The Huffington Post has managed to start a fight between Sandra Bullock and a group called America's Wetland Foundation. Bullock, along with a number of other celebrities, is appearing in an ad to promote a fully-funded "plan to restore America's Gulf." Bullock, however, wasn't aware that the ad's sponsor, America's Wetland Foundation, is, in the words of ThinkProgress's Brad Johnson, "a front group" for a number of oil companies. It was established by Shell Oil and also receives funding from the American Petroleum Institute and BP. Huffington Post bloggers Brendan DeMelle and Jerry Cope hammered away at this point Wednesday, tying the funding back to the message of the video:
The video urges petition signers to "Be The One" to demand the government devise and fully fund a plan to restore the Gulf. There is no mention that BP, Halliburton, Transocean, Cameron, or any other oil industry player "be the one" to pay for the damage done to the Gulf.
That's set off a bit of a media spat between Bullock and the foundation. Bullock's representatives want her part pulled, telling Think Progress that "[a]t no time was [Bullock] made aware that any organization, oil company or otherwise had influence over Women of the Storm or its message. We have immediately asked for her participation in the PSA be removed until the facts can be determined."
But managing director Val Marmillion of America's Wetland tells The Huffington Post the foundation is "just shocked to see this type of criticism," and says that, though they receive money from oil companies, the companies aren't linked with the board: "The board is totally benign." Senior advisor to the foundation, Sidney Coffee, provides a similarly strong quote: criticisms of the ad "couldn't be further from the truth ... [w]e want BP to pay every damn penny that they should be paying and more."