going green is rather undermined by the fact they still invest 97% of their business in dirty fuel, and are actively drilling and exploring for new sources that the human race (according to climate scientists) cannot safely burn.
Laura’s message was that “if the British Museum have any integrity they should drop BP as a sponsor”.
Public reaction was generally good and the group soon ran out of leaflets but continued chatting with people of all ages as they queued to enter the museum.
There is a huge protest event planned at the British Museum on 8th February.