May 26, 2010


From The Times May 22, 2010

Stand up to BP and say: ‘You know, I’m not taking your s*** any more’

It is 19 years since Erin Brockovich first went into battle against corporate America. She was a small-town single mum who stood up to an industrial Goliath and won. Now, as she champions a new case with a depressingly similar plot, it is clear that she has lost none of her fighting spirit or trademark candour.

“Stand up to BP and say, ‘You know what, I’m not taking your shit any more’ ,” she tells an audience of more than 300 anxious individuals in Pensacola, Florida, who have gathered to hear how they can seek legal redress for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“If you stand down and you say nothing and you get complacent and let them run over you, they will do that. They are already doing that. I’m telling you: Don’t let them,” she continues, and is greeted with applause.

But backstage, the 49-year-old former beauty queen whose grit helped to win hundreds of millions of dollars for wronged communities and made her a symbol of environmental activism seems momentarily beaten.
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“In all my 19 years this is the first time I feel helpless,” she admits, wiping away a tear. “I’m the one that usually sends a message of hope and I’m feeling helpless in this scenario because it’s so big and so complex and so . . . just awful.”

It is a powerful confession for a woman whose life story is based on mental toughness, a “modern-day David who loves a good brawl with today’s Goliaths”, as she admits.