This article analyzes individuals’ subjective perceptions of the Mauritius oil-spill pictures as (un)forgivable offenses on the part of the oil-tanker company responsible for the spill. Utilizing Q Methodology, this research examined a Q sample of 37 crisis photos drawn from a concourse of 158 pictures published in various news media globally. The article identified at least two groups of people who indicated variant perceptions of the company upon recognition of pictures depicting the crisis. Their perceptions ranged from the most forgiving to the most unforgiving attitudes toward of the company. Explained with attribution theory, the pictures illustrating the extent of the damage seem to shift people’s perceived crisis responsibility from external to internal attributions. Real-world implications are also discussed.
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