Benthic surveys of mesophotic reefs in the Gulf of Mexico post Deepwater Horizon (DWH) showed that Swiftia exserta octocorals exhibited significantly more injury than in years before the spill. To determine the vulnerability of S. exserta to oil and dispersants, 96 h toxicity assays of surrogate DWH oil water-accommodated fractions (WAF), Corexit® 9500 dispersant, and the combination of both (CEWAF) were conducted in the laboratory. Fragment mortality occurred within 48 h for some fragments in the dispersant-alone and oil-dispersant treatments, while the WAF group remained relatively unaffected. The 96 h LC50 values were 70.27 mg/L for Corexit-alone and 41.04 mg/L for Corexit in CEWAF. This study provides new information on octocoral sensitivity to toxins, and indicates that combinations of oil and dispersants are more toxic to octocorals than exposure to oil alone. These results have important implications for the assessment of effects of the DWH spill on deep-water organisms.