Meatpacking: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Transcript

The pandemic has thrown into high relief some of the longstanding issues surrounding working conditions in meatpacking facilities. John Oliver explains why greater oversight is needed, and how we can go about getting it.
Meatpacking: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 8 Episode 2
Aired on February 21, 2021

Main segment: Meat packing during the COVID-19 pandemic
Other segments: February 13–17, 2021 North American winter storm, 2021 Texas power crisis

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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

[John] Hi there! Welcome to the show, still stuck in this blank void. Tv’s greatest celebration of white emptiness since Emily in Paris. Look, it’s been an unpleasant week, from New York governor Andrew Cuomo admitting to withholding information about Covid deaths in nursing homes, to the release of grim unemployment numbers, to the death of Rush Limbaugh. So, y’know… Eh. But we are going to start tonight with this.

Nationwide misery. Nasty weather pummeling the entire country.

More than 200 million Americans on alert coast to coast. Snow and ice sending big rigs out of control on the roads.

In Nashville, home security video captures a truck sliding sideways down a residential street.

[John] Wow. I know that truck is slow-motion Tokyo Drifting because the road is icy, but I also like to think it had just had enough and is peacing out. “Don, Sheryl, you’ve been perfectly fine owners, but there has got to be more to life than this, so frankly, I’m out of here. This neighborhood suuucks.” Now severe winter weather caused chaos this week, and nowhere more so than Texas.

Day five of the power crisis in Texas. Day five.

Now, we could tell you how cold it is, but maybe these stunning images tell the story better. Burst pipes caused icicles on this ceiling fan. Look at this — yep, that’s ice coming out of this bathroom faucet. And check out this car wash in Austin. The person who posted this picture summed it up pretty well saying, “guess I’ll wait ’til next week.”

[John] Yeah, maybe do that. Maybe wait until your car wash stops looking like a middle school went over budget on their production of Frozen. You probably shouldn’t be driving into something that looks like the asshole of Sully from Monsters, Inc. Texas saw a full-blown humanitarian crisis this week, with many losing electricity and access to clean water, hospitals having to evacuate patients, and dozens of deaths. And if you watched Fox News, there was one culprit for all of this: green energy. Because multiple hosts placed the blame firmly on frozen wind turbines, and none more loudly than this guy.

The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are and people in Texas died. Green energy means a less reliable power grid, period. It means failures like the ones we’re seeing now in Texas. That’s not a talking point, it’s not a political slogan, we’re not taking money from ExxonMobil to say it. Again, that is true. It’s science.

[John] Okay, first, we know ExxonMobil’s not paying you. Almost no one is. Your show’s lost so many advertisers, you’re basically being bankrolled by a man in a sexual relationship with a pillow. Second, just because you loudly insist something “is science” doesn’t make it science. That’s science! And finally, calling windmills “silly fashion accessories” is just absurd. The only time you could conceivably make that claim was when the Bachelor contestant Deandra dressed up as a windmill for her night one entrance in the clear allusion to peter and Hannah’s fantasy suite f*ckfest. And even then, it’s not silly. It’s horny. Those windmill claims were even repeated by Texas governor Greg Abbott, who told Sean Hannity, this shows how the green new deal would be a deadly deal. But he knows that’s horseshit. Texas only relies on wind power for about 25% of its electricity. The vast majority comes from thermal heat sources like natural gas, coal, and nuclear. And all of those were utterly hobbled by the cold this week. Even if every wind turbine in Texas had kept spinning, the state still would have been in deep shit. And there were some uniquely Texan issues at work here that made this the calamity it was. Starting with this.

Most of Texas runs on its own power grid separate from the rest of the country. State leaders designed it this way to avoid federal regulation.

