CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who appears in Don Blankenship’s new documentary on the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy, said Monday he was misled about the intent of the film and Blankenship’s involvement.

The production, “Upper Big Branch — Never Again,” was produced by Adroit Films and financed by Blankenship, the former Massey Energy CEO. He continues to promote that the 2010 incident in which 29 miners died was the result of a natural disaster gas explosion and not unsafe work conditions cited by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Manchin, who supports the MSHA’s evaluation, said he was never told of Blankenship’s backing when the production team interviewed him about mine safety.

The senator released the following statement Monday:

“Adroit Films, the propaganda firm behind this shameful documentary, never disclosed to me the intent of this film. They lied to my face and told me this documentary was focused on mine safety, an issue I have been committed to since the Farmington Mine disaster that killed my uncle and 77 miners. Had I known the film was in any way associated with Don Blankenship, I would have never agreed to the interview. I spoke with them for more than half an hour about mine safety and how we must prevent an Upper Big Branch disaster from ever happening again. Yet, the producers only dedicated one minute and thirty-two seconds of my thirty-minute interview to mine safety – one of the most important issues in West Virginia – to attempt to vindicate Don Blankenship. He should be more concerned with his role in the deaths of 29 brave miners and the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation rather than filming a propaganda documentary. I am not only livid that I was lied to, but I am even more enraged that Don Blankenship would manipulate a tragedy to promote himself and his own agenda. I am going to pursue every legal recourse available against Adroit’s despicable tactics. The most tragic part of all of this is that the families of these miners are forced to suffer yet again at the hands of Don Blankenship.”

Blankenship was the president at Massey Energy when a massive explosion happened at its Upper Big Branch mine on April 5, 2010.

The MSHA concluded Massey Energy manipulated records to conceal hazards at the mine.

The documentary does include a disclaimer at the beginning:

“The experts interviewed for this documentary are commenting on forensic evidence and scientific principles. Their participation in this documentary is not in association of affiliation with Don Blankenship nor with one another.”

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Comments

  • The Answer

    How ironic a bull s*****r got bull s*****d....

    • Jonus Grumby

      + 1

    • David Kennedy

      Sounds like Joe doing an impression of John Kerry with all this waffling.
      After all the media hoopla is over, I'm sure he and Don B. will have lunch at the Greenbrier to discuss the success of the film.
      Nobody on the planet earth does a lengthy interview without finding out what its about...not even Joe... LOL Tell me another one.

    • Chris

      I agree. This is hilarious.

    • GSCsBB1

      agreed

  • Wowbagger

    I have my doubts about Blankenship, but it strikes me that Joe is assuming quite a lot about his guilt without a conviction.

    • Gary K.

      29-miners dead=Don Blankenship has blood on his hands. And your solution it's Manchin's fault. ABSOLUTE STUPIDITY. You know mental health is part of the ACA. you clowns need a lot of it.

      • BR

        I don't think ANYBODY is accusing ol Joey of being directly involved Gary; just that he is a lying sack of dung that self-promotes any chance he gets (and this time it came back to bite him!).

        But it is clear a visit to ACA may help your man-crush you seem to have on the wonderful Senator.

  • Curmudgeon

    Joe lied to the people at Sago too. He knew that the miners were dead three hours before the press told everyone but he said nothing

    • What's the Use

      Did you want him to announce it in a news conference?

      • Curmudgeon

        I believe anyone that knew the truth in the 4-5 hours should have said something. Loved ones had been given a false hope for several hours. And then they were kicked in the gut a second time when the truth came out.

  • I'm honest at least

    Ironic......I think its kinda funny

  • Picklebee

    Joe:
    Now you know how we common folk feel when our so-called leaders lie to us.

  • formerstateemployee

    Well Joe why not

    "form a committee"
    or
    "task force"
    or do a
    "study"
    then you all can
    "sit at the table"
    and then
    "find common ground"
    or as usual

    NEVER HEAR ANYTHING ABOUT IT AGAIN

    • JustaFan

      LOL

  • Jeremy

    Where can I see this documentary.. It must be pretty good.

    • Jason412

      It's the youtube video at the top of the page.

      • jeremy

        Thanks, I read the article without noticing the video before posting. LOL

  • Shadow

    Manchin was angry as he was blindsided by his own Government and he exposed his bias toward Massey. The whole video was a proposal on what has to be done to make mining safer. The whole investigation was a sham from the beginning.

  • DWL

    There's a first! A politician that says he was lied too. Usually its the other way around.

  • Independent View

    How ironic----hello pot this is kettle!

  • WV Patriot

    Why is it taking so long to indict Blankenship for the murders of our courageous miners. There is more than enough evidence and statements from Blankenship's employees to indict/convict him of murder. I guess this is history repeating itself where Coal Barrens can egregiously kill miners as long as they make the right campaign donations to the right politicians and those who are in charge mine inspections. The question remains, "Why hasn't Blankenship been indicted for 29 murders."?????

    Let us never forget these 29 brave fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, friends whom were murdered for Coal Barron GREED.!!!!!

    • David Kennedy

      Sen. Manchin is a Coal Baron...just to let you in on the secret...

    • Gary K.

      Because the gov. wants to make sure DB goes away forever

    • Shadow

      Did you write this before or after you watched the video? My belief is that you never watched it!

      • Jason412

        Shadow,

        I watched it. Are you saying you believe Blankenship shares no blame in what happened and it should all be blamed on natural gas? Just trying to clarify what you mean with "the investigation was a sham" and hear your point of view.

        • Shadow

          The investigation had its conclusion formed at the start like a lot of other studies, ie Global Warming. The investigation was not conducted by an independent agency, the Mining Agency did not want any blood on its hands so it kept itself in charge. The group that knew more about the mine was not allowed to be a part of the team although they were the most knowledgeable, the leader was/is of dubious character, and as the video showed, scientific facts known to mining experts were not considered. I think the most damning thing was stated in the video that the report assumed that the miners were too dumb to know when the area was unsafe. The facts have shown all the time that the gas that exploded was not present at the start of the shift.

  • Funky

    Seriously, why do I need a moderator to check my comments? C'mon, I'm a big time John Raese man!

  • Funky

    Don Blankenship is The Devil.

  • WVUDAD

    Would you have said something different if you knew? Come on Senator, politicians telling different audiences different stories is getting OLD!

  • Hedgesville

    well joe, your a u.s. senator. use your powers and resources to bring this man to justice. don't just talk