Once evidence emerged that their client was guilty of dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador's rainforest, Chevron's gargantuan "team" of lawyers and consultants just couldn't seem to stop stepping on themselves.
We therefore decided to compile just some of the company's most moronic comments relating to its efforts to try to sleaze out of taking responsibility for its man-made disaster in the rainforest. Remember that three layers of courts and nine judges in Chevron's chosen forum of Ecuador have confirmed the company's $9.5 billion liability, but CEO John Watson still refuses to pay up.
Since there are so many startlingly obtuse comments from Watson and other Chevron employees and lawyers related to the company's toxic dumping in Ecuador, we promise that more such lists will be presented on this site in the coming months. Based on what we have seen so far, the second list of nutty Chevron comments will be almost as wacked out as the one below.
We also wanted to take this opportunity to offer a special shout-out to Sylvia Garrigo, the only Chevron employee to have placed two comments on our first Chevron Top Ten list. Once Sylvia became the public face of Chevron during an unflattering interview in 2009 on 60 Minutes, she seems to have disappeared into the bowels of company headquarters in California.
For now, here is the Top Ten List of Chevron's Most Outrageous Comments On Its Ecuador Disaster:
Chevron CEO John Watson to journalist Christopher Helman of Forbes magazine when asked about his plan to end the Ecuador litigation. (Published on March 4, 2013.)
9. "There is danger is paying too much attention to fairness."
Chevron Lawyer Clarke Hunter to the Supreme Court of Canada, December 11, 2014. Chevron had ordered Hunter to try to block an attempt by Ecuadorian villagers to seize Chevron's assets in Canada to force the company to comply with the Ecuador judgment.
8. "The plaintiffs are really irrelevant. They always were irrelevant."
Chevron lawyer Doak Bishop of the American law firm King & Spalding to three private investor arbitrators in a closed-door proceeding where the transcript was later made public. Chevron was trying to make the preoposterous claim that it is entitled to a taxpayer-funded bailout of its pollution liability in Ecuador -- paid for, at least in part, by the very people it poisoned in the rainforest.
7. "We can't let little countries screw around with big companies like this."
Chevron lobbyist in Washington, D.C. quoted anonymously by Michael Isikoff in Newsweek magazine, August 4, 2008.
6. "Ecuador: the next major threat to America?"
Chevron public relations consultant Sam Singer -- the company's own Baghdad Bob -- in a 2008 memo outlining "message themes"designed to distract the media from reporting on the environmental disaster.
5. "You are exploiting poor people who are suffering. That's outrageous."
Chevron lawyer Reed Brodsky to Karen Hinton, longtime U.S. spokesperson for the rainforest communities, in a panel discussion at a legal conference in New York on February 5, 2015. Brodsky lashed out at Hinton when she showed the audience photos of some of the villagers who have contracted cancer in the area where Chevron operated.
4. "Our L-T strategy is to demonize Donziger."
Chevron public relations consultant Chris Gidez in a 2009 email to company officials. "Donziger" refers to Steven Donziger, the longtime U.S. legal advisor to the affected communities. Chevron has spent an estimated $1 billion and used dozens of law firms and public relations companies to execute this strategy.
3. "We will fight until hell freezes over -- and then skate it out on the ice."
Chevron General Counsel Charles James in a speech in 2008 to law students at the University of California, Berkeley.
2. "I have make-up on, and there's naturally occurring oil on my face. Doesn't mean that I'm going to get sick from it."
Chevron lawyer Sylvia Garrigo responding to a question from Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes about the contamination from the company's abandoned waste pits in Ecuador in a segment that aired on May 3, 2009. Garrigo, now Chevron's Manager of Shareholder Engagement, is no longer used by the company to speak publicly about the Ecuador litigation. Garrigo's response to Pelley is widely considered one of the more moronic comments by a corporate spokesperson in history.
1. "We don't want to be in any court, must less a court with respect to this kind of claim."
Chevron lawyer Sylvia Garrigo to Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes, May 3, 2009. Pelley had asked Garrigo why the company wanted the trial be held in Ecuador, and then decided during the trial -- with the evidence against it mounting -- that it suddenly did not want the trial to be in Ecuador.