[John] Yeah, it’s true. Texas is the only state in the lower 48 not on the federal power grid. And sometimes, when you’re the only one doing something, you’re a pioneer. But sometimes, you might be an idiot. If you’re the only person trying to set the world record for being covered in the most bees, maybe ask yourself, “what am I trying to prove here exactly? Why am I like this?” Because that independence meant that Texas was limited in its ability to import energy from neighboring states. And it also meant that there was significant pressure on Ercot, the company that manages the state’s grid. Ercot scrambled to meet surging demand, and have since admitted Texas was “seconds and minutes” away from catastrophic month-long blackouts. Which is a big shift from how they were talking last weekend, when they were having fun tweeting out passive-aggressive energy-saving hints like, “unplug the fancy new appliances you bought during the pandemic and only used once.” And I’m sorry, but a KitchenAid artisan design series 5 quart tilt-head stand mixer with glass bowl is not just a fancy appliance. It’s got ten speeds and comes with a beater, dough hook, and a wire whisk. No one’s using that once. Your children are going to be fighting over that when you die. Also, not to be a total bitch here, but who took that photo? The framing’s trash, you can barely see the plug — it looks like Martha Stewart’s social media before she hired a food stylist. And yeah, we remember those days, Martha. Your shit was vile back then. The point is, Ercot was not prepared for this storm. But they also weren’t alone in that. Because while Ercot manages the grid, it doesn’t actually manage the power companies that supply it. So it could not compel companies to winterize facilities so they wouldn’t go down during a storm. The state had left that choice up to power companies, many of which opted against the upgrades because they were expensive. And while this storm was unusually strong, it also wasn’t unprecedented. Ten years ago, Texas was hit with a storm that paralyzed the state. After which, federal regulators warned that their power plants needed to winterize to prevent this from happening again. And state officials knew full well what might happen if they didn’t act.

[Texas senate, 2011]
We’ve got to learn from it and make sure that when this happens again, whether it’s one year from now, ten years from now, we do not have this happen again. There’s really no excuse, in my humble opinion, that a facility should go off when you know it’s going to freeze a week out.

[John] That hearing was ten years to the day before this storm hit. So Texas had a decade to prepare, and it didn’t. And you can get a lot done in ten years! Look at Beyoncé. In the last decade, she announced she was pregnant in the coolest way possible. Performed at two Super Bowl halftimes. Watched Solange kick the shit out of her husband and then made a whole album about it. Invented the color yellow and founded the Coachella music festival and was in a film with the world’s greatest actor. She got a lot done. She probably could’ve winterized Texas’ power plants as well if anyone had just thought to ask her. So much of the problems this week stemmed from Texas’s state philosophy of “every man for himself.” And that attitude has defined the response from their officials, too. One mayor even posted, “no one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this.” The backlash to that was so ferocious, he had to resign. And then there was the saga of Ted f*cking Cruz. He fled the state on Wednesday, and took his family to Cancun. And when photos of him on the plane emerged, he came back the next day, initially implying that his plan had always been just to drop his family off and come back — a claim that never really rang true, considering he’d packed this suitcase. Sure enough, he eventually admitted he’d planned to stay the whole time, and blamed his preteen daughters for the trip, saying they had asked him to go, and “I was trying to be a dad.” Because the first rule of fatherhood is: throw your daughters under the bus. At the first opportunity. But eventually, we got the full story of how the trip happened, in spectacular fashion, as Heidi Cruz’s group chat with her friends and neighbors leaked.

[The New York Times] Mrs. Cruz, telling friends her house was freezing, proposing a vacation until Sunday, and inviting others to join the Cruzes at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, where they’d stayed before. She floated a direct flight and hotels with capacity. Seriously.

[John] I mean, that’s just incredible. Ted Cruz — who, remember, wants to be president — told the world he was bullied into international travel by tweens, then got cyberbullied into coming home by the internet, leaving his wife to solo-parent two kids on vacation in another country while trying to figure out who in her mom group doxxed her. It’s all amazing. But maybe the ultimate example of self-defeating Texan swagger this week actually came from former governor and U.S. Secretary of energy, Rick Perry.

Perry suggests that Texans prefer blackouts to federal regulation. He said, “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.”

[John] Oh, f*ck off, Rick Perry. Far be it for me to question the wisdom of a man who failed running for president twice, and who came in 12th on Dancing with the Stars — meaning he lost to Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, and Vanilla Ice. But as easy as it is to venerate sacrifice, the thing about sacrifice is, people have to choose to do it. And the people of Texas didn’t choose to lose power, heat, and water for days this week. This mess only happened because those in charge didn’t implement critical lessons from ten years ago, and while I’d like to think they’ll learn lessons from this week, remember who you’re dealing with here. And right now, thousands of Texans are still struggling. If you want to help, there are Feeding Texas among them. And the people of the state do need help. They deserve it. Just as they deserve better than a pat on their back for their fortitude and independence as they shiver to death, and representatives who f*ck off to Mexico at the first sign of danger. And if you think that’s unfair, Ted, let me know. But don’t bother calling to tell me. Just have Heidi text it to one of her friends. I’m sure it’ll get back to me eventually. And now this.

