BP's 'Small People' Remark Angers Victims

BP exec's attempt to seem more sympathetic backfires
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2010 4:59 PM CDT
BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg is followed by the news media as he and other BP representative leave the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 16, 2010, after a meeting with President Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Gulf Coast residents were fuming over comments by the BP chairman that his company does indeed care about "the small people," the AP reports. Ben Smith of Politico notes that the phrase already has spawned a mocking T-shirt. Carl-Henric Svanberg told reporters that "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."

BP is chalking it up to an English mistake—Svanberg is Swedish, but for many affected by the spill, the comment only adds insult to injury. "We're not small people," says a New Orleans resident. "We're human beings. They're no greater than us. We don't bow down to them. We don't pray to them." Adds an Alabama resident: "BP does not care about us. They are so far above us. We are the nickel-and-dime folks of this world."

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