James Cameron calls BP 'morons'

James Cameron might have declared himself “the King of the World” after winning an Oscar for Titanic, but if you ask BP, he’s not quite the king of ideas. And the director is taking his revenge — Cameron’s slamming BP, the company currently in the crosshairs for the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, after they rejected his problem-solving ideas. Last week, Cameron made headlines when he was approached by the government to brainstorm new approaches to plugging the deep-sea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. And now, in the second act of that unlikely Hollywood-comes-to-the-rescue soap opera, Cameron appears to be feeling a bit spurned by BP’s reluctance to listen to him.

In an interview at the D8 tech conference on Wednesday night, Cameron said:

“Over the last few weeks I’ve watched as we all have with growing sort of horror and heartache watching what’s happening in the Gulf and thinking, those morons don’t know what they’re doing.”

What do you think: was BP wrong to dismiss Cameron’s ideas or should they listen to the Avatar director? Watch the video, and vote in our poll, after the jump.


Comments (144 total) Add your comment
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  • Madd

    BP is moronic.

    • me

      James Cameron is moronic.

      • Castiella

        You’re both right.

      • Ra-Ra-Retard

        BP may be morons, but it’s even more moronic to think anyone in Hollywood has any expertise in anything other than entertainment.

      • Emma

        BP execs may be morons but they probably have scientists work round the clock trying to figure out what to do next. I’m guessing the government is also doing a little research on the side. What are Cameron’s qualifications exactly? He wants to help? He should go and write a check to all the families affected by this nightmare.

      • ida

        that is not entirely true. hollywood scifi artists has helped to make prostatic for disfigured people. also they often have to deal with cutting edge technology. look at all the cg stuff. no one else is better at this than the hollywood folks.

      • MaxPowers82

        James Cameron actually does have a fair amount of deep-sea expertise. He’s worked extensively with robot submarines and has helped develop deep-sea submersible equipment and other underwater ocean technology to explore the wrecks of the Titanic and the Bismarck. I’m not saying he would necessarily be of any help, but you shouldn’t write him off so quickly just because he happens to work in Hollywood.

      • Eric

        Actually, if you read the history of special effects in the movie industry, you’ll know to thank them for the CAT scan and MRI imagery they ge. Originally one of PIXAR’s main areas of expertise was just that, ad their engineers are the reason you can look at the slices of a CAT scan composited into one image. Cameron himself has been instrumental in developing and funding aquatic cameras and robotics, as well as marine research. “Hollywood,” as you so derisively sneer, is a great contributor to science.

      • superhonkey

        neither are morons. cameron is a remarkably outside-the-box thinker with a substantial knowledge of high pressure (submerged) physics as well as the capability and limitations of humans and our little machines in deep depth atmospheres. the people at bp are highly trained drilling rig operators who have done their jobs for decades without incident. the ceo of bp is the only moron i have seen. he is arrogant in his company’s tragic mistake and refuses to take either advice from people who may be able to help or blame for this outrage.

      • Niix Starkyller

        After watching the ACTUAL video (not the one posted in the article), I have to say this was a case of bad, sensationalized reporting. The “they’re morons” comment was made in regard to how he felt BEFORE he talked to BP not, as you said in the article, “after they rejected his problem-solving ideas”. Go back to journalism school, retake your comprehension courses, and pay special attention to responsible reporting. Cameron’s later comment about the fine quality of BP’s engineers makes your article completely erroneous and verging on libel. (And I DO think BP are morons, and I find Cameron annoying despite the yummy treats he’s given us — it’s just that your accounting of that conversation is reprehensible).

      • Niix Starkyller

        Also, he stated the idea for the meeting was his, not the gov’t’s. He said it was a private meeting merely hosted at the EPA’s facility. Ergo, he was not approached by the government at all. You got that information from another EW article which was based on speculation about said meeting. Really, Chris, did you even watch the video in question? If I was your editor, you’d be reduced office page until I was sure you’d learned how to be a journalist.

      • Willowbysam

        If he has ideas why wouldn’t they just listen? He can’t do any worse can he?

      • The Truth

        Whoever wrote BP has done their job w/o incident until now does not have a clue about that.

      • David Crabtree

        Imagine when you put oil in your car. You put a funnel into the hole and pour in the oil. Now imagine turning that picture Upside down. Why would’nt a large funnel over the top of the leak with a pipe to the surface capture at least 95% of the oil and push it to the surface ???

    • avenger

      whatever BP is obviously full of morons

    • darclyte

      Jim Cameron and Kevin Coster FTW! Who da thunk it?

    • Sally in Chicago

      I trust James on this one.

  • Nathan

    Cameron’s right on the money, they ARE morons.

