Was I really shocked when I heard Josh Fox, the director of Gasland, say he knew about 1936 reports of people lighting their water taps on fire but it wasn’t relevant to his film? Maybe pleasantly surprised catches it better; not surprised he knew but surprised he admitted it on camera. For reasons explained below you will have to be quick to see the video here. Too late, it’s been moved here.
At an investor update in Montreal recently, a long time (former) investor said that he would not invest in Questerre or shale gas because he had seen Gasland.
I asked him how he was sure he could believe Gasland and his reply was, “It’s a documentary”.
I said to him and the other 100 people present, ”You can’t call Gasland a documentary in the same way a National Geographic film is a documentary.” Many regulators have publicly announced that Gasland has errors in it. The public regulator from Pennsylvania said the director of Gasland ”was a propagandist”. It has been debunked. What is a surprise is that Josh Fox debunked his own film more thoroughly than anyone else could do.
That Josh Fox knew all along that ”There is methane in water, it happens,” and ”There are reports from 1936 of people lighting their taps on fire,” isn’t a surprise for those who have checked the facts.
In our industry there are severe sanctions if the information we provide proves to be materially misleading. We have securities laws, liability law, public accounting requirements, and the obligations from various professional organizations. Industry cannot provide inaccurate or misleading information because it is responsible and faces sanctions. We are also transparent about our biases which everyone has but not everyone is transparent about. The public can and should rely on this when they are deciding who they can trust. For example, you can rely on the fact sheets at: www.questerre.com.
Gasland is very clearly misleading in a material way as many other people have pointed out before me. If industry did that there would be sanctions. Like all of the general public Josh Fox has freedom of speech and there should be no sanction for him. I believe in Josh Fox’s right to produce his film and intentionally omit what ever information he wants to.
Equally I believe my former investor and the public have a right to be aware that Josh Fox intentionally omitted information. They can make up their own mind if reports of taps lighting on fire from 1936 are relevant or not to shale gas.
Josh Fox doesn’t seem to agree with me. Ironically New video and Gasland Productions have taken legal action against Phelim McAleer, the person who caught Josh Fox on film. He has been forced to take his video off of YouTube and Vimeo. You can still see it here.
Honestly, I am not really shocked about that either.