BP’s biggest Olympic advert splattered with oil as protests intensify

5th July – For Immediate Release

With the Olympics now only three weeks away, protests against Olympic sponsor BP are escalating. Today dozens of BP logos across London were sabotaged, including the UK’s most prestigious billboard site at Cromwell Road. [1] Around the capital, protesters hit petrol stations, BP-sponsored cultural institutions[2] and advertising hoardings, protesting against one of the world’s most environmentally destructive companies being a major sponsor of the London Olympics. Signs were splattered with oil and BP’s tagline ‘Fuelling the Future’ was subvertised with the URL ‘f-ingthefuture.org.uk’.

BP has continuously been slammed for its systematic disregard for the environment, human rights and worker safety, including its failure to clean up after the Gulf of Mexico disaster of 2010[3], its decision to enter the devastating Canadian tar sands[4], and its plans to drill for Arctic oil[5]. This criticism has increased dramatically since BP was announced ‘Sustainability Partner’ of the London 2012 games, and today’s protests follow a series of recent actions targeting BP’s Olympic sponsorship:
* On the eve of BP’s AGM in April, protest group CAMSOL posed online as LOCOG and announced BP had been dropped as Sustainability Partner. [6]
* In April, the UK Tar Sands Network nominated BP in the Greenwash Gold campaign as ‘worst Olympic sponsor’. [7]
* Since April, the Reclaim Shakespeare Company has been invading Shakespearean performances across the country to protest against BP’s sponsorship of the Cultural Olympiad. [8]
* Last week, acclaimed actor Mark Rylance spoke out against BP’s sponsorship of the Games, revealing he had questioned his own involvement in the Opening Ceremony. [9]

One of those taking part in the action, Brendan Pierce, said, “BP is paying tens of millions of pounds to clean up its tarnished image, in what could well be the most expensive use of propaganda in history.[10] But with even its own business projections preparing for a six degree temperature rise, BP knows it is damning us to a future of runaway climate change.”

Another activist, Deborah Dudley, said “Reports suggest that BP’s sponsorship of the Olympics has been highly effective at laundering its filthy image, so we’re revealing the dirt behind the glossy branding. I’m proud to be taking direct action as part of a worldwide movement for climate justice. I encourage others to get involved.”

A website, f-ingthefuture.org.uk, shows pictures of the action and outlines the problems with BP’s sponsorship of the Olympics.

For more information, interviews and high-resolution photos, email f.ingthefuture@gmail.com or phone Brendan Pierce on 07741 103 248

[1] Cromwell Rd is renowned for being a huge and expensive advertising site, see http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/sectors/sport/bp-changes-gear-of-olympic-activity/4002418.article
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[3] Cultural institutions, especially the Tate, have long been targeted by activists concerned at oil companies using arts sponsorship to cover up their environmental and human rights atrocities. See e.g. https://liberatetate.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/spectacular-performance-against-oil-sponsorship-of-arts-promised-7-july-in-central-london/
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[5] Deepwater operations were announced to be restarted in April 2011. See http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/04/04/uk-bp-idUKTRE7330SZ20110404 The company is still involved in a civil court case over the Deepwater Horizon disaster
[7] NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen has shown that a safe level of CO2 can only be reached if coal is phased out and unconventional fossil fuels, like tar sands, are not explored. See http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/05/236978/james-hansen-keystone-pipeline-tar-sands-climate/
[8] See http://www.metro.co.uk/news/852752-bps-arctic-oil-exploration-deal-angers-greenpeace
[9] CAMSOL = Campaign for a Sustainable Olympics, See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9198561/London-2012-Olympics-Anti-BP-activists-carry-out-sponsor-sacking-hoax-as-protests-grow.html
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[12] See http://greenwashgold.org
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[14] See http://bp-or-not-bp.org
[15] See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9344123/London-2012-Olympics-actor-Mark-Rylance-nearly-pulled-out-of-opening-ceremony-in-protest-at-sponsors.html
[16] Research shows that BP’s sponsorship of the Olympics has indeed improved its public image. See http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/news/1117665/BPs-brand-image-benefits-London-2012-sponsorship-claims-research/