Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

EXCLUSIVE: Sandra Bullock disowns BP-backed greenwashing campaign

Posted on  

"EXCLUSIVE: Sandra Bullock disowns BP-backed greenwashing campaign"

Share:

google plus icon

Academy Award-winning actress and New Orleans resident Sandra Bullock has severed her involvement in a campaign to call attention to the BP spill, after learning from ThinkProgress that it was a greenwashing effort by the oil industry.

Bullock is prominently featured in the Restore the Gulf campaign, run by Women of the Storm and sponsored by America’s Wetland Foundation.

In an online video with other major celebrities, Bullock called for American people to “speak up” and “sign the petition” for Congress and President Obama at the campaign website, which demands that “a plan to restore America’s Gulf be fully funded and implemented for me and future generations.” The YouTube video makes her the face of the campaign:

Unbeknownst to Bullock, America’s Wetland Foundation is a front group established by Shell Oil in 2002 and funded by the American Petroleum Institute, BP, and a host of other oil companies. Women of the Storm was established after Hurricane Katrina by Anne Milling, the wife of America’s Wetland chairman R. King Milling, who is part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R-LA) team to lift the offshore drilling moratorium. This greenwashing campaign, first uncovered by DeSmogBlog.com’s Brendan Demelle, subtly includes mentions of “safe domestic energy” and oil industry factoids, while implying that American taxpayers, not the unmentioned oil industry, should pay for restoring the region BP has poisoned.

Sandra Bullock’s publicist tells ThinkProgress the actress was never informed of the campaign’s big oil ties. In a statement issued to ThinkProgress, Bullock’s representatives indicated they would immediately ask “for her participation in the PSA be removed until the facts can be determined”:

Ms. Bullock was originally contacted through her attorney to be a part of the PSA in order to promote awareness of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. At no time was she made aware that any organization, oil company or otherwise had influence over Women of the Storm or its message. We have immediately asked for her participation in the PSA be removed until the facts can be determined. Her commitment to the Gulf region has been apparent for many years and she will continue to pursue opportunities that will bring awareness and support to the plight of the Gulf region.

With its deep pockets, BP’s focus should be on supplying necessary funds to restore the Gulf region, not secretly supporting greenwashing campaigns to redirect blame. The people of the Gulf of Mexico don’t need the toxic influence of the oil industry, and the American people don’t need its toxic pollution.

Unbeknownst to Bullock, America’s Wetland Foundation is a front group established by Shell Oil in 2002 and funded by the American Petroleum Institute, BP, and a host of other oil companies. Women of the Storm was established after Hurricane Katrina by Anne Milling, the wife of America’s Wetland chairman R. King Milling, who is part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R-LA) team to lift the offshore drilling moratorium. This greenwashing campaign, first uncovered by DeSmogBlog.com’s Brendan Demelle, subtly includes mentions of “safe domestic energy” and oil industry factoids, while implying that American taxpayers, not the unmentioned oil industry, should pay for restoring the region BP has poisoned.

Sandra Bullock’s publicist tells ThinkProgress the actress was never informed of the campaign’s big oil ties. In a statement issued to ThinkProgress, Bullock’s representatives indicated they would immediately ask “for her participation in the PSA be removed until the facts can be determined”:

Ms. Bullock was originally contacted through her attorney to be a part of the PSA in order to promote awareness of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. At no time was she made aware that any organization, oil company or otherwise had influence over Women of the Storm or its message. We have immediately asked for her participation in the PSA be removed until the facts can be determined. Her commitment to the Gulf region has been apparent for many years and she will continue to pursue opportunities that will bring awareness and support to the plight of the Gulf region.

With its deep pockets, BP’s focus should be on supplying necessary funds to restore the Gulf region, not secretly supporting greenwashing campaigns to redirect blame. The people of the Gulf of Mexico don’t need the toxic influence of the oil industry, and the American people don’t need its toxic pollution.

– This is a ThinkProgres cross-post.

Tags:

« »

10 Responses to EXCLUSIVE: Sandra Bullock disowns BP-backed greenwashing campaign

  1. Peter Smith says:

    A little more authoritative in science than the Sex Poodle PhD.

