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Jesse Armstrong helps fight Shell

Emmy-winning Succession writer Jesse Armstrong hands Greenpeace £25k to fight Shell lawsuit
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Greenpeace UK protesters erect a giant spoof billboard outside Shell’s HQ accusing them of fueling climate change and therefore complicity in last week’s devastating wildfires in Southern Europe as the company announced billions in profits from the last three months. The billboard, which features an image of a Greek firefighter battling to contain a wildfire near Athens last week, is emblazoned with Shell’s logo and features the slogan “Our profit, your loss”, drawing attention to the oil and gas industry’s responsibility for the climate crisis- fueled extreme weather that people are now experiencing across the world at unprecedented rates

Succession writer Jesse Armstrong has handed a £25k donation to Greenpeace as it battles a multimillion pound ‘intimidation lawsuit’ from oil and gas giant Shell, which Armstrong compared with the attempt by character Greg Hirsch to sue the green group in the show.

Armstrong co-wrote British comedy shows Peep Show and Fresh Meat before creating Succession, which won Best Drama at the Emmys last week.

Armstrong’s donation brings the total amount Greenpeace has raised in emergency donations from supporters to fight the legal case to £280,000.

The lawsuit

Shell launched the lawsuit against Greenpeace in late 2023 in response to a peaceful protest by the organisation earlier that year, in which activists occupied a moving oil platform to protest against the climate change loss and damage caused by Shell.

Shell is demanding around $1 million in damages, as well as legal costs that could rise into the millions. This is one of the biggest legal threats against Greenpeace in its more than 50-year history.  
Armstrong compared Shell’s suit against Greenpeace with that proposed by ‘Cousin’ Greg Hirsch, great-nephew of series antagonist Logan Roy, after his inheritance is donated to the environmental group during Season 3 of Succession.

A video parodying Shell’s lawsuit using clips from the show last Friday received nearly a million views across Greenpeace’s social media channels.

‘Don’t listen to people who tell you satire has no effect in the real world. On Succession we wrote a storyline featuring Cousin Greg taking legal action against Greenpeace to recover money he thought he should have been bequeathed. It is inspiring news that, perhaps with this example in mind, the Anglo-Dutch petrochemical giant Shell is suing Greenpeace for having the temerity to protest against them.
‘The fact that Shell initially offered to reduce its damages claim if Greenpeace agreed to stop protesting on its infrastructure forever, seemed like a particularly cool move. It made me ponder a question Tom Wambsgans asked Greg: ‘I like your style, Shell. Who’re you gonna go after next, ‘Save the Children’?’

Emmy-winning writer of Succession

Greenpeace refuses Shell’s conditions

The lawsuit is over a peaceful protest which saw six activists occupy Shell’s Penguins floating production storage and offloading [FPSO] unit for 13 days, from January 31 to February 12.

During that time Shell announced record annual profits of nearly $40bn.

Shell initially offered to reduce its damages claim if Greenpeace agreed to stop protests at its infrastructure at sea or in port anywhere in the world, forever; Greenpeace refused these conditions.

Activists were calling on the company to stop drilling for new oil and gas, and instead take responsibility for causing climate breakdown and start paying into the climate loss and damage fund which has been agreed by world leaders at global climate talks.

The Penguins platform is the first new operated vessel for Shell in the northern North Sea for 30 years.

At peak production the project is expected to yield the equivalent of 45,000 barrels of oil per day, and Shell has suggested it could open up further areas for exploration.

‘We’re delighted by Jesse’s support and his generous donation. We took action against Shell because its policies are driving climate chaos around the world – and the UK government is doing nothing to stop them.
‘Under CEO Wael Sawan, Shell is making billions off sky high energy prices, while those who’ve done the least to cause the climate crisis are left to pick up the tab. Shell is suing Greenpeace to silence legitimate demands for climate justice, but we’re not giving up. We will keep fighting until Shell stops drilling and starts paying for the damage they are causing to our planet and everyone living on it.’

Joint executive director at Greenpeace UK

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