BP’s Tactics Raise Questions about the Company’s True Colors
The current deadline to file a claim under the Deepwater Horizon Settlement Program remains to date as April 22nd, 2014. With just weeks left to file a potential claim for economic losses that have occurred as a result of the 2010 BP oil spill, BP is still pushing back against the very Settlement Program it created as a part of its apparent efforts to mitigate its economic obligations to Gulf businesses.
In a recent op-ed published by the L.A. Times, author Michael Hiltzik reviews why BP’s tactics don’t track with what the company says its true concerns are, and points out that the company should have more remorse over the disaster and perhaps less buyer’s remorse over the very settlement it helped to create.
BP’s PR campaign is both aggressive and enduring. With regard to the millions spent on ads in the most prominent papers across the entire country (areas not even included in the Settlement Program), Hiltzik writes, “ …BP’s attack on the settlement process, especially its advertising campaign, is perplexing. It’s unclear who the audience for the ad campaign is intended to be.” Hiltzik makes a solid point when he notes that no one except the Federal Judges involved can make any changes, and, thus, he fairly questions why BP continues to try to sway public opinion through its paid media campaigns. It certainly is arguable that BP’s true mission is to use its ads to try to taint the perception of the Program and to dissuade potential claimants from filing for their economic losses in the process. By playing the victim instead of the villain, BP is acting not for the benefit of the Gulf businesses harmed by its gross negligence, but for its own self-serving interests.
The motivation behind the company’s monumental effort comes down to money, and many have called on BP as having buyer’s remorse. “They figured out that they underestimated what the settlement is going to cost,” speculates Stephen J. Herman, a lead plaintiff’s attorney. “Now it’s costing them too much money, and they’re trying to find ways to not pay it.”