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    Dissolving The Fabric of Trust

    I don’t know the details of this particular campaign or incident, but there are far too many things out there, in the culture today, that are not at all what they seem or pretend to be.

    And that is a MAJOR problem.

    Too often, we (the public) simply sigh, tell ourselves “that’s just the way things are”, and let the instigators of confusion go on instigating more confusion. And so they do. More campaigns, another front group, another misleading name for a front group, and on and on it goes.

    We can’t afford that any more, and society and future generations and other species and the Earth can’t afford to let that sort of thing stand and continue, unaddressed.

    In the future, if a company or individual is found to have knowingly started or funded such a misleading campaign or front group, the public is just going to have to muster enough “courage and disgust” to call out the problem, loudly, and to boycott that company, sell its stock, and so forth. The bottom line is that a modern democracy cannot be a successful and sustainable and sane and humane democracy, able to face and address its challenges, and able to set the stage for the public to actually achieve their own good, if the environment of information is so polluted, misleading, manipulative, un-transparent, and so forth. Thomas Jefferson said so himself:

    “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

    If this incident is true, I would hope that Sandra (and I’m a big fan of hers) would not just drop out of the campaign. I think she should also make a big stink about this — go on the “war path”, so to speak — pointing out this problem and making an example of this to shed light on the broader problem that this exemplifies. Somebody — many people — should take up this cause and point out the debilitating impact these sorts of things have on our ability to face and address problems, on our democracy, and on our minds themselves. Our culture has become far too Orwellian, and we are all suffering because of it. Enough.

    Good for you, Sandra.

    Jeff

  3. Bob Doublin says:

    . “Our culture has become far too Orwellian,”

    Orwell meant his classic novel 1984 as a CAUTIONARY TALE not as a blueprint to be improved upon.
    I agree with #2.It’s long past time to call a liar a liar and treat them as such as they deserve: among other things shunned by all “decent society” (however you might like to define that). People are way too polite.This is the livibility of the one and only planet we have and the lives and well being of the grandchildren we SUPPOSEDLY love. What does a loving mother grizzly do? We have a larger repertory of responses to choose from, but….

  4. Rick Covert says:

    So is this an example of a 527 then?

  5. mike roddy says:

    Bullock deserves to take a bow for admitting her error and moving on.

    The oil companies have poisoned our government and our public discourse. Time to hold them accountable.

  6. Steve Bloom says:

    Good post, but it needs some editing. The quote from Bullock’s reps appears twice, the first time not block-quoted so that it’s not clear where it ends.

  7. Anna Haynes says:

    Ditto to Bloom – edit the post please.
    (ditto also to Roddy)

    a keeper – Ebert’s BP’s tree fell on my lawn

  8. catman306 says:

    Much of modern day spinning can be called lying by omission, leaving out some facts that the victim could have used to make a better decision. But when I went to Wiki for a citing I’ve discovered that there are 21 categories of lies. Someone has almost made a science out of parsing lies. And businessmen and politicians have made fortunes out of passing lies.

    Learn more about lies today!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie

  9. Chris Winter says:

    “There was no word on whether any of the other celebrities that participated in the “Be the One” video are having second thoughts about the effort. Other participants include Saints quarterback Drew Brees, musician Lenny Kravitz, actor John Goodman, musician Dave Matthews, actor Wendell Pierce, political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin, restaurateurs Emeril Lagasse and Leah Chase, and NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning.

    Other participants included actors Alfred Woodward, and Bryan Batt, satirist Harry Shearer, and musicians Eric Harvey, and Dr. John.”

    http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/sandra_bullock_is_out_of_resto.html

  10. Chris Winter says:

    I’m wondering if anyone else caught the error in the second paragraph I quoted. It is easy to miss. I only caught it because I am a fan of the actress in question. (“Actress” — old word, but I’m sticking with it.) Her name is Alfre Woodard.

    There may well be an actor named Alfred Woodward, but the IMDB doesn’t find that name.

    I’ve messaged Bruce Alpert, the Times-Picayune reporter on the story, telling him about this mistake (which I suspect was in his source material) and exhorting him to follow up on the story because it’s part of a big and very important picture.