- John Oliver ran a segment on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight” criticising the working conditions in Amazon warehouses and other logistics centres.
- Oliver said Amazon’s success was built on “creating a system that squeezes the people lowest on the ladder hard.”
- Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of operations, tweeted that Oliver was “wrong on Amazon.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
An Amazon executive has railed against a segment on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” criticising the company.
During his HBO show on Sunday, Oliver took aim at what he called the “brutal” working conditions inside Amazon warehouses, or fulfillment centres as the company calls them.
“The more you look at Amazon, the more you realise its convenience comes with a real cost,” Oliver said.
“Because, think about it, we used to have to drive to stores to buy things. Now those things are brought directly to us and they’re somehow cheaper. That didn’t just happen with a clever algorithm – it happened by creating a system that squeezes the people lowest on the ladder hard, and all the while the man behind Amazon is now worth $US118 billion, more than anyone else in the world.”
Oliver homed in on reports of Amazon’s union-busting tactics, the physical drain on its workers, and the level of control management exerts over employees – including closely monitoring bathroom breaks.
“When people shorten their time in the bathroom they don’t shorten the bathroom part, they shorten the handwashing part, so the next time you order something online it’s safe to assume that it’s been packed by urine-soaked hands,” Oliver quipped.
The following day, Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of operations, voiced his objections to Oliver’s monologue, saying Oliver was “wrong on Amazon.”
As a fan of the show, I enjoy watching John make an entertaining case for the failings of companies, governments and most recently – Mount Everest. But he is wrong on Amazon. Industry-leading $15 minimum wage and comprehensive benefits are just one of many programs we offer… https://t.co/3PACVFyJPa
— Dave Clark (@davehclark) July 1, 2019
Clark touted the $US15 minimum wage introduced by the company last year, said Amazon operated a “safe, quality work environment,” and said Oliver and his producers had declined an invitation to take a tour of a warehouse.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has publicly bristled against a public figure’s characterization of the company. Amazon’s official account tweeted that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was “just wrong” after she accused the company and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, of systematically underpaying workers.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.