Tony Hayward Will Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dammit


Even though Tony Hayward is off to Russia in October, taking with him $1.5 million for his troubles (plus a pension fund worth about £11 million), he still seems to have a powerful ability to grate on our nerves. To wit, his declaration today that the Gulf spill “represents a failure for the entire deepwater oil and gas drilling industry, not just for BP alone.”

According to CNN,

BP maintains that it alone does not deserve all the blame for the April 20 accident and its aftermath, and it intends to pursue legal action to have drilling partners share in the cost of containment and cleanup. Those partners include Transocean, which operated the rig; Cameron, which built the blowout preventer that failed to shut down the well; and Halliburton, which cemented the oil drill into place underwater.

“It is clear the accident was the result of multiple equipment errors and human error involving many companies,” Hayward said in the webcast.

You know what? He’s right. It’s not all BP’s fault, just like it’s not all Hayward’s fault. But this is a situation that needs a scapegoat. And what happens when the patently obvious foot-in-mouth-prone scapegoat tries to point the finger at other possible scapegoats? The people do not like that.

Like, why even try to say this right now?

“From the beginning of the crisis, I’ve sought to do the right thing, do it the right way and communicate openly,” said Hayward.

“I believe BP has shown what corporate responsibility really means and I believe that applies to individuals as well as companies,” he said.

Or, as quoted in the Guardian:

“It may not have been a great PR success. You can argue about whether it could ever have been a great PR success, operationally we capped the well and cleaned up a hell of a lot of the oil.”

Really, a hell of a lot of it, how awesome of you.

And why ever go on to whine that you’ve been “demonized” and “vilified” (even if you have) or that BP was a “model of corporate social responsibility”? Come on! It’s almost like you’re taking cues from BPGlobalPR now.

Hayward, some advice: Save it for the Russian oligarchs. Right now, we still want BP to be groveling, not divvying up blame among various parties or saying how their millionaire execs “did the right thing.” Too soon! When it comes time for blame divvying, we’ll let you know. Meanwhile, how about you focus on that cap and the relief well and cleaning up the oil that you didn’t get to yet — or even better, fade off into the background and let the man from Mississippi see if he can do a little better?

Closer to home, one New York nostalgist captures the sad reality that our previous oil spill disasters were kind of a walk in a petroleum-covered park compared to this one.

We’ll always have Exxon-Valdez.