    • Lana

      Haters just hate and contribute nothing to the discussion. “Me” and “Castiella” are haters, who post to simply infect the blog witht their hate. They really don’t care about the topic and do nothing but rage the readers.

      • ani

        not to be rude, but what exactly did your post contribute? you didn’t really express an opinion on the article or its contents.

      • Castiella

        Not a hater at all… just sick of egos like BPs and Camerons impeding progress. They should stop slinging mud and passing blame and get to work on plugging the damn hole. I grew up playing on Gulf beaches, so I’m kinda frustrated with the current situation. Understandably, I would think.

      • Allie

        i agree with ani. you didn’t post anything about the article lana. maybe you’re a hater

      • Allie

        and also, the bp ceo needs to take responsibility for his own company like some people have said. he is a moron.

    • Strepsi

      Cameron has ideas, passion, knowledge of deepwater, and most importantly, the MONEY to translate it all into action. He is known for putting his money where his mouth is, so anyone would be an idiot not to want him on-side at least.

      • BPbegone

        BP execs need to go to jail for a long time for fraud. They claimed they could handle a 250,000 barrel a day leak but they can’t
        They claimed they were on top of operating a rig at max safety but they weren’t

        these are criminals who need to pay and tony hayward needs to go to jail for the rest of his life and rot

  • Nathan

    Not to mention criminals.

  • Avatar 4

    Old saying, if one were to call another moron or stupid, then the one who make that call is himself one. It takes one to recognize one…LOL

  • Shelly

    Truthfully, BP should listen to all ideas at this point because obviously, their brainstorming department sucks…

    • Emma

      Have you read the kind of problems they are facing? It’s a mile below sea level with freezing temperatures and high pressures. This is not as simple as putting a cork in a bottle. As someone who works in science, it really irks me when I hear politicians act like these people just aren’t trying hard enough.

      • Peter

        They made this mess. If they didn’t have a way to handle a completely foreseeable problem such as this, then they shouldn’t have been drilling.

      • MsSuniDaze

        I understand what your saying regarding that most people don’t understand it’s not as simple as it sounds. However, I agree with Peter. Companies have contigency plans and this is a worst case scenario. It’s almost like BP didn’t have any plan in place. Honestly any help they can get at this point is needed, even if it comes from Hollywood.

      • Eric

        As a scientist you should also know that if your models are biased towards a successful outcome, and your predictors for a worst case scenario are also biased, then the science itself is flawed. Add to that a blatant disregard for a delicate ecosystem, proven safety precautions that have been used in other countries, and *should* have been used but weren’t (because it would have cost an extra $550k), and you have an enormous potential for disaster. And guess what? There is an enormous disaster! So yeah, not so easy to fix now, but would have been a lot easier to prevent. If you want to be mad, then be mad about that. I sure as hell am!

      • Favreau

        Okay, for starters, they may be able to handle a 250,000 barrels or gallons of oil a day spill, but look at where they are drilling. A mile deep. Now, it’s easy to say, well if they can’t figure out how to stop a leak there then they shouldn’t be drilling there. Ok- THEN STOP DRIVING YOUR CAR. The reason they are drilling that deep is because politicians see this whole oil and “global warming” thing as a way to score political points. They say things like, we need to stop using oil and start using new, clean energies. Ha, sounds great except they offer no answers to what those new clean energies are. Sure there’s wind, so put a windmill on your car. Don’t like that? Fine, plug your car in, make a real difference… oh wait, that outlet you plugged your car into is powered by coal, oil or even nuclear energy (Granted, around 1.8% of our energy needs is met by wind, solar or other “clean fuels”). The point is, sure, it would be great to end our dependence on foreign oil with clean energies, but at the end of the day, until a new energy is offered that is as versitile as oil is, we need oil. We can keep buying it from countries that want to kill us, or we can drill our vertually untapped oil resevours. We have more than enough oil for ourselves for over 100 years, even given large amounts of inflation. That gives us 100 years to come up with a viable alternative to oil, the sooner the better, yes. But we need to stop making companies drill at depths that are hard to fathom for oil, when they could easily do it on shore, or even 1000 ft down. For those of you who believe that we should have some sort of moratorium on drilling because of this, think about who else in the world is drilling and where they are drilling. They aren’t drilling a mile deep in the ocean, but they still spill more oil than we do- even given this recent, and continuing, oil spill. I for one trust us to do a better job than any foreign country. We, as Americans, aren’t genetically better than anyone else on the face of this planet. But with our freedoms come more opportunities, which lead to better insights and better ideas. Lets use our greatness to our advantage.

      • etm

        Totally agree with Peter!

  • EY

    Seriously, even if he is egotistical and rumored to be difficult to work with, James Cameron did figure out how to get to film the Titanic wreck. And BP isn’t solving this on their own. Why not listen to someone who’s a proven creative problem-solver with a love of the ocean and environment?

