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BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

tacomancer

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The Associated Press: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

VENICE, La. — The "small people" of the Gulf Coast have a humongous message for oil giant BP: They're tired of the company's big-time executives making insensitive comments.
On Wednesday, BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told reporters in Washington: "I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don't care, but that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people."
Orange Beach, Ala., Mayor Tony Kennon laughed when he heard Svanberg's remark.
"They can call me small, miniature, they can call me anything they want. Just write the check and send it to us," he said.
But Justin Taffinder of New Orleans was not amused.
"We're not small people. We're human beings. They're no greater than us. We don't bow down to them. We don't pray to them," Taffinder said.
Svanberg is Swedish, and his comments — in English — may have been an unintentional slight. He uttered the remark to reporters following a joint press conference with President Barack Obama — who had spoke of the small business owners, the fishermen and the shrimpers affected by the spill.
But coastal residents already were angry over the oil spill disaster and at BP CEO Tony Hayward's earlier comments that he "wants his life back."
Asked about the chairman's remark, BP spokesman Toby Odone told The Associated Press in an e-mail that "it is clear that what he means is that he cares about local businesses and local people. This was a slip in translation."
Lyn Ridge, 47, ferried reporters to see oil clean up operations Wednesday in a bay at Plaquemines Parish. He just shook his head when told about the "small people" comment.
Ridge describes himself as "commercial contractor that can't find work and driving boat trying to make a living." To make matters worse, Ridge figures his house on the water in Myrtle Grove has lost half it's value due to the oil spill.
"They can say he didn't mean it that way, but that's how they think of us," Ridge said. "They can't keep their foot out of their mouth," he added referring to another BP executive's desire to have his life back.
In Alabama, Terry Hanners, who owns a small construction company in Gulf Shores, said the chairman's remark revealed something about BP's frame of mind.
"These BP people I've met are good folks. I've got a good rapport with them," said Hanners, 74. "But BP does not care about us. They are so far above us. We are the nickel-and-dime folks of this world."
Kennon said he is relieved that BP agreed to put $20 billion in an escrow fund, and joked, "They better be lucky I called off the invasion of 10,000 rednecks with their rifles headed toward England anyway."
(emphasis added by Mega)


So what do you think? Was it a slip in translation (since this guy is obviously not a native english speaker) or was it condescension?


Personally, I think it was a little bit of both.
 
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WhyteRash

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seems some are thinned skinned.. mustve been sheltered as kids..
*sniffle* my wishes hand isnt filling up as fast as the other hand *sniffle*


just pay the bills "big shot"..
 

tacomancer

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seems some are thinned skinned.. mustve been sheltered as kids..
*sniffle* my wishes hand isnt filling up as fast as the other hand *sniffle*


just pay the bills "big shot"..
I don't know if you are assuming context where I am not picking it up or what, but I have no idea how to make sense of your comment.
 

spud_meister

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well, the bloke does look pretty tall (he's the one on the left), so maybe he just assumes he's taller than all the people on the coast

 

tacomancer

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well, the bloke does look pretty tall (he's the one on the left), so maybe he just assumes he's taller than all the people on the coast

A side note. I don't know if it is the photo, but those suits look awfully cheap. You would think that the heads of BP could afford better.
 

Arch Enemy

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He's a foreigner. He's allowed one miscommunication per television interview.

For our homegrown Presidents we allow them five or the Bush established maximum of six.
 

Aunt Spiker

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I give him a slide on this - he doesn't speak English.

How many times have I made an ass out of myself when speaking German or Spanish? Quite a few! LOL More than a few - heck - why don't I still have my head buried in the sand?
 

Tucker Case

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They got lucky. He could have just said "**** those whiny little bitches" and then said that it was a communication error since English isn't his first language. :lol:
 

WhyteRash

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I don't know if you are assuming context where I am not picking it up or what, but I have no idea how to make sense of your comment.
i was a bit cryptic.. sorry i was in too big a hurry.
i mean to say that those who were offended from being referred to as "small people" mustve had it hard growing up.

im sure most people refer to the boss or someone in a company's leadership as "the big guy", "big shot", etc. at some point in their life.
to think opposing terms are not used by CEO's or by general persons in leadership position is a bit narrow.
 

RightinNYC

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Even if it's an accurate translation, I don't think it's really a big deal. I think this is the thought going through his head:

Critic: "You don't care about the little people, just the fat cats!"
Him: "We do care about the little people"

Seems pretty reasonable to me.
 

RightinNYC

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A side note. I don't know if it is the photo, but those suits look awfully cheap. You would think that the heads of BP could afford better.
Despite both having joined BP from university after doing scientific degrees and both taking the top job after heading BP's core exploration and production unit, Hayward and Browne would seem to have little else in common.

