Judges were unaware that they were about to receive quite the literal slam at Shell's recent "Science Slam," an event in Berlin, Germany on December 11 for young scientists to showcase their projects and research.
German activist Jean Peters and a partner hijacked the event, demonstrating an oil spill by spewing water dyed with food coloring out of a machine that read "Slam Shell" in golden-yellow and red text -- coating the activists, judges and audience members in a brown-colored liquid.
"We can can pull the plug out here, but not in the Arctic!" Peters reportedly exclaimed in German. He's an activist who opposes Shell's Arctic drilling ambitions and lists terms like "social movements," "civil disobedience," and "direct action" on his Twitter profile.
Shell ended the event soon after, a Shell spokeswoman confirmed to the Berliner Zeitung.
"The event had to be cancelled due to a disturbance shortly before the end, so that the jury did their part of the rating during the day only today," Shell posted on their German website, according to a translation. "Shell respects the right to freedom of expression and welcomes constructive dialogue and substantive contributions to solutions for the energy future. We therefore regret the process especially with regard to the other Slammer."
Since the event, Peters and his anti-Shell group, "SlamShell" have received considerable media attention, as curated on Peters' Twitter page. He's posted that Shell Germany started following a member of the SlamShell group on Twitter, and retweeted a post by the self-described civil disobedience group Peng Collective:
SlamShell says on its website:
[Shell] consciously create socio-ecological damage and show no real commitment to changing this. They work hard to make it look like they care about the impact of their endless quest for oil, distracting the public with showy PR events like the Science Slam. This is called Greenwashing. It is the opposite of responsibility. Taking actual responsibility would be Shell cleaning up its mess and taking action to prevent further damage. Taking responsibility would mean not fulfilling plans to drill in the Arctic.
This week's event wasn't the first time protesters have challenged Shell's Arctic drilling plans. A video released in June 2012 seemingly showed a major mishap at a Shell press event in Seattle, but the entire event was revealed to be a hoax staged by activist duo The Yes Men and Greenpeace.
Opposition toward drilling has grown since the Russian oil and gas company Gazprom began offshore exploration in the Arctic. Experts fear oil spills are likely in the Arctic, posing a threat to pristine ecosystems.
Following several mishaps in 2012, Shell plans to attempt offshore drilling in the Chukchi sea north of Alaska in 2014. “Shell screwed up in 2012," former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said earlier this year following a report that Shell was not adequately prepared to drill in the Arctic.