On April 20th 2010, one of British Petroleum’s oil rigs burst open on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The constant flow of oil rushed into the gulf for 87 days until it was finally capped. This incident became the largest oil spill in the industry, and took a huge toll on the gulf’s environment. Oil is toxic to almost all organisms, and the spill killed a countless number of fish and birds who call the gulf home. This tragic event put a huge dent into the fishing industry in the gulf shore states and put many people into unemployment.
BP’s response was an ad campaign claiming that they were sorry and have been working hard to clean up the Gulf. They made themselves seem as if they care deeply about the environment and that they were a green company. All of the advertisement showed BP employees cleaning off birds that were black with oil, and they talked extensively on how the gulf is getting better and almost back to the condition that it once was before their irresponsible spill. They never once showed what the damage really looked like they only shed light onto adorable pelicans being cleaned off with Dawn Dish Soap. BP did not dwell on the fact that it could have been prevented nor that it was a huge flaw on their part, they only showed what they were doing to fix the gulf and restore to a broken state of what it once was.
A popular TV show shed light on this thought, South Park created a satirical episode criticizing BP’s actions and their response to the spill. They hyperbolized the fact that all BP had to say was “we’re sorry” while depicting their CEO Tony Hayward in numerous locations surrounded by a beautiful scenery, created by nature in which they were currently destroying.