BP sponsorship pollutes free opera

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lennygoran
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BP sponsorship pollutes free opera

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:25 am

A friend from England alerted me to this article:



An opera related news item from today's Times:

Climate campaigners are urging the mayor of London to stop BP from “bolstering its legitimacy” by sponsoring live opera screenings in Trafalgar Square.

Sadiq Khan has been asked to ban BP from sponsoring the Royal Opera House’s annual Big Screens programme, during which the oil company will distribute free merchandise.

A letter from the Culture Unstained protest group, signed by figures from the arts world, points out that one of this year’s screenings will take place during the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Climate Action Week.

It says it is “not reasonable” for the Royal Opera House to use Trafalgar Square to “promote a company whose core product the GLA is in the process of divesting from as part of its response to the climate crisis”. It adds: “The decision to allow BP to use one of London’s most loved public spaces to deflect attention from its impact on the climate and human rights record is clearly out of step with your policies.”

It is thought that activists from Extinction Rebellion are preparing to disrupt the first Big Screen event tonight — a screening of Kenneth MacMillan’s production of Romeo and Juliet by the Royal Ballet. In July there are due to be screenings of the Royal Opera’s Carmen and the Marriage of Figaro.

In total there are 22 venues for the Big Screenings around the country, including another four in London.

BP’s involvement in cultural institutions has been coming under increasing scrutiny. The artist Gary Hume, one of the judges of the annual BP Portrait Award organised by the National Portrait Gallery, has called on the institution to end its links with the oil company.

In a letter to the gallery director Nicholas Cullinan he wrote: “Either we distance ourselves from one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel producers and embrace the challenge of decarbonising, or we continue to give legitimacy to BP and its business activities that are seriously exacerbating the problem.”

There are regular protests at the British Museum over BP’s sponsorship of various exhibitions. The company has been a major supporter in the past of Tate and is still involved with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Last year it launched a five-year plan to invest £7.5 million in projects with British institutions, stating that it “aims to provide access to excellence in the arts to audiences and communities across the UK and beyond”.

Documents obtained by Culture Unstained from last year’s planning application by the Royal Opera House show that BP was allowed to provide branded ponchos and cushions to audiences. The GLA asked for details about the biodegradability of the items.

The letter to the mayor states: “The oil and gas company’s sponsorship of Big Screens is a clear investment in a form of advertising. It is only with permission granted by your team that BP’s brand can be displayed and merchandise distributed in Trafalgar Square.”

A spokeswoman for the mayor of London said: “The Greater London Authority supports the Royal Opera House by giving them use of Trafalgar Square to screen world-class opera performances for free, enabling Londoners and visitors to access culture in the capital. The mayor has declared a climate emergency in London and is delivering world-leading initiatives like the ultra-low emission zone. He has established a £500 million fund to invest in low-carbon technologies.”

John F
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Re: BP sponsorship pollutes free opera

Post by John F » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:01 am

How is it sensible to condemn a company, whatever its faults, for an action that clearly benefits everyone with no downside to them? The Covent Garden relays contain no advertising, as far as I know, apart from identifying who's sponsoring and paying for the telecasts. It would make more sense to urge BP to continue and increase its public services, rather than try to cut it off from the public, which will buy its gas or not for other more relevant reasonsc. Or to support other energy alternatives such as electrical cars, trains and buses, reducing the market for BP's products.
Last edited by John F on Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: BP sponsorship pollutes free opera

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:51 am

John F wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:01 am
How is it sensible to condemn a company, whatever its faults, for an action that clearly benefits everyone with no downside to them?
John thanks-I'm with you on this--you put it so well! Regards, Len

maestrob
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Re: BP sponsorship pollutes free opera

Post by maestrob » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:54 am

lennygoran wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:51 am
John F wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:01 am
How is it sensible to condemn a company, whatever its faults, for an action that clearly benefits everyone with no downside to them?
John thanks-I'm with you on this--you put it so well! Regards, Len
For decades, Exxon-Mobil supported Masterpiece Theater on PBS and no-one raised a peep about them. Sure, climate change is now a more pressing issue, and BP was responsible for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but if they had offered to sponsor my vocal competition, I would have taken their money willingly.

lennygoran
Posts: 14893
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: BP sponsorship pollutes free opera

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:34 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:54 am
For decades, Exxon-Mobil supported Masterpiece Theater on PBS and no-one raised a peep about them. Sure, climate change is now a more pressing issue, and BP was responsible for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but if they had offered to sponsor my vocal competition, I would have taken their money willingly.
Brian this makes sense to me-thanks! Regards, Len

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