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Thread: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

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    BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    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.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 06-17-10 at 08:45 AM.

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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    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"..

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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    Quote Originally Posted by WhyteRash View Post
    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.

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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    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

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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    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.

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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    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.
    you'd think he'd have a nicer tie too
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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    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.
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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    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?
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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    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.
    Tucker Case - Tard magnet.

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    Re: BP 'small people' comment causes anger along Gulf

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    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.

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