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17 Jun, 2010 23:42

BP CEO faces "public execution" on Capitol Hill

BP CEO Tony Hayward came to Capitol Hill Thursday to face lawmakers over the Gulf Coast oil spill that occurred eight weeks ago.

Hayward faced tough questions from Washington politicians wanting answers about how the oil spill happened and why BP wasn't prepared to clean it up.

"BP made choices that set safety aside in exchange for cost cutting and time saving decisions," said Representative Bart Stupak (Democrat-Michigan).

Hayward has faced a firestorm of criticism over the April oil spill. Protestors at Thursday's hearing called for the CEO to be arrested. Wednesday Hayward went to the White House and pledged $20 billion to help those whose lives have been impacted by the spill.

The scene surrounding Thursday's hearing was eerily reminiscent of the media frenzy accompanying the grilling of Goldman Sachs executives last month about the investment bank's role in the financial crisis. It also had some striking similarities to the scene from two years ago where the CEOs of the big three automakers flew to Washington on private jets asking for a bailout from taxpayers. In all three scenarios, Americans showed intense anger at the CEOs looking to Washington to hold them accountable for actions that they believe led to the mess.

Hayward has launched a massive PR campaign attempting to revamp BP's image, but in the meantime, spoofs of the British CEO have dominated websites and late night comedy shows for weeks.