Backlash: Graphic Climate Ad Under Fire

Environmental activists are working to distance themselves from a violent advocacy video that hit the Internet last week depicting the gruesome murder of climate change skeptics.  The four-minute video was produced by a London-based group called 10:10 and was removed almost immediately after it debuted.  However, bloggers and news media have replayed the video, sparking critical backlash around the world.  Though 10:10 claims the film was intended to be comedic, the response has been anything but funny.

“With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh,” the group wrote on its website.  “Many found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t, and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended,” the group said. “Oh well, we live and learn.”

But what exactly has been learned?  This most recent case of environmental extremism is similar to an “anonymous” article posted last year on a popular left-leaning political site.  A June 2, 2009, article posted to Talking Points Memo was similarly scrapped after objections to its message: “At what point to do we jail or execute global warming deniers?”

Additionally, as ClimateDepot‘s Marc Morano points out, the “execute skeptics” message is not new:

NASA’s James Hansen has called for trials of climate skeptics in 2008 for “high crimes against humanity.” Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at skeptics of 2007 declaring “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors”In 2009, RFK, Jr. also called coal companies “criminal enterprises” and declared CEO’s ‘should be in jail… for all of eternity.”

In June 2009, former Clinton Administration official Joe Romm defended a comment on his Climate Progress website warning skeptics would be strangled in their beds. “An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds,” stated the remarks, which Romm defended by calling them “not a threat, but a prediction.”

In 2006, the eco-magazine Grist called for Nuremberg-Style trials for skeptics. In 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be thrown “into jail.” In 2007, The Weather Channel’s climate expert called for withholding certification of skeptical meteorologists.

A 2008 report found that ‘climate blasphemy’ is replacing traditional religious blasphemy. In addition, a July 2007 Senate reportdetailed how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation.

In 2007, then EPA Chief Vowed to Probe E-mail Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Career of Climate Skeptic and dissenters of warming fears have been called ‘Climate Criminals’ who are committing ‘Terracide’ (killing of Planet Earth) (July 25, 2007) In addition, in May 2009, Climate Depot Was Banned in Louisiana! See: State official sought to ‘shut down’ climate skeptic’s testimony at hearing.

Further, the Hollywood starlet lending her voice to the 10:10 campaign — former X-Filer Gillian Anderson — has been in the spotlight before, warning of certain dangers facing the world.  In 1999, Anderson said she had been doing “a lot of research” and was sure Y2K was going to “break” everything, but saw a silver lining of a world without computers:

I think what this is about right now is, this is an opportunity for us to get back to basics in a sense, and for us to unite as communities to help each other, so that eventually, if there is a devastating effect, that at least we can join together with the people around us, instead of, you know, acting out of fear and robbing our neighbors for food, or for money, or whatever, because there’s nothing around. …

10:10 had intended to widely distribute its gory film to movie theaters, but has since scratched those plans and environmental allies are quickly retreating from their support.  One group, 350.org, has been an official partner with 10:10, but now claims it will sever all ties.  Under a post titled, “Days that Suck,” 350.org founder Bill McKibben called the 10:10 video “gross” and lamented how “Climate skeptics are going to make a big deal of this.”

“The video represents the kind of stupidity that really hurts our side,” McKibben wrote, “reinforcing in people’s minds a series of preconceived notions, not the least of which is that we’re out-of-control elitists. Not to mention crazy, and also with completely misplaced sense of humor.”  McKibben’s 350.org — also a cosponsor of this weekend’s 10/2 “One Nation” rally held in Washington, D.C. — claims the group had nothing to do with 10:10’s latest advertising ploy and did not know about the video until it was released on the Internet.

“I think the idea of a comedy is fine, and even the gore and blood is part of our pop culture,” Morano told Greenwire today. “What is not fine, and what is actually very revealing, is that their impulse — the intellectual strain that runs through the alarmist movement — is to try to silence their critics. They blame a handful of skeptics for ruining all their schemes, and this is them expressing their frustrations,” he said.

Perhaps more disturbing, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film shows one of the school children — covered in the fake exploded flesh of a classmate — giving his official endorsement of the questionable messaging medium, saying, “I think it is fine to explode children for a good cause.”

The whole 10:10 video debacle has been unofficially dubbed “Splattergate,” and many are questioning whether it will have as significant negative impact on the environmentalists’ movement as the Climategate controversy from earlier this year.

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