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♪ ♪

[Announcer] And now… People who went to Harvard.

I don’t hold myself out of some kind of genius, but I went to Harvard.

I went to Harvard.

I went to Harvard in the mid-’90s.

I went to Harvard.

I should declare something, I am a Harvard graduate.

I went to Harvard business school and that got a degree.

I went to Harvard business school and worked at Goldman Sachs.

I went to Harvard business school and worked at Goldman Sachs.

I went to Harvard.

I got to tell you, I worked at Harvard. His big arm trade and economics, I worked at Harvard.

I went for Harvard.

I feel like what is interesting about me as I went to Harvard law school.

You know, I went to Harvard law school.

I did go to Harvard law school.

I went to Harvard law school.

I believe in numbers and facts.

That number is from Harvard university. Tens of thousands of Americans a year.

I went to Harvard university. ♪ ♪

* * *

[John] Moving on. For our main story tonight, we’re going to talk about a product that’s wildly popular in this country. But instead of telling you what it is, I’d rather show you an ad for it. And I promise, if you’ve never seen this commercial before, you will never guess what it’s for.

Mom, I think Trippy’s been drinking too much milk. [Trippy growls] [family screams]

Sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking. So I’ve come up with new Perdue entrees. Fresh, complete entrees ready in under three minutes.

[John] Well, that took a turn. And what exactly does Jim Perdue think he’s doing there? That family doesn’t need one of your shitty frozen meals! They need someone to expel the literal devil from their demented guinea pig. Perform an exorcism Jim or get out of their house! The point is, our main story tonight concerns meat. It’s what I technically am to any animal above me on the food chain. Like a bear, or a tiger, or — if we’re being totally honest — a medium-aggressive pigeon. And if you’re thinking, “OK, I know where this is going. This is going to be a grim story about the conditions animals face in factory farms.” You’re actually wrong. Those conditions are horrific, but they do get talked about a lot. This story is going to be about the grim conditions humans are facing working in meatpacking facilities. If you ate meat today, it probably went through one of them. And meatpacking is a highly consolidated industry. Roughly 85% of beef production in America is controlled by these four companies. And more than half of the chicken industry is controlled by these four. Their employees are extremely important to this country’s food supply. And, to hear companies like Tyson tell it, they’re important to them on a personal level, too.

We’ve all got the same end goal in mind: protect our team members. They’re our most valuable asset, they are our family. I said earlier that we’re a food company, but we’re a family, and that’s genuinely how I feel and how we operate.

[John] Okay, if Tyson’s workers are their most valuable asset, then their workers are — by definition — not family. Because let’s be honest: nobody’s family is their most valuable asset. If you’re going to rank everything in life by how much you value it, it goes: number one, your phone; number two, food, water, and shelter; number three, Judi Dench — she’s a f*cking treasure. And then, and only then, your family. That’s just an empirical fact. But second: it’s a little hard to take Tyson’s “workers are our family” talk, given this.

[CNN Live] Stunning allegations made against managers at this Tyson pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, one of the first to shut down when the coronavirus raged uncontrollably in the spring. A supervisor allegedly taking bets on how many would catch the virus. According to the allegations, the “plant manager of the Waterloo facility organized a cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many employees would test positive for Covid-19.”

[John] Holy shit. That betting pool might be the most disgusting thing ever created in a Tyson factory, which is saying something, given Tyson also makes ranch-flavored chicken chips, a snack one customer reviewed online with the note, “disgusting! I gagged in front of my child.” That review is on Tyson’s actual website! Now Tyson fired seven managers at that plant after that incident. But it speaks to a larger problem in the industry. Because while companies have put out endless press statements about the expense they’ve gone to to protect their workers during the pandemic, workers themselves dispute those claims heavily. And they’ve been hit hard. As of February 18th, at least 57,000 meatpacking workers have contracted the virus, and at least 280 have died. But the broader truth is that the treatment of workers in this industry has been very bad for a very long time. So tonight, let’s look at them. And let’s start with how plants operate. Most feature a series of long conveyer belts with workers packed closely along the line, chopping, deboning, or trimming fat, often at breakneck speed. Maximum allowable line speeds in poultry have actually doubled since 1979, with workers reporting averaging 35-45 birds per minute. That’s less than 2 seconds per bird. That’s fast! In the time it’s taken me to explain line speeds to you, a plant could have processed five whole birds! And look, there’s plenty of activities that should only take two seconds — checking the time, clearing your throat, determining the worth of a total stranger by how much you want to f*ck them. Hey! Eh, I get it. But safely butchering a chicken probably shouldn’t be one of them. And thanks to this relentless pace, meatpacking workers have reported it can be hard to take a break, even to go to the bathroom. Which may explain stories like this.

