IMPORTANT UPDATE: This smelled kinda like oil-soaked fish to us (and a lot of the internet), so I called Shell, and a spokesperson told me in no uncertain terms, “I can confirm that this was not a Shell event.” You may still want to watch the video, but view it as a delightful exercise in alternate-universe fantasy, where bad guys always get their comeuppance and the Yes Men (probably) dole out poetic justice to all.
Original post preserved below, for transparency and also having some funny jokes in it.
Royal Dutch Shell executives were so excited about ravaging the Arctic (so the story goes, anyway) that they threw a fancy party, complete with a miniature liquor dispenser built to look like an oil rig. Which promptly malfunctioned and coated elderly guests with booze. Karma’s a bitch.
(Best part of this video is at about 00:41: “Turn it off.” “I can’t turn it off!”)
Logan Price, the Occupy Wall Street protestor who filmed the liquor spill, provides more deets:
I guess the photo-op was meant to be a symbolic tapping of the Arctic. There was a ridiculous three-foot-high scale model of their Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, and the mini-rig had a tap to pump liquor for the guests.
The guest of honor was an elderly Japanese man introduced as the original Chief Engineer of the Kulluk rig who used to work at Mitsui back in the ’80s. But when the man went to turn on the ‘rig,’ the liquor went everywhere – and the first to be hit was another elderly guest, the widow of the man who’d actually designed the Kulluk back in the 1980s.
The guy in charge kept asking the old engineer to fix it but he obviously had no idea how to turn it off. Shell’s PR people got REALLY worked up, and the designer’s widow started yelling. At this point the guy who was presenting the new ad campaign told me to turn off my camera and got pretty aggressive.
Guests at the Shell party, of course, were horrified, as well they should be. Sure, oil spills regularly kill wildlife and ruin livelihoods, but can we really compare the pain of having your main source of water and food contaminated, and the pain of getting squirted with bourbon? They are both very painful. And it’s not like pelicans have dry-cleaning bills.
We desperately want this to be legit, but honestly, even if it’s a Yes Men stunt, it’s pretty amazing.
Video: Shell "Oil Rig" Breaks, Sprays Liquor All Over Fancy People, Gothamist.