The 5 Most Purely Evil Leaked Memos From Famous Companies
We all know that corporations cannot be trusted. That's why they're among the most commonly used bad guys in our movies, right after evil robots and people with accents. But unlike those villains, big businesses don't break into lengthy monologues detailing their schemes when they get caught. Instead, they'll try to hide how deep their misconduct goes -- like an iceberg made of white-collar crimes. But occasionally, a bit of paperwork surfaces which proves that, while we think they couldn't get any worse, these organizations can always kick their scum-sucking evil up to 11.
Hackers Reveal Ashley Madison Blackmailed Customers Who Wanted A Refund
Cheating on your spouse online can be a double-edged sword. One the one hand, it now only takes a few clicks to completely disintegrate a marriage -- that used to be such a hassle. But on the other hand, the internet never forgets. All those dirty emails, dick pics, etc. floating around the cloud leaves cheaters vulnerable to blackmail. Even professional "have an affair" websites like Ashley Madison still require cheaters to hand over their credit cards and IP addresses -- which is only a problem if you think a website that monetizes homewrecking could prove to be a bit shady. Which they are.
"Also, give us the last four digits of your Social Security number, your first pet's name, and the street you grew up on. We need them for the getting-you-laid algorithm."
Fortunately, they're also about as dumb as their customer base when it comes to leaving an online paper trail.
Ashley Madison, named after every rich guy's third wife, became even more notorious after the hack that leaked all of its user data. But besides the shocking name-dropping that accompanied said hack, perhaps the saddest revelation was that most of the male clientele probably never even had affairs. Ashley Madison documents revealed that 80 percent of men's first attempts at chatting up future mistresses resulted in them talking to bots -- the many artificial hussies Ashley Madison had to put in their system to hide the fact that (surprise) not that many actual women wanted to touch that gross website with a 10-foot pole. Of course, the few dirtbags with enough blood left in their brains to administer the most basic Turing test didn't take kindly to being duped. Yet when some tried to withhold payment for the shoddy service, the company made them an offer they couldn't refuse:
"Nice married life you've got there. Be a shame if something were to ... happen to it."
Here's a good test to see if something's a threat: If they have to say that it's not a threat, that's a lie and it's a threat. Ashley Madison made it clear that they weren't blackmailing their disgruntled customers; the customers were simply forcing the company to send a document detailing their infidelity to their family homes. It seemed to have worked like a charm, until their database got hacked and all their own dirty little secrets came pouring out. If everyone working at Ashley Madison wasn't a soulless husk, we're sure even they would've appreciated the irony.
Olympus Pretended That They Didn't Know Their Medical Equipment Was Killing People
Hospitals are a weird concept. To get healthy, we have to go to a building that's basically a youth hostel for viruses. That's why medical facilities try their hardest to keep their environment as clean and germ-free as possible. So when we think of the dirty hands and crusty scalpels that cause hospital-acquired infections and superbugs that laugh in the face of doctors and nurses, we usually imagine some three-wall shack with a Red Cross banner. Surely, the companies selling equipment to our nice, safe hospitals make sure everything is as shiny and clean. Well, one out of two isn't that bad, right?
Japanese company Olympus has its fingers in many pies. They're mostly known for manufacturing those cheap digital cameras nobody uses anymore, but they also dabble in state-of-the-art medical devices. Yet Olympus didn't hold up its end of the Hippocratic Oath by proxy when it launched its duodenoscopes -- multi-purpose tubes that doctors shove down patients' throats when they don't want to cut them open. These tubes suffered from a design flaw that can sometimes keep them from being fully disinfected, and trust us when we say that you never want to put anything in your mouth that hasn't been properly cleaned.
"Click to learn more about our groundbreaking five-second rule."
The company first became aware of this problem when superbug outbreaks started happening across Europe. Olympus notified hospitals there in January of 2013, yet documentation revealed that the company already knew of the emergency back in 2012. Even worse, when American employees started to voice concern that their regions might be next, emails were sent out explaining that no warning would be issued for America because the level of danger was "acceptable." Considering how at least 35 Americans have since died and hundreds more were infected, we guess they meant "acceptable" the way that cereal companies use that word when describing the amount of rat feces in their cornflakes.
"Snitches get Olympus-brand stitches."
Not that Olympus was content with sitting on its hands while this disaster unraveled. They immediately started blaming hospitals for causing the outbreak by not cleaning their scopes properly. An Olympus representative even told a Pittsburgh hospital that they could avoid more deaths by buying an Olympus-brand washer -- which not only came with a $25,000 price tag, but also didn't work. Fortunately, the rep was already in a hospital, so the doctors could treat his inhumanly huge balls.
Then in March 2014, Olympus received an email from a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a warning that 40 percent of their scopes tested by his lab were positive for bacterial infection, and that he was 100 percent sure that his lab had followed the cleaning protocol properly. This left Olympus with no other option but to issue a recall -- but again, they held off doing so, this time until January 2016. That sounds like an irresponsibly long time to take before acting on a proven fatal flaw, but we're sure Olympus deemed it "acceptable."
So why didn't that UNC professor go to the press in the first place? Maaaybe you'd be reticent too if Olympus was a corporate partner of the university. And while we're on the subject of dodgy universities ...