This is security camera video given to our sister station from the Smithfield production line in Virginia. In the video, you see the employee in front take off his gloves. Company officials confirm the man relieves himself under the production line, then puts his gloves back on and continues to work. The worker at the center of all this has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

That is disgusting.

[John] Well, yeah, it is. The combination of urine and pork is a bit upsetting. It’s one of the many reasons I have no interest in seeing Miss Piggy’s sex tape. But it’s not just that that man urinated under the production line. It’s that he was put in a position where he may’ve felt like he had to. That’s actually a problem across the meatpacking industry. Oxfam released a report detailing exactly how grim conditions can be for poultry workers, with one detail in particular that hit this local Michigan talk show hard.

Poultry industry workers are put through such extremes that they’re denied bathroom breaks, many wearing diapers during their work day.

Oh, my goodness! I know that people need jobs and they need to be employed. But to have to stand in your own stuff while you’re working?

My mind is racing while you’re sharing those details. I’m thinking, surely this is not in our country.

[John] Okay, I get the shock there. I really do. But the thing is, this is totally our country. We live in a nation where hundreds of thousands of homeless sleep on the streets, people have to launch GoFundMe campaigns for medical treatment, and where George Zimmerman can auction off the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin — a horrific story, which, by the way, your show actually covered in the segment directly before that one. So you guys have been doing a pretty good job of showing how f*cked up this country can be. And it’s not just bathroom break issues. Meatpacking has some of the highest rates of occupational injury and illness in the country. In fact, in a recent three-year period, a worker in the meat and poultry industry lost a body part or was sent to the hospital for inpatient treatment about every other day. And a lot of this is down to dangerous working conditions. Plants are so crowded, a common injury is a cut from your neighbor’s knife. And those rapid line speeds can exacerbate other problems, such as repetitive stress injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome. All of which can leave workers feeling pretty disposable.

[Clip from “Food, Inc.” (2008)]

I mean, you got 2,000 hogs an hour going through.

You’re covered with blood, feces, urine. It’s easy to get hurt down there.

You’re doing that same movement for that same piece of the hog. And it’s nonstop, you know, basically you’re treated as a human machine.

[John] Look, that is clearly terrible. Nobody should be treated like a machine. Unless, of course, it’s a fun machine like an immersion blender! I’d love to be treated like an immersion blender! Oh, you want me to stay in a comfy drawer most of the day, and then occasionally come out to robot-f*ck a soup? Yes, please! At this point, you might be wondering, how do companies get away with treating their workers like this? Well, many strategically locate their plants in areas with few other job opportunities and target vulnerable groups, like former prisoners, refugees, and, especially, immigrants, for hiring. Roughly 175,000 immigrants work in meatpacking jobs in America, and they understandably may be warier about complaining to authorities about mistreatment. So many workers are already operating at a deep disadvantage. On top of which, companies have been able to minimize accountability by gaming the system. For instance, they’re required to report serious injuries to the government’s worker-protection agency, OSHA. But there’s a simple way around that. Because you actually don’t have to report those injuries if treatment stays at a first-aid level. So what do you think happens? Well, as a G.A.O. report found, plants simply offer first aid treatments on site rather than refer workers to a doctor. The same report found even workers with severe injuries like fractures weren’t sent to doctors, with one worker who’d developed a musculoskeletal disorder making over 90 visits to the company’s nurse before being referred to a physician. And the workers know the game that’s being played here.

[Oxfam America, 2015]

There’s a nurse, but she doesn’t do anything for you. For example, when our arms hurt, all she did was apply Bengay ointment and send us on our way. It’s not even worth going.

I needed to see a doctor, but they refused me. And I asked, I told them, well, “can I go down to see my own orthopedics, my own specialist, my own doctor?” And they said, “if you do that, we’re gonna fire you.”

