CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Adroit, the company behind the Don Blankenship-financed documentary about the 2010 tragedy at the Upper Big Branch mine, said it did not deceive people interviewed for the film.

In a statement released to media members Wednesday, Adroit defended “Upper Big Branch — Never Again” and the interviews that have been criticized by some of those appearing in the documentary. That includes U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who was upset that he was never told the documentary was connected with Blankenship.

Adroit released the following statement:

“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides for the freedom of the press and freedom of speech for individuals and companies. The Upper Big Branch mine disaster is a matter of public concern. Every person is entitled under the First Amendment to have an opinion and discuss matters of public concern, including Adroit Films and Don Blankenship.

The purpose behind the “Upper Big Branch – Never Again” documentary is to review forensic evidence from the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that occurred on April 5, 2010. The film seeks to start a public discussion about the need for cooperation among the mining industry, government and mining experts to improve mining safety. Analyzing forensic evidence from tragedies like the explosion at Upper Big Branch and adopting innovations and technology developed by coal companies could bring improvements to mine safety. Don Blankenship is concerned that improvements in mine safety will not be made as long as the geological characteristics of mines and mine disasters are not fully investigated.

Adroit Films did not deceive or intend to deceive any interview subject about the film or its participants. Interview subjects were asked to comment on mine safety and mine disasters. Each signed a release to agree to be interviewed for the film which was identified in the release as being about the Upper Big Branch mine. Information about Adroit Films and its projects is on its publicly accessible website, including information about a recent project produced for Don Blankenship.

The purpose of this project was to start a public discussion about coal mining and mine safety. Thank you for the opportunity to address your questions.”

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  • Wilt Chamberland

    Jeff Jenkins, there is a typo somewhere-- correct it, please.. Did they or didn't they deceive?

  • C.H

    I agree with Thomas, the people of WV have been exploited by outside intrest. Sad thing about it in many cases it has been by the people who have been representing us. Manchin is the master of self promotion he just cant bring himself to not be in front of a camera.

  • Shadow

    A long time ago, I decided that I wasn't smart enough to be a good liar and have lived that way. If someone spoke the truth, how could they have been deceived? It would have been the same story. I thought Manchin's remarks were in order and in keeping up with the theme of the video of improving mine safety.

  • pw

    The first paragraph states "Adroit says it DID deceive people". Is that a typo? Or is that the intended statement? Including or deleting the NOT makes a huge difference!

  • I'm honest at least

    Several years ago when Joe was our gov. A handful of state employees ask for a meeting with him at the capitol. He lied about another meeting would not come out of his office. You get what you deserve you P.O.S.

  • knows

    While the whole country is exponentially GOING TO H@#& MORE EVERY YEAR

  • knows

    If he can't even take 30 secs to read something that he is about to sign then shut the hell up crying.. Joe machine just like every other a#%&*#@ in senate or govt for that matter. Don't read New bills or try to understand them just sign them and be there for the vote so he can reassure us what a great job he is doing.


    Feds say we are working on it... That's Fed apeak for " We aren't going to prosecute anyone. "

  • thomas lemmon

    spoken like a lawyer...Wv has been pissed on long enough...but seems even the ppl that represent us are just as nieve as hillbillys in the hills....wv has been and continues to be raped by outside interests....plz wake up ppl...this is your stsate and u can stop the BS!

  • Robert

    If Joe Manchin doesn't know what giving an interview and signing a release means then he is either ignorant or naive.

    Right, I don't think so.

  • TLC

    Did Joe and all the other people tell the truth? If they did, what's the big deal? They signed a release form. News people do tough interviews all the time on people they disagree with.

    • Rob Nelson

      My thoughts exactly. Speak truth to anyone who asks. Period.

  • John

    Blankenship deserves to be in jail, period.

  • Mike


    "Don Blankenship-based"? That makes it sound like the documentary is about Blankenship. Wouldn't 'Don Blankenship-sponsored' be more accurate.

    Also, Adroit appears with no introduction nor any idea who or what they are until the end of the fourth paragraph.

  • wv4evah

    Adroit appears to be video production company-for hire. Does anyone know for sure who bankrolled this project?

  • RHytonen

    ...but thanks, "Senator from ALEC," for once again reminding us whom you REALLY serve and represent - as it's definitely not the people of West Virginia or America.