Corporations getting in the crosshairs of regulatory battles is a typical scene. And if you’ve observed long enough, you’ll find that regulatory issues and litigious blunders are part of the package. Hardly will you find any corporation that touts itself as a saint.
However, some corporations live on the other divide. They’re known for their ignoble roles in facilitating some of the most atrocious acts in history. So, what are these companies, and what are their atrocities?
Drug Companies Peddling Opioids Abroad After Creating an Addiction Epidemic in the US
Being a drug company has never been particularly easy. You have to play it smart and safe, which explains why US drug companies would front doctors to prescribe powerful painkillers and claim they’re safe.
A highway to hack the market and rev up profit margins, right?
Well, not exactly, because as time passed, these addictive drugs kick-started a national epidemic of opioid abuse that killed around 200,000.
Speaking about profits, taking out 200,000 customers is not what any marketer expects, not when the product does the extreme opposite of its stated job. But that’s only to euphemize the scale of the damage wrought by these opioids.
As expected, opioid sales in the US plummeted as subsequent legislation began to clamp down on such atrocities. Not for drug companies like Purdue, though, as they had already repurposed their painkiller marketing operations to capture fresh markets abroad.
But they retained the same marketing strategy in the US, mainly paying doctors to host seminars where they can sugarcoat the benefits of opioids as the best way to manage pain.
This strategy delivers once again – as they’re currently recording incredible numbers in China and territories generally familiar with massive opioid addiction.
But the evil stretches even deeper. The world generally suffers from an opioid shortage, with terminal cancer patients, end-stage HIV/AIDS patients, and pregnant women most impacted.
But even such patients aren’t the best target market for these drug behemoths as their pain is short-term, and cheaper, generic morphine can help manage the pain, unlike more expensive, chic drugs like OxyContin.
In the main, they’re after the upwardly mobile and middle class suffering from chronic pain – long-term, loyal buyers and “enthusiastic devotees.” And guess what the Oxford Languages Dictionary calls them? Addicts.
Quaker Oats Partners With MIT to Feed Radioactive Oatmeal to Orphans and Disabled Kids
By the early 20th century, the practice of eugenics had begun to spread like wildfire. The thrust of this idea, spearheaded by Darwin’s ambitious cousin, Francis Galton, pushes for a superior race of humans that decided who could breed and who couldn’t.
It advocated a moral obligation to raise a generation of healthy kids. Persons classified as feeble-minded, deformed, disabled, deaf, or blind had to be collected together in one place and sterilized from time to time to make them better humans.
Of course, the Americans picked up on this idea, except they probably took it to more extraordinary lengths. When Fernald State School opened in the 1920s, what many saw was a school, an institute to serve persons with developmental abilities.
But as time passed, it degenerated into a holding pen for kids deemed morons, imbeciles, and idiots. Even unwanted kids and orphans of normal intelligence were included; after all, the institution could use some free manual labor now and then.
Enter Quaker Oats.
These were the 1940s, and here, the conditions at Fernald were worse than deplorable. Forced labor, beatings, isolation, and sexual abuse so much flourished you’d think you were in Sodom.
Yet, amid these vices, some gentlemen from Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed up, offering gifts like extra breakfast rations and trips to watch soccer games to a selected group of kids after enlisting them as members of a “Science Club for Children.”
For Fernald, it was a precious opportunity to shake things up and finally get their kids to experience fun, so they jumped at it.
That explains the failure to do due diligence on their new benefactors. Because what they didn’t know was the oatmeal in the breakfast offered to these kids was intermixed with calcium tracers and radioactive irons.
The whole Science Club charade was a front to facilitate an experiment commissioned by Quaker Oats Company, mainly to assess the nutrition levels of their oatmeal compared to other competitors.
The radiation levels in the oatmeal were harmless, but Quaker fell short because of its disregard for the kids’ consent. Neither the kids nor their parents were asked if they were open to playing a quick Lab Rat cameo.
In law, the question of kids giving consent is a typically tricky minefield to navigate. But make no mistake, Quaker Oats knew they were completely out of line as the Nuremberg Code banning exploitative research practices had just been released.
So, in the late 1990s, dozens of Fernald pupils came together to file a class action suit against Quaker, MIT, and the government, but later agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $3 million.
Coca-Cola Eliminating Tap Water From Restaurants to Boost its Revenue
In 2010, US restaurants lost revenue as most customers flavored water over coke. “Not on my watch,” Coca-Cola pulled a Captain America, attempting to save these restaurants from bankruptcy – supposedly.
Famed for its deep commitment to social responsibility, Coca-Cola launched a program tagged “Cap the Tap.” According to Coca-Cola’s official website, “Cap the Tap” was a campaign against water waste.
However, the same campaign material betrays its very noble objectives as it states its intention to teach crew members or restaurant wait staff suggestive selling methods to convert tap water requests into orders for revenue-generating beverages.
The program invites, trains, and rewards waiters for pushing diet soda, smoothies, and iced tea on customers.
Still, if they insisted on drinking water, then they should offer them bottled water – none other than Coca-Cola’s Dasani, of course. But here’s where things get pretty weird.
