On 20th April 2010, there was an explosion on BP’s oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Eleven workers were killed, and more than 3 million barrels of oil was estimated to have leaked into the ocean destroying entire ecosystems and ruining lives and livelihoods.
BP was given the largest corporate fine ever, and was found to have been grossly negligent.
A recent report by ocean conservationists Oceana reveals how the massive clean-up operation involved 100,000 people, many of whom have suffered health problems from the chemical dispersants used and the contact with crude oil. According to the report BP has still not compensated many Mexicans affected by the spill, even going as far as to deny that the oil reached their shores. Oceana say that lessons have not been learnt, avoidable oil spills and accidents occur on a daily basis, and it’s not if but when that another catastrophic spill will occur.
Campaign group BP or not BP? have been calling on cultural institutions to drop their BP sponsorship deals for years, leading to recent high profile successes as organisations like the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and National Galleries Scotland all having disassociated themselves from one of the world’s largest polluters.
But the British Museum, target of dozens of actions over the years, is still clinging on for now, despite ever larger protests.
To mark this awful date, we’ve made this short film as part of a social media action during the Corona virus lockdown, and in support of the Bridge The Gulf Project. It features the voice of Cherri Foytlin, one of the core leadership team, a mother of six who lives in one of the worst affected areas of South Louisiana.