I’m no fan of Royal Dutch Shell. Its actions in Nigeria caught my eye in the 1990s, and I believe the criticism it has received for those environmental and human rights violations is deserved.
I also believe in fighting fairly, however, and I think Greenpeace’s latest actions against Shell are misleading and unethical. The organization has a long history of media activism, and it can be effective in gaining visibility for its causes. In its latest barrage against Shell, it has gone too far.
Greenpeace is going out of its way to boast about the hoax it perpetrated against Shell. The video above, which you can find on YouTube, is portrayed as being taken at “a private send-off for Shell’s arctic rigs (Kulluk and Noble discoverer) at the Seattle Space Needle. The rigs were visible outside the window. Incredibly, there was an obvious malfunction of the model rig that was supposed to pour drinks for guests.” Supposedly, the video was taken by a Shell employee.
Journalists who wrote about the video then got an email, supposedly from Shell, telling them that the video was a hoax and inviting them to go to a company website, www.arcticready.com. Trouble is, that website also is a Greenpeace creation, complete with a set of mock, tongue-in-cheek advertising that makes Shell look like sustainable development dolts.
This comment from YouTube about the video above does a good job of reflecting my feelings: “Is there any indication on the arcticready website that Greenpeace is responsible for it, and not Shell? I do not support Shell, but the fact that Greenpeace doesn’t have any sort of signature on arcticready turns it from a satire into a lie …”
There are plenty of ways to make your point with resorting to hoaxes and duplicity. This is a total failure of integrity on the part of Greenpeace.