[John] Look, there are lots of good reasons to fire someone — frequent absences, poor quality of work, because they get a little racisty on Ambien — but wanting to see a doctor should not be one of them. And it’s worth noting, if you do have a severe injury, it can be very hard to get relief. In theory, you could apply for workers’ compensation — programs under which injured workers lose their ability to sue, but in exchange, can get money to cover medical treatment and lost wages. The thing is, those programs are run at the state level, and paid into by companies who’ve lobbied hard, both to hollow those benefits out and make them harder to get. Just before Texas overhauled its workers’ comp system back in 1989, one poultry CEO, “Bo” Pilgrim, tried to personally influence proceedings, in a pretty blatant way.

[WFAA, 1989]

Senator Bob Glasgow of Stephenville says he’s never been offered a blank $10,000 check. Not until east Texas chicken king “Bo” Pilgrim strutted onto the senate floor Wednesday.

Senator Hugh Parmer of Fort Worth says pilgrim then slipped him either a bribe or an illegal campaign contribution.

Well, I didn’t think he was trying to give me a Christmas present, I’ll tell you that.

[John] Yeah, of course he wasn’t, because Christmas presents aren’t typically used as bribes. That is unless you’re a child of divorce. “Here it is, Billy! A full-sized motorcyle, just like you asked for! I think you should have it, and if your mother doesn’t — well, that is on her! She’s a difficult woman, Billy.” And just a quick word about “Bo” Pilgrim. He cofounded a company called Pilgrim’s Pride. And blank checks to legislators aren’t even the most shameless thing he spent money on during his life. Among other things, he had this 37-foot bust of his head installed next to one of his distribution centers, and added this second statue underneath it depicting him reading a Bible to his pet chicken, Henrietta. He also built this hellacious mansion, which locals referred to as “Cluckingham Palace,” and which included, among other atrocities, this absolute nightmare of a bathroom that, fittingly, has the exact color scheme of a raw chicken breast, and this nauseating foyer featuring a painting of what appears to be two peacocks f*cking above some chickens while a perverted owl just watches. And it wasn’t just “Bo” Pilgrim fighting workers’ comp laws. Tyson has taken a lead in pushing for changes in workers’ comp in state after state, which have made it harder for workers hurt on the job to receive payments. In fact, in Texas, it’s now possible for companies to opt out of paying into workers’ comp entirely, and essentially write their own rules for how much workers get for their injuries. Tyson does exactly that — and when workers get injured in their plants, in order to get medical care from the company, they must first sign a document saying they voluntarily release, waive and forever give up claims arising from their injuries, can you not sign that? Sure. Then your best bet to pay for the coverages to sue the current dominant company and that can take f*cking years. And while a law passed a few years ago now gives workers ten days to consider signing it, before then, they could be pressured on the spot. At another company, an employee who’d had both of his hands crushed was persuaded to sign a waiver with a pen held in his teeth. And look, I know this all sounds very bad. And it does imply companies like Tyson don’t care about the physical well-being of their workers. But that’s actually not true. Because they do seem to care very much about the physical well-being of some of their workers.

Employees at Tyson fresh meats’ corporate offices in Dakota dunes are getting out from behind their desks.

All right. Looks good, guys.

And into a healthy routine.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, we offer an on-site fitness class for any employee who wants to come.

We focused on stretching at your desk. A lot of us sit at a desk a lot of times, so even just getting up and stretching, just that little bit of movement throughout the day helps, too.

We had a workshop on meditation last week and it was pretty good, clearing your mind and relaxing, stuff you can do at work.

[John] You know what? It’s true! Meditation is great for clearing your mind. You just have to sit still, focus on your breath, and try not to think about the local camera crew that’s filming a piece about your corporate office culture that will one day be uncomfortably juxtaposed with how appallingly your company treats workers in its factories. Now are those thoughts going to creep into your mind? Sure. But just acknowledge them, and return to your breath. Namaste. Clearly, the contrast between Tyson’s corporate offices and their plants is stark. Almost as stark as the disparity between their salaried workers, over 73% of whom are white, and their hourly workers, over 68% of whom are black, Asian, or Latino. Just a fun fact I’m throwing in there for no particular reason. Now, ideally, you’d want the government to step in and remedy some of what you’ve seen. Unfortunately, OSHA is woefully understaffed. As of last April, its number of inspectors had dropped to a 45-year low. In fact, at current staffing levels, it would take OSHA 165 years to inspect every workplace under its jurisdiction. And even on the rare occasions that inspectors do visit plants, the limits to what they’re allowed to do there can be genuinely ridiculous.