    • 867-5309

      “James Cameron did figure out how to get to film the Titanic wreck.”

      Didn’t he just hire Russians to take him there in their sub? You make it sound like he solved the problem of building a sub that could dive to 12,000 feet.

  • BBrown

    Cameron neds to stick to making movies! Any administration that would even consider asking him for help in an area which he has no clue needs to be voted OUT!

    • Skip182

      You’re right, asking for help when help is needed is idiotic…The government should just let the leak keep on flowing. Good advice sport.

    • Willowbysam

      James Cameron is more than just a director. He is an extremely intellgent man who sees a problem and finds a solution even if he has to invent the equipment to do it. That skill could translate to any problem in any field, intellegence has no boundaries. He just happens to be a film maker, maybe he has an artistic steak also.

  • Minutiae

    Yeah, because a guy who makes movies for a living has a lot of credibility when it comes to complex engineering issues. Maybe they’d listen if he hadn’t ripped off so many other movies for Avatar’s plot. ;)

    • Rusty Shackleford

      So if you aren’t an engineer you can’t have an opinion on this matter. Are you a director? So your criticism of Cameron has no credibility if you are not.

      • Thomas

        love the name and the comment, Rusty. Minutiae, your name is very apt for the so-called “opinion” that you offer.

    • Kim

      To Minutiae- and you know this how? You have personal knowledge that Cameron “ripped off so many other movies for Avatar’s plot?” Did Cameron tell you this himself? Based on your comment, I’m pretty convinced that Cameron is 100x smarter than you even if he wasn’t a famous director known for his creativity and forward thinking.

  • BBrown

    Lets just hand the problem over to Cameron and Hollywood they seem to be turning California into a wonderful place!

  • Norbal

    Cameron has experience getting camera shots deep under water,but that is not the problem. It is worthwhile to note that a bigger tragedy to the US would be no offshore drilling and production. The last accident like this was about 40 years ago- it is worth it to have the domestic production and jobs.

    • alyssa

      Ditto! The thing no one who’s not involved in the industry wants to acknowledge, is that BP is working on the correct solution. But it takes time! They’re trying to do the right thing. And it wasn’t even BP technology that caused this leak, but BP is the only one taking bad press. James Cameron has no more right to criticize BP than I do (as a chemical engineer) to criticize how he directs movies! Yes, I understand it’s a major oil spill and has serious environmental ramifications, but people who don’t know what the problem and proper solution is should keep out of it!

      • Linda

        Alyssa, your a well meaning tool. BP planned this and has NO intentions of “fixing” it. They will drag it along until 20-30 million people are put into FEMA camps to be evacuated. 2 CEO’s sold their BP stock before this, go read alternative news, NOT the damn TV!!!

    • Eric

      How many jobs do you get from offshore drilling? Is it more than the shrimpers, hoteliers, clammers, fishers, resorts, etc. etc. etc. No, the big tragedy would not be if couldn’t suck every last drop of oil out of our planet; the real tragedy is if we didn’t learn enough NOT to. Cut Big Oil’s tax subsidies, cut the liability cap, and break up their monopolies. Then take the extra money and put it towards renewable energy and energy saving technology.

  • BBrown

    Cali is the poster child for America! Its a sure glimpse of things to come

  • wilsonca

    Cameron’s ideas are graphics on a computer screen. that’s like asking the creator of bugs bunny to develop a genetically better carrot.

    • yep

      Well, he actually did create a new kind of carrot.

  • Ron

    Cameron has about as much experience working with deep water submersibles as anyone around. The author conveniently left out the point that Cameron was making at the D8 conference. That point being it was ludicrous to allow B/P to operate the cameras since they were the perpetrators of the crime.

    The government should have their own cameras at the place of the gusher. Would you trust a criminal to investigate his own crime?

  • Hugo

    Jim Cameron is a man 20 years ahead of our time.great imagination and vision , lets see what he’s idea for fixing the leak is,before making comments.

    • dw

      wow, somebody with some intelligence – a rare thing on the net.

  • kubie58

    Emma and Alyssa crack me up! Thanks for the totally objective opinions from a “scientist” and a “chemical engineer”. Be sure to tell you grandchildren how you angrily rose to the defense of British Petroleum and told people to be quiet and just trust them. I hope you are both very wealthy as a result of your avarice and blind allegiance to your respective industries. Be sure to take your families to Mississippi for vacation this summer and enjoy what BP has done to the beaches!

    • Lab Guy

      This is a stupid poll question. There is not a yes or no answer to this. All avenues should be explored. This is an environmental disaster not a hollywood popularity contest.

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