BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward branded “the most hated man in America” may be surprised to find himself cast in the role of victim by a growing clan of web-based supporters on Facebook.
One such group ‘Support BP’ calls itself the defender of an “undeservedly harassed institution” and seeks to show that the public opprobrium BP faces over its now 60-day-old Gulf of Mexico oil spill is not universal.
Members have been increasingly vocal since a succession of strong rebukes of BP by U.S. President Obama and lawmakers at Thursday’s congressional hearing, which they are calling a “lynch mob”.
The outburst of sympathy follows an apology to Hayward from Texas Republican Representative Joe Barton on Thursday, later withdrawn, for having to agree to a deal with President Obama to set up a $20 billion fund for Gulf claim damages.
Some of the Facebook posts echoed this same spirit of regret: “My apologies as an American to Tony Hayward for the rude and insulting conduct as well as the rush to judgement by U.S. politicians on 16/7,” wrote George Gray, 50, from Pennsylvania, referring to Thursday’s hearing.