[Bloomberg] In the southeast, where a huge proportion of the poultry industry resides, there is actually a lawsuit that has successfully prevented osha inspectors from doing broader searches in poultry factories, even when they know workers are getting seriously injured. In one case, an inspector was told to put a box over her head so she wouldn’t see any safety hazards in the plant if she wanted to walk through the plant to investigate a fire.

[John] Okay, not to state the obvious here, but “put a box on your head” is not an instruction you give when everything’s up to code. It’s just inherently suspicious. “Right this way, inspector, now if you’ll also please plug your nose, and spin around three times, we can begin the tour.” And even when OSHA finds violations, their power to do anything is incredibly weak. In 2019, the average fine for a serious safety violation — a hazard where there is a substantial probability of death or serious physical harm — was just over $3700, meaning it can be genuinely cheaper for companies to run an unsafe plant and occasionally pay those fines than for them to provide a safe work environment. And all of this came to a head last year when the pandemic hit. Companies’ corporate workers immediately worked from home, because it wasn’t safe for them to be in the office, but the plants were kept open, despite the fact — as you’ve seen — it’s nearly impossible to socially distance on a line. And when workers, entirely predictably, then started dying, the federal response was characteristically weak. After six workers from a JBS plant in Colorado died from Covid, the company’s total fine was just $15,000. And for the family of Saul Sanchez, one of those workers, it understandably didn’t sit well.

Saul Sanchez worked for the company for nearly three decades and never called in sick a single time. He was the first JBS worker to die of Covid-19 and his family says his funeral costs more than the fine this company’s now facing.

It’s a huge slap on the face and they bring in over $50 billion a year and they get slapped with $15,000. That’s what enables those companies to not care for their employees.

[John] Yeah, exactly. That fine amounts to .00003% of JBS’s profits last year. And if you fine a company a fraction of a percent of their profits, don’t be surprised when they carry on giving only a fraction of a f*ck about the welfare of their workers. Now, legally, I have to tell you: JBS claims that that fine, and the government’s finding that they failed to protect their employees from exposure to Covid, is entirely without merit. Not only that, they are even fighting the claims for workers’ comp survivor benefits from Saul Sanchez’s widow, and others who’ve lost loved ones, their argument being that the Covid infections were not work related. Although, to be honest, that’s a hard argument for them to land, given that the outbreak got so bad there, at one point, they had to shut the f*cking plant down. So what can we do here? Well, at least for the duration of the pandemic, OSHA should implement a federal emergency workplace standard, giving meatpacking workers the right to social distancing and other protections. Longer-term, that agency needs to be rebuilt and strengthened. And it can’t stop there. The USDA should do more to ensure lines move at safe speeds and when it comes to workers’ comp, we should be setting a baseline for what states have to offer, because otherwise, the race to the bottom will just continue. And all of this has to be done quickly. Because things are critical right now. Remember that Tyson plant with the “winner-take-all” betting pool? As of mid-December, more than 1500 employees there contracted the virus, and eight died, so if Tyson truly is a “family” like they love to claim, it seems to be a pretty f*cking dysfunctional one. And when you take this all of this together — the diapers, the endless trips to the nursing station, the injuries and deaths — you frankly only need to take a peek inside the way this industry currently operates to draw a pretty simple conclusion.

That is disgusting.

[John] Yeah, it is. It really is. And now this. And now this.

* * *

♪ ♪

[Announcer] And now, working remotely sucks for The People’s Court too.

We at the “the people’s court” will be adjudicating cases right here from our very own virtual courtroom.

Gentlemen, can you hear me?

There is no smoking in court.

I didn’t realize you could see.

I’m sorry, can I just ask you, the stuffed animal that is in your hand?

I will put it down. It belongs to my nephew.

The end table is the one that had — you know I can see you when you roll your eyes at you?

Please bring it very close to me so that I can read it. Because the picture you submitted to evidence — okay.

My battery is going low.

Take a second and put a charger. I don’t want to end up losing your testimony.

I can’t do it but I’m happy to go into the kitchen.

Do you want to see my dogs?

No, I just want to see the table.

Is there some problem, gentlemen? Can you lift your head?

Why don’t you leave your hand at your earphone? You can’t lift both hands because you need one hand to bring that up to the camera so that I can read it. Okay.

♪ ♪

[John] That’s our show. Thank you so much for watching. We will see you next week. Good night.

♪ ♪

[Screaming]

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