The new public relations gurus hired by BP couldn’t have started at a better time. The team, headed by Anne Womack-Kolton — a former spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney and the White House — had just started work when they had to deal with an unfortunate statement by BP chief executive Tony Hayward.
On Sunday Hayward infuriated many of those struggling to deal with the impact the massive oil spill has had on their lives and livelihood when he said he wanted his “life back” and wanted the oil spill mess to be over. So today his office issued the following email:
I made a hurtful and thoughtless comment on Sunday when I said that ‘I wanted my life back.’ When I read that recently, I was appalled. I apologize, especially to the families of the 11 men who lost their lives in this tragic accident. Those words don’t represent how I feel about this tragedy, and certainly don’t represent the hearts of the people of BP – many of whom live and work in the Gulf – who are doing everything they can to make things right. My first priority is doing all we can to restore the lives of the people of the Gulf region and their families – to restore their lives, not mine.
So what do you think? Does it work to issue such an email? Can Washington pubic relations officials really do anything to fix BP’s image?
Photo credit: REUTERS/Sean Gardner (Garret Graves with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority shows his hand after collecting oil samples in Pass A Loutre near Venice, Louisiana on May 26, 2010)