A wickedly funny Web satirist who's been lampooning BP (BP) on Twitter became an unlikely Good Samaritan this week when he donated $10,000 to a group devoted to protecting the Gulf of Mexico.
The person whose caustic mockery of BP under the Twitter name "BPGlobalPR" has earned over 100,000 followers made the donation to the Gulf Restoration Network Wednesday morning. The donation was made from the proceeds of T-shirts the user has been selling featuring the BP logo and the tagline "BP Cares" -- in dripping black ink reminiscent of crude oil.
The account opened May 19 with the tweet, "We regretfully admit that something has happened off of the Gulf Coast. More to come." Since then the account has been frequently updated with tweets like, "If we're being accused of being criminals, we want to be tried by a jury of our peers -- wealthy execs who don't give a damn."
BPGlobalPR has become a viral Web sensation, quickly garnering over 100,000 followers.
Aaron Viles, campaign director for the Gulf Restoration Network, told DailyFinance that the Twitter donor has asked to remain anonymous. The donor flew from California, where he lives, to New Orleans for a meeting at the organization's office on Wednesday, Viles says.
"He's a guy with an entrepreneurial spirit and an incredible sense of satire who clearly cares about the Gulf," says Viles, adding, "I think it's really fantastic that someone who is lampooning BP has chosen to support our work. We've been trying to pierce the veil and tell the truth about BP and its role in this disaster since the beginning."
Late Wednesday, someone writing under the name "Leroy Stick (aka a guy in his boxer shorts)" posted a lengthy manifesto on the T-shirt sales site in which he claimed to be behind BPGlobalPR.
Now 'Something of a Movement'
"I started @BPGlobalPR, because the oil spill had been going on for almost a month and all BP had to offer were bullshit PR statements," "Stick" wrote. "I started off just making jokes at their expense with a few friends, but now it has turned into something of a movement."
"Every penny we make from the t-shirts goes to the Gulf Restoration Network," the writer said.
Viles says the crisis has swelled online donations and attracted major donors. The $10,000 donated by BPGlobalPR is tied for the largest single non-foundation donation, Viles says.
Gulf Restoration Network was founded in 1995 to protect the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico.
Hayward: "Out Of Touch"
Viles says the organization hasn't received any money from BP -- and wouldn't accept it if it were offered. "We don't take money from people who pollute the Gulf," Viles says, "but we are thinking about submitting a bill when all of this is over."
Villes has harsh words for BP CEO Tony Hayward, who on Wednesday apologized for whining over the weekend: "I'd like my life back."
"That guy almost doesn't need to be lampooned," Viles says. "He's doing it himself. He is so clearly out of touch with what's going on in these coastal communities and the amount of anguish his company has caused."
Find out more about the Gulf Restoration Network here.
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