Coca-Cola is doing the extreme opposite for a company that postures to end water waste. The most absurd part is it takes more water to package bottled water than the water in the container.
Bottled water poses an environmental disaster and is worse for kids than tap water, which is safer when well-regulated. Worse still, bottled water is tap water itself, so Coca-Cola takes more water to package otherwise free tap water and sells them at ridiculous prices.
The US National Football League Gaslights Mothers into Supporting their Kids’ Football Ambition
When it comes to football, the NFL has a problem. Unfortunately, with all its falling ratings and scandals, the NFL’s future is worse than bleak.
It’s not enough that the league is losing its younger viewers by geometric proportions; it is losing its young players too. These kids make up the league’s talent pool and most vibrant viewership, but the numbers deplete each year as football takes on a somewhat sordid reputation across the US.
One of the primary reasons the NFL is losing its young players is that the danger football poses to kids has discouraged many parents, particularly moms, from allowing their kids to join the local leagues and play football.
Unfortunately, data doesn’t offer any reprieve, as research shows that 60% of the NFL’s most loyal fans started following football before elementary school. Playing them is the best way to catch them young, but their moms… don’t quite buy the idea.
The NFL is very aware of this, so they’re pulling all the cards.
The first hook was to alleviate the mom’s fears. In doing this, they established “Moms Football Safety Clinics,” where mothers are drilled and offered reassuring sessions like football is safer than cycling.
They tell them the media is the enemy, guilty of misinforming the public and blowing the frequency of concussions and other sports hazards out of proportion. But that is entirely untrue.
Plus, it’s on record that these clinics also downplay the risk of brain damage in football or, in some cases, pretend that there’s no risk of harm.
Worse, they gaslight and manipulate these mothers by making them feel their fears are why their children can’t chase their dreams. The problem is that the propensity to suffer brain damage from football has been repeatedly proven true.
And when you use twisted facts and pathos to manipulate parents into seeing themselves as the roadblock to achieving their dreams, that is corporate fraud and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.
Facebook Manipulating How People’s Feelings and Political Choices
Gone are the days when social media was merely a pastime and multi gallery of other people’s social lives. Today, it’s how we get new updates and trending issues across the globe.
You log into your Facebook account, and suddenly, there’s a shift in your mood and opinions on sensitive matters. This sounds interesting in theory, but knowing Facebook as it is, there’s more than meets the eye.
As the 2010 US congressional elections drew near, Facebook embarked on an experiment that essentially guilt-tripped random people to vote by filling up their feeds with photos of civically responsible friends.
The result saw over 340,000 Facebook users influenced to go to the polls. Facebook’s mind tricks had just begun considering such overwhelming success.
From selling $100,000 worth of ads to Russian troll farms during the 2016 elections to pushing fake stories over the real ones to generate mass panic and harvesting your activities to sell your personality profile to advertising firms, Facebook clearly has no limits.
This explains why firms like Cambridge Analytica could somehow collect the data of 87 million Facebook users to manipulate users into voting for Donald Trump in the elections. Or employ new feeds and articles to discourage targeted Anti-Jew or anti-Muslim voters from voting against Hillary Clinton.
And each time these scandals surface, Facebook says they’re on top of it, whereas there’s almost always a major Facebook data scandal each year.
The Tape Scandals: How Enron Caused Blackouts in the US to Profit Off High Energy Prices
That Enron is evil is stale gist, one so distant yet vivid you could almost feel it. The truth is, most of what you heard about Enron isn’t that bad: they’re actually bottom-barrel evil.
For example, in 2001, rumors traveled that Enron had intentionally caused blackouts so that energy demand would legitimize their increased energy prices.
When asked, Enron’s CEO Kennedy Law quipped, replying that they were merely conspiracy theories and should be disregarded. And we did – but for two months.
Because two months later, a scandalous tape found its way into the media. In it, Enron is heard causing facilitating a blackout, precisely from the 38 seconds of the audio playback.
An employee called Rich called a power plant in Las Vegas, asking them to come up with a reason to go down on the power supply. The other guy agrees like it’s not an issue – and you can guess this has been going on for a while now.
However, this instance isn’t a regular chain in a series of blackouts; it happened in the wake of the California energy crisis when the government directed a supply of generators across the West to the state.
And while we’re at this, another tape shows up. This one clears all possible presumptions about Enron’s energy scandal and how much it’s making from it.
In this tape, the employees are laughing about stealing $1 million daily out of California, scamming old grannies, and then segueing into a chat about the country’s problems.
According to sources, Enron made over $1.6 billion in profits. Worse, a poor Gray Davis, then Governor of California, lost his job to the Terminator after one of the most tumultuous tenures in the state’s history.
There’s a legal concept that treats corporations as humans who hide behind a veil. That’s obvious since humans generally make up these establishments.
The irony, however, is that this legal fiction suggests that corporations can be as evil, sometimes more. Quaker Oats, Facebook, NFL, Enron, Coca-Cola, and Purdue are all needed proof. a