By Isobel Frodsham, PA
Joe Lycett staged a stunt outside Shell’s HQ in London to campaign against the company’s “greenwashing”.
The comedian (33) arrived outside the offices in a yellow bus painted with a mural of a mock Shell advert featuring the caption “We’re turning our carbon emissions green for earth day”.
He and several dancers then performed a routine that culminated in Lycett being sprayed with grey paint to represent oil.
A parody television advert starring Lycett was then shown outside the firm’s HQ.
Hi @Shell_UKLtd! Not heard from you in a while. 😞 Is everything ok hunni? Did I mention I’m making a documentary about you? I have learnt A LOT but would absolutely love to talk to Daddy Van Beurden on camera if he can spare 5 mins xoxo 🏭 👀
— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) October 2, 2021
The stunt was filmed as part of a Rumpus Media documentary called Joe Lycett vs The Oil Giant, which looks at the energy company, its marketing and its exploration for new oil reserves.
The documentary will be aired by Channel 4 ahead of the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow later this month.
Lycett told the PA news agency: “I’ve been making a documentary about the concept of greenwashing and Shell is one of the companies that seem to do a lot of greenwashing.
“I’d like to chip away at climate change and get them to change their policy. But realistically, they seem to bury their heads in the sand around this thing.”
He added that while Shell was doing “brilliant things” by investing in renewables, the “fraction” of renewables to fossil fuels the company was handling was unacceptable and his aim was for Shell to “stop taking oil out of the ground”.
The presentation follows a number of stunts the comedian has undertaken recently, largely for his consumer rights show Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, including walking off a show in July to raise awareness of single-use plastics.
Lycett said his decision to get more involved in campaigning against climate change came after he met a group of Extinction Rebellion protesters who were cleared of causing criminal damage to Shell’s London headquarters in April.
“Their story is amazing,” he told PA. “I felt like that sort of approach is being done by Extinction Rebellion, and actually, something more light, fluffy and silly could be done by me. That’s what I do, I’m a comedian.”
Lycett added that while he was unable to attend Cop26, Darren Cullen, an artist who created the bus, would be at the event with the vehicle.
Mr Cullen (38) said: “I’ve done a few projects, such as taking over billboard spaces about Shell’s greenwashing PR, and I previously had a similar installation to this in Glastonbury 2017.
“I always planned to do another for Cop26, so this time, I decided to turn this project into a single-decker bus.”
He added that he was approached by Lycett to see if he was interested in working on the stunt with him for his documentary after the TV star saw his work online.
“Today was brilliant, it was great to bring it down here and have it in front of Shell’s headquarters,” Mr Cullen added.
A Shell spokesperson said: “As Joe points out, we are already investing billions of dollars in lower-carbon energy. We need to grow these new businesses rapidly if we are to alter the mix of energy we sell.
“That means letting our customers know – whether through advertising or social media – what lower-carbon solutions we offer now or are developing, so they can switch when the time is right for them.
“But the world still needs oil and gas for years to come – and investment in them will ensure we can supply the energy people can rely on, while lower-carbon alternatives are scaled up.”