Browne was an opera and art lover, while Hayward, whose thick brown hair helps give him an appearance younger than his 52 years, prefers soccer and rugby.

Browne wore tailored suits, handmade shoes and ties with a perfect dimple below the knot; Hayward's suits are off the peg, he often dispenses with a tie and when he wears one it doesn't look like he spent much time agonising over the knot.

Hayward wears a big watch and cufflinks with sporting motifs that Browne, one senses, might have found gauche.
BP chief an ops man who needs to show PR skills | Reuters

:mrgreen:
 

PeteEU

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The Associated Press: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf
(emphasis added by Mega)
So what do you think? Was it a slip in translation (since this guy is obviously not a native english speaker) or was it condescension?
Personally, I think it was a little bit of both.
Man people need to get a life and a thicker skin. Here BP makes it clear they want to help the small people who are getting hurt first, and not the big corporations and politically back companies. What is so wrong with that?
 

apdst

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I haven't seen any outrage. He was talking about the, "little man". You know, the one that the Dems are taking care of by killing what's left of our economy. Yeah, him.

All things considered, BP has done a helluva lot better job taking care of the, "small people", than the government has.
 

StandUpChuck

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A side note. I don't know if it is the photo, but those suits look awfully cheap. You would think that the heads of BP could afford better.
I was thinking the same thing. :ninja: Minerva McGonagall looks good, though.
 

rivrrat

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Bad translation, I'm guessing. And even if not, not something I'm going to get overly concerned about.

As long as they keep forking out the necessary funds to clean up the mess their rig made, I really don't give a **** WHAT they say.
 

Catz Part Deux

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I haven't seen any outrage. He was talking about the, "little man". You know, the one that the Dems are taking care of by killing what's left of our economy. Yeah, him.

All things considered, BP has done a helluva lot better job taking care of the, "small people", than the government has.
You haven't seen any outrage? Must not have been looking. But then, you work in the oil industry, don't you?

Okaloosa defies Unified Command over East Pass plans | pass, command, plans - News - Northwest Florida Daily News

http://www.waltonsun.com/news/oil-4925-dwellers-answers.html
http://www.waltonsun.com/news/beach-4928-plan-sandestin.html

It's not just BP's words at this point. They are attempting to dictate how the cleanup will occur, and the feds are backing them in doing so. BP hasn't done a particularly good job to this point in time, so forgive me if folks in my neck of the woods don't trust them to handle things anymore.
 
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American

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How silly, people don't get upset when someone says Democrats look out for the little guy. But if a Brit from BP says we care about the small people, they are insulted.
 

apdst

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Yes, I do work in the oilfield and I was referring to outrage about the, "small people" comment, which is what the thread is about; not about outrage over the spill itself.

It's not just BP's words at this point. They are attempting to dictate how the cleanup will occur, and the feds are backing them in doing so. BP hasn't done a particularly good job to this point in time, so forgive me if folks in my neck of the woods don't trust them to handle things anymore.

I'm with you 98% on that. My peoples are pissed, too. They all see how the government has screwed the pooch on containment of the spill. BP is definitely at fault for the blowout, but the cluster **** response by the government is very apparent to most folks that I know.
 

Catz Part Deux

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It's easy to see it this way from a distance. However, if you were actually here, and you saw the arrogant, high-handed way that BP and the feds have treated this situation (in Florida, at least) then you might understand that "the small people" understand that BP is a big metanational corporation that has no legal right to be dictating ANY goddamn thing down here, and yet, they are attempting to control it all to their own advantage, while massively FUBARing our beaches, wildlife, fishing industries, and tourism.

I'm seriously starting to hate those ****ers. Don't buy the hype. They very much believe that we're "the small people" and that their interests are more important than anyone else's.

This is exactly what we get in a country where corporate interests trump those of citizens.
 

Catz Part Deux

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Yes, I do work in the oilfield and I was referring to outrage about the, "small people" comment, which is what the thread is about; not about outrage over the spill itself.
See my comment below yours.


I'm with you 98% on that. My peoples are pissed, too. They all see how the government has screwed the pooch on containment of the spill. BP is definitely at fault for the blowout, but the cluster **** response by the government is very apparent to most folks that I know.
The feds have allowed BP to dictate the terms of the cleanup. **** BP.
 

apdst

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See my comment below yours.




The feds have allowed BP to dictate the terms of the cleanup. **** BP.
Therein lies the responsibility of the government. If BP was doing such a terrible job, the Hope-n-Change government should have swooped in to save the day.
 

Catz Part Deux

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Therein lies the responsibility of the government. If BP was doing such a terrible job, the Hope-n-Change government should have swooped in to save the day.
Oh, HopeNchange is on my **** list, too. No worries.
 
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