Type: News
Date: 11/22/2019

Taft Partner Rob Bilott Inspires Story Behind Major Motion Picture “Dark Waters” and Authors New Book, “Exposure”

Participant and Focus Features’ major motion picture “Dark Waters” is now in select theaters ahead of its broader U.S. release over Thanksgiving weekend. The film’s story is inspired by Taft partner and author Rob Bilott and based on Nathaniel Rich’s The New York Times Magazine exposé, The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare.

“Dark Waters” sheds light on a monumental legal battle led by Bilott and the Taft team against one of the world’s largest corporations. First approached in 1998 in his Taft Cincinnati office by a Parkersburg, W. Va. farmer, Bilott uncovers and publicly reveals DuPont’s role in contaminating local drinking water with toxic waste. The contaminant—a man-made, “Forever Chemical” known as PFOA—can now be found in the blood of virtually every living creature on the planet.

Directed by Academy Award® nominee Todd Haynes, the film stars Oscar® nominee Mark Ruffalo as Bilott and Oscar® winner Anne Hathaway, who plays the role of Bilott’s wife, Sarah Barlage Bilott. Oscar® winner Tim Robbins plays Taft partner Tom Terp. Variety calls the film “the first corporate thriller that’s a call to action because you’ll emerge from it feeling anything but safe.” 

“Bilott is the real superhero of ‘Dark Waters,’” shares Ruffalo, who is also one of the film’s producers. “After reading The New York Times piece, I reached out to Rob about translating the details behind the exposé into film. This is a powerful story that needs to be told.”

“I could not think of a better group of people than the team at Participant and Focus Features to share the story behind ‘Dark Waters,’” states Bilott. “I hope the film will increase awareness of the global PFOA contamination crisis and lead to prompt action by our nation’s leaders.”

Bilott also recently published a new book documenting his story, titled “Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont.” The book is published by Atria/Simon & Schuster and has been called by the New York Times Book Review a “David and Goliath tale with a twist…. Bilott skillfully tells the story of his epic battle with DuPont.” 

Participant, the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires audiences to engage in positive social change, this week launched the “Fight Forever Chemicals” campaign to coincide with the film “Dark Waters” and Bilott’s new book “Exposure.” The campaign will bring the fight against forever chemicals from the margins to the mainstream, demanding stronger protections from leaders in office. “Fight Forever Chemicals” is challenging companies to remove forever chemicals from their products and shelves and will engage a network of influencers to amplify key messages about industrial pollution.

Bilott’s instrumental PFOA legal work has led to class-action suits on behalf of thousands of individuals in the U.S., with active litigation still ongoing in prominent Midwestern cities like Columbus, Ohio. Bilott remains actively involved in various legal proceedings across the country relating to PFOA and the related family of PFAS chemicals. He is a frequent speaker nationally and internationally on PFOA and PFAS-related issues, including recent testimony before the U.S. House.

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