Testimonies Reveal That Penn State Knew About Child Abuse Since The '70s
The aftershocks of the Penn State scandal -- that is, decades of sexual abuse of children by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky through his outreach program for young kids -- keep on coming. Besides confirming that Sandusky had ruined a staggering amount of young lives, the trial has also revealed that the university's leaders knew about Sandusky's vile crimes since at least the late '90s, and ignored them out of fear of negative publicity (one of those pesky side effects when your employee is molesting children). But now, court documents suggest that these people had in fact known for much, much longer -- all the way back to the first time tie-dye went out of fashion.
In 2012, the Freeh Report declared that head coach Joe Paterno and several other key members of Pennsylvania State University had known about the abuse since 1998. This resulted in quite a few ruined reputations and the firing of Paterno -- a small price to pay for their "total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims." Some thought that there wasn't enough evidence to prove that Paterno knew about the abuse, and that this was nothing but a publicity stunt by the school, which was throwing out the baby with the child abuser.
But in 2014, a man known as John Doe 150 claimed that he had told Paterno about Sandusky in 1976, meaning that Paterno may have known and not have done anything about it way before we thought he knew and hadn't done anything about it. Additional documented testimony suggests that other employees of Penn State learned of Sandusky's actions in the '80s and early '90s. Then a former assistant testified and accused most of his ex-colleagues of looking the other way. By now, there are so many reported moments of Penn State staffers letting Sandusky prey on kids that they probably had to ask for overtime to fit all that criminal neglect into their work schedules.
Not that that'll stop some Nittany Lions fans from preferring trophies over child safety ...
Those same people are currently petitioning to have Paterno's statue added back to campus. Forget it, Jake. It's college football.
Toyota Recalls Floor Mats, Ignores Sticky Accelerators/Brakes
You may remember that time Toyota had fatal acceleration problems with some of its vehicles, and how they initially said it was driver error, but eventually recalled the cars because some floor mats would trap the accelerator. It was another example of a billion-dollar company ignoring a serious problem until enough people shone a spotlight on it that they had no choice but to own up to their mistakes. At least, that seemed to be the case until further investigation revealed that Toyota had a few more mistakes to admit to, but instead were using the spotlight to blind everyone so they could hide all the other bad shit no one had caught onto yet.
In a logic-defying twofer, a giant company stalled for time like a bad kid walking in slow motion to the living room because Mom is yelling about the broken window. Documents have revealed that Toyota was using the extra time gained from their investigation and PR crisis to cover up a bunch of faulty pedals as well.
"DON'T LAUGH AT CUSTOMER IF THEY ASK, 'THAT'S EVERYTHING, RIGHT?'"
It never notified federal agencies, as they're required to do in the United States. And in Europe, Toyota told distributors to replace the faulty part only if customers complained about it. (Customers who were presumably too busy screaming and dying to call customer support.)
Not content with ignoring the inevitable, Toyota actually canceled a design change in American cars because they didn't want to tip off investigators. When the truth was revealed, the company got beaned in the head with almost 400 wrongful death lawsuits. Toyota was punished for its severe negligence with a $1.2 billion fine. That sounds like a lot, but it's not quite six percent of their net income. As for the employees responsible for this criminal neglect that caused so many lost lives? They've all been arrested and sentenced to severe prison sentences.
Haha, no, we're joking. They're probably playing golf somewhere.
"Hey, we didn't make that cart, did we?"
Exxon Knew About Climate Change Way Before The Rest Of Us
It's safe to assume that evil corporations are always 10 steps ahead of the rest of us -- even when they've fucked up. If M&M's were suddenly linked to erectile dysfunction, we'd find out that Mars, Incorporated had known about this since before it introduced the blue one, and that it's blue because they secretly laced it with Viagra to throw people off the scent. Corporations aren't in the business of damage prevention, but damage control. So it makes a sick kind of sense that when the scientific community shone a cancerous light on the phenomenon of climate change, one of the biggest damagers of the planet, Exxon (now ExxonMobil) had already spent the better part of a decade preparing for that very moment.
According to an email sent by a former Exxon climate scientist, Exxon already knew about climate change as early as 1981. Back then, Exxon chose not to develop a massive reserve of natural gas in Indonesia. Even though it would have made them billions, the project was shut down after the company was made aware of the massive amount of carbon dioxide they would have had to vent into the atmosphere, which would have had such an impact on global warming it would have probably sped up regulations penalizing greenhouse gas emissions. Exxon decided to prevent a massive ecological disaster so that they could continue causing slightly smaller ecological disasters for another decade.
And they couldn't even do that right.
So instead of sharing their revelation with the rest of the scientific community, Exxon then spent decades funding research that denied climate change. The parallels between Big Tobacco and Big Oil's prescience of their own shitty pollution are so eerie that academics have used them to figure out the playbook corporations use to feign and then disseminate ignorance. Their tried and true methods include casting aspersions on the scientific consensus, creating an alternative to the scientific consensus, and then saying, "Well, the facts aren't all in yet. Who among us can say who is right? But it's probably us, the people with the most money." And they love spending that money to save money. Look into any random prominent climate change denier, and chances are they're being paid by the very people who benefit from such an asinine opinion.
But the good times had to end eventually. In 2007, Exxon finally pledged that by the next year, it would stop funding climate change denial. Yet as of 2016, Exxon has continued to fund many people who deny climate change, including Senator Jim Inhofe, who calls it a "hoax" ...
... and who, of course, is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Because this is the world we live in. Please play the following sound cue for maximum effect.
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