When we spoke with “Vampire Diaries” and “Lost” star Ian Somerhalder in May for Zap2it’s sister publication the Los Angeles Times, he was still reeling from the tragic news of the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion and the subsequent oil leak into the Gulf of Mexico.
Today Somerhalder, who was raised in Covington, La., is horrified that the leak still hasn’t been plugged and that up to 60,000 barrels of oil are still pouring into the Gulf every day.
“Never in a million years did I think that we’d be having this conversation two months later,” he tells Zap2it. “You know when something bad happens in your life, or something goes wrong — that weird kind of really uneasy feeling you have in the pit of your stomach? I’ve had that for two months.”
Somerhalder returns to work on “The Vampire Diaries” on July 13, but he’s devoted his time off this summer to tireless work in the Gulf region. Tonight (June 21), Somerhalder will be participating in Larry King‘s special two-hour telethon “Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help” on CNN at 8 p.m. EST.
Joining Somerhalder are Justin Bieber, Sting, Pete Wentz, Chelsea Handler, Cameron Diaz, Alyssa Milano, and many more celebrities devoted to the cause.
Stars will talk to Larry King and participate in telephone banks to take viewers’ calls, and Ryan Seacrest will be hosting an online Social Suite for celebs to touch base with fans on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtag #CNNHelpGulf to participate.
“I’ve been working in Grand Isle, which is sort of Ground Zero right now,” Ian says. “Basically, the entire area is shut down. Everyone from the waitress who serves you breakfast to the guy who owns the charter boat to the shrimpers – they all literally rely on the ocean to keep their industry going. They’re shaking in their boots right now, because their industry is dead. Think about how frightening it is when you suddenly, though no fault of your own, can’t feed your children or pay your mortgage.”
He continues, “All of this happened due to human error – the error is cutting corners, saving money at the expense of safety measures, and a nonexistent regulatory commission. The [U.S. Minerals Management Service] gets royalties from the oil industry. How is that any kind of regulatory body?”
Somerhalder strongly believes that the horrific impact of B.P.’s oil leak will change the way our nation operates, from an individual level to the federal government. “It’s time to change, and I think this disaster is the game changer. It feels like this is one of those catastrophic events that truly changes the way that we think.”
For information about how you can help, watch CNN June 21st at 8 p.m. EST and check out United Way, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Nature Conservancy. Keep an eye on Zap2it for much more from our interview with Ian Somerhalder and other CW stars working in the Gulf Region.