You wouldn’t believe the immoral things these big corporates did. Maybe it’s time we show them that it’s the people’s support which makes the company and not the other way around. Below are the evil stories of some of the terrible companies of the world and the way they have played the public.
Warner threatening to sue Girl Scouts over singing Happy Birthday
Have you ever been to any birthday where people weren’t singing ‘Happy Birthday to you’? No, well we haven’t either. You can imagine then, the surprise of the girl scouts who were threatened by Warner Chappell over singing happy birthday on the scout camps.
Turns out that the company ‘allows’ us to sing happy birthday in private while any use of it in public should earn them royalty. The song is responsible for them earning $2 million in royalties every year but here’s the terrible part, after years of court cases, it turned out that Warner Chappell didn’t even own copyright to the lyrics of the song but only the piano version of it. A fact which they conveniently forgot to mention in the court.
However, in September, a judge ruled that Warner no longer holds the copyright on the song. So we can all sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’, whenever and wherever we want to.
IBM participating and developing computers to track Jews for Nazis
Historians and analysts have always wondered how Hitler was able to track Jews so precisely. They agree that it would have been impossible for Nazi Germany to track the Jews without a computer. They weren’t wrong. IBM had a solution for tracking Jews which was provided to the Nazis.
IBM did it through punch card technology which tracked and organized nearly everything about Jews including the census identification, registration and even ancestral tracing programs. They even built railroads and helped Nazis to organize concentration camp labor.
At this point, one might think that they probably didn’t know about the terrible things happening with their technology. However, the documents revealed by Edwin Black’s book makes sure that IBM is exposed for what they did.
Shell misusing power to inflict thousands of deaths in Nigeria
Shell Oil makes more than $400 billion in revenue every year, a substantial portion of which comes from Nigeria, where they started digging for oil back in 1956. If at this point of time you are wondering why Nigeria hasn’t benefitted from the oil like the Saudis, then the answer is that Shell doesn’t care.
According to Wikileaks expose, Shell is more powerful than the government itself in Nigeria, they practically own the country as they have everyone from ministers to bureaucrats on their payroll. Shell is also directly/indirectly responsible for killing thousands of people. There have been several oil spills which burn for months and other numerous environmental issues. Since they fill the government pockets, the government chooses to ignore Shell’s crimes forming a deadly loop of profits, deaths and bribes.
Pepsi Co. responsible for causing unintentional riots in Philippines
In 1993, Pepsi Co. thought that they had a winning formula to gain grounds in the Philippines through a marketing masterstroke. They dubbed the contest as ‘Today, you could be a millionaire!’ and combined Filipinos love of gambling with the sales of their soft drinks.
The idea being that some caps will carry numbers and some of those numbers could make you win a million pesos equivalent to $40k. The contest was a great success and Pepsi sales soared by 40%. However, when it came to announcing the winners, they mistakingly announced the millionaire number as the one printed in over 800k bottle caps.
When thousands of people went to claim their prize, Pepsi told them about the blunder and then offered them 0.0005% of the reward as a ‘good will’ gesture. This irked the people even more leading to countless riots, homemade bombing on Pepsi trucks and over 1000 cases against Pepsi in Philippines. You might think that one blunder is enough for a company to learn, but they are sort of serial offenders when it comes to marketing.
Philip Morris suing countries who releases health advisories on smoking
Philip Morris is the biggest tobacco-producing company in the world. They are also the only company who have a history of suing nations when the countries try to warn their citizens about the ill effects of smoking.
The general pattern is whenever a government enforces pictorial warnings on cigarettes packs, Philip Morris tries to bully small countries like Uruguay or suing big ones like Australia, Norway, and Britain. They keep a team of high profile lawyers just for this and have often emerged victorious using spin doctors or legal loopholes.
Union Carbide choosing to kill half a million people for profit
In 1984, India had a gas leak at a pesticide plant due to the management overlooking safety norms. This led to a poisonous gas, both tasteless and odorless getting released in the city of Bhopal leading to deaths of half a million people. It became the world’s biggest industrial disaster and got termed the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
The huge amount of toxic gas ensured that the children born near that area even after a decade continue to suffer from various ailments and are even missing limbs. Union Carbide Corporation, the company responsible for the criminal negligence, never took responsibility for it. The CEO of the company, Warren Anderson, fled India before he could be tried for the incident and refused to take part in the court’s proceedings.
Warren Anderson recently passed away without atoning for the alleged crimes he committed. Though the company did learn from the tragic incident, as they concluded that it would be a marketing mistake to continue operating under the same name in India and thus changed its name to Eveready which continues to operate even today.
Bayer intentionally selling HIV causing medicines
In 1984, when Bayer collected plasma from 10,000 or so donors to make a medicine, they neglected or forgot about doing an HIV screening test for these donors leading to a few HIV positive people in their sample. This made the entire batch of medicines a game of Russian roulette as consuming it could mean exposure to HIV.
The US immediately stopped the sale of the medicine as soon as it became aware of its deadly flaw. Did this make Bayer destroy the batches of medicine and start afresh? Not even close. Instead they exported these medicines out to Latin America and Asia causing several people to become HIV positive. Maybe the next Resident Evil could just rename Umbrella Corporation to Bayer since they do a way better job of killing people for money anyway.
Nestle knowingly murdering millions of newborns
This one is downright evil. In 1970, Nestle promoted a baby formula terming it better than mother’s milk (not true!) and giving it for free in maternity wards and hospitals. What they didn’t tell about the formula was that it had the ability to interfere with the mother’s lactation.
Since the formula isn’t free outside the hospitals and the mothers can’t lactate now, the family is forced to either buy their infant formula or let the child die due to malnourishment. By the way, this was not the only unethical practice followed by Nestle. They also made sales girls dress up as nurses and tell people about their product.
As the people saw them as nurses, they were convinced about the formula as a better alternative and thus making Nestle billions of dollars in the process. Nestle’s Infant Formula industry is worth more than 10 billion dollars now while millions of children have died due to malnutrition in third world countries due to Nestle’s infant product, directly or indirectly.