The Town In Erin Brockovich Only Got Worse After The Movie
In Erin Brockovich, our titular knight in shining miniskirt succeeds in bringing down the big bad Pacific Gas & Electric for polluting the small town of Hinkley, California with a dangerous chemical called chromium-6. She earns the downtrodden townsfolk a big financial payout, and the actress who played her earned a Best Actress Oscar.
Unfortunately, despite all of that, Hinkley would go on to sink to even more depressing depths. In the years following the film, chromium-6 actually became a lot more pervasive than it had been before the legal action took place. Brockovich herself recently lamented that the change she implemented is being undone by the people in power, and that the issues she highlighted over 20 years ago continue to persist.
Hinkley is now a virtual ghost town. People and businesses began fleeing the area en masse, and in 2012, Pacific Gas & Electric started buying Hinkley properties and demolishing them to prevent squatting. Apparently, destroying the town figuratively wasn't enough for these guys.
VOA/C. RichardIt doesn't really paint a picture of a rejuvenated population when the town wasn't even included in the last census.
Related: 6 Movies Based On A True Story That Left Out Important Stuff
For Many Survivors, The Sinking Of The Titanic Was Only The Start
Mere days after the survivors of the Titanic disaster arrived on dry land, they were dragged in front of the Senate for a series of intense hearings which aimed to figure out how the disaster occurred. It seems "iceberg" wasn't good enough for them. The process was naturally traumatic for many of the survivors, as they were forced to relive awful (and incredibly recent) experiences.
United States Senate Historical OfficeBefore large crowds of onlookers, naturally, because being grilled by the Senate isn't stressful enough on its own.
And they got off light (uh ... comparatively speaking). Six Chinese men who survived the sinking were detained upon arrival and then deported, barred from entering the U.S. due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, which had been in place since 1882. They were never heard from again. Not even Lemony Snicket could dream up such a succession of bad luck.
Many male survivors were mercilessly, mercilessly shamed for living through it, as prevailing public opinion held that they should've given their lives to save more women and children. A prominent victim of that rancor was Masabumi Hosono, who lost his civil service job upon returning to Japan. He lived the rest of his life in disgrace, labeled a coward in newspapers and school textbooks. Normally you have to commit some serious genocide for that kind of treatment.
As a final insult, the White Star Line wasn't held liable for the tragedy, even though they were clearly responsible for it every step of the way. Survivors around the world -- many of whom suffered permanent injuries, trauma, and the loss of loved ones and priceless belongings -- launched a class-action suit against the White Star Line, demanding compensation of over $16 million. White Star ended up paying a minuscule fraction of that: $664,000. Maybe Rose did Jack a favor by not scooching to the side of that floating door.
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