The Problem with Linus Tech Tips Controversy, Harassment Allegations, and Response... & Today's News

The Problem with Linus Tech Tips Controversy, Harassment Allegations, and Response... & Today's News

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- Today we're talking about the growing laundry list of accusations against Linus Tech Tips, what happened to the mom of the six year old that shot their teacher, messy body cam footage of Ronny Jackson has people divided, we now have a major clue of what started those devastating wildfires in Maui, where people are losing it on Bradley Cooper today. We're talking about all that and so much more on today's brand new Philip DeFranco Show, your daily dive into the news. So buckle up, hit that like button, and let's just jump into it.

Starting with the biggest controversy and scandal on YouTube right now is that one of YouTube's most famous tech channels has faced serious scrutiny over the last few days over allegations of theft, workplace harassment, conflicts of interest, and serious flaws in its review videos. And at the center of all this you have Linus Tech Tips, or really Linus Media Group, LTT's parent company, that also runs things like their labs, which is meant to be a team of engineers that allow LTT to review tech products at a much higher standard. And it appears that all their recent problems kinda started because of this clip from a tour of their labs when an engineer said-- - The difference between us and somebody like Gamers Nexus or Hardware Unboxed is we test new components, new tests, every time. - Which I will say, if you're not into the whole tech part of YouTube, you probably don't know those names, but you at least need to understand they are two sizable channels that are well known for how well they test and benchmark tech products like PC graphics cards. Right, so some could see this like, if you are watching this, you respect me, I all of a sudden randomly throw shade to someone else in the space that you respect. It might be kinda like that.

But you know that led to a back and forth where Hardware Unboxed defended itself in a series of lighthearted tweets and then Linus responding to that on his live show. But where things really blew up is when Gamers Nexus released a 44 minute video on Monday to directly discuss the comparison. And in it, they argue that LTT cares more about releasing as many videos as possible over anything else. And it wasn't like they were just throwing out baseless accusations. Regarding the extremely fast schedule of LTT, they pointed to a video where employees flatly state that they wish projects weren't so rushed and that the schedule was loosened a bit.

And as for the bad data, they gave multiple examples of data being incorrect. But we're not gonna get into every technical detail because you can go watch their video. I'm gonna include links down below.

But some of the mistakes included things like getting the names of products they're reviewing wrong, putting the wrong specifications on screen, or not having consistent testing parameters for products that lead to faulty performance data or things like one graphics card having a 300% performance increase over its predecessor. It's something that's a major outlier, stand out, it might raise some eyebrows. Now with that, LTT does correct the videos, but in ways that Gamers Nexus argues is ineffective or unethical.

Right, for errors caught after being posted online, they sometimes use YouTube's edit tool to insert new graphs. Then there are onscreen fixes that are done prior to uploading, meaning LTT knew about the error and Gamers Nexus argues-- - These have to be used carefully because most people won't read them. They might just listen to the video or kind of tune it out.

So these shouldn't be used for undoing criticism that was unfair. - Or like if they said that something about a product sucked, but it was actually because they used it wrong. And speaking of product reviews, ethical concerns were also raised about Linus and the company's connections with certain manufacturers, things like LMG makes a screwdriver and has a branding deal for it with Noctua, a cooler manufacturer that they also regularly review alongside competitors or that Linus has invested a sizable amount of money into the laptop maker Framework. And all of that culminating in a situation that many feel encapsulates the issues with LTT's reviews. Right, like they recently put out a video about a GPU water cooler block by the small company Billet Labs. The thing was reportedly a prototype at the MSRP and the final product was very expensive and nearly $1000.

The item was also made for a specific graphics card, but Linus tested it on a newer model and argued that it should work close enough and that incompatibility actually led to issues trying to attach the prototype and test it, leading Linus to say that no consumer should ever buy it. And even LTT fans at the time were upset at how Linus gave a conclusion despite improper testing. All right, some felt it was something like trying to review a sports car by taking it off-roading and then concluding that it just sucked. However, with that, Linus doubled down on his live show, arguing-- - Nothing would have changed. Nothing that obeys the laws of physics would have changed the conclusion.

- With him then going on to say-- - But I'm not, (sighs) I don't know guys, I'm not sure if I can apologize for not spending another 100, 200, 300, $500 of various people's time, sitting and engineering a workaround to a product that, no matter the result, nobody should buy. - And so, for many people, that last comment kinda cemented that Linus cared more about getting videos out quickly rather than getting them right. But that was just the tip of the iceberg for the issues with Billet Labs because after that review, the company asked for the prototype back in order to send it to other reviewers. However, that never ended up happening and, months later, the item was auctioned off for charity at LTX. Right, that recent expo where the clips starting this firestorm came from. And Billet Labs was understandably upset as LMG had reportedly promised to send the card back to them.

So the bad review and having their prototype sold felt like a kick while they were down. And all that leading to this huge public outcry with fans and critics ripping into Linus, saying he stole the prototype. And that was in addition to not getting their data right when consumers rely on their reviews when buying products.

We then saw Linus replying in a forum post, with that not going well. Right, in it, he got blasted for writing, "I still disagree that the Billet Labs video is an accuracy issue," saying, "It's more like I just read the room wrong." And to that, Gamers Nexus and others pointed out that, as a review channel, their conclusion should be objective and not based on what the room wants to hear. Although Linus did concede that a writer on the team actually told him that the video should have been redone properly and that just because it's an expensive high-end product, it doesn't mean that fans may not wanna see it rip.

I kind of think about how like many fans at Top Gear can't afford supercars that they show, but they still like to see high-end stuff perform. But with all this, one of the big things that got him completely ripped into was saying that he was disappointed with Gamers Nexus's piece, saying that they should have reached out to him for a comment and saying, if they had done so, they would've learned that there was already an agreement to pay for the prototype or, like the fact that we didn't sell the prototype, but rather auctioned it for charity due to a miscommunication. And while there, it seemed like maybe he was trying to point out the difference between, like, stealing something and there being a miscommunication and it got auctioned off, it appeared that most people kinda locked onto and just mocked the idea that there was a difference between selling and auctioning. However, with all that we saw Billet Labs telling Gamers Nexus that much of that just wasn't true. Right, Linus's statement makes it seem like there was an agreement already in place to remedy the issue when Gamers Nexus released its Monday video.

Apparently the email to compensate Billet Labs wasn't sent until hours after the video went live. But overall, Linus's response there was seen as kind of lacking and defensive rather than owning up to what many said were valid criticisms by Gamers Nexus. And with that, saying by attacking Gamers Nexus, Linus was just shooting the messenger. But with that said, this morning they actually uploaded a video that tackles many of the accusations that were brought up, though not all.

First off, the company's putting production on hold for at least the next week to discuss all this and the steps moving forward, with Linus apologizing for how he handled the situation and saying it was pretty much his fault as he was CEO at the time. Right, and since then, and not because of the situation, Linus and his wife Yvonne had hired a CEO to take over many day-to-day operations and he promised to shake things up in this video. Additionally, Yvonne announced that there would be a reduction in uploads moving forward and that production was being halted for at least a week to discuss systems at the company and adding-- - Staying relevant on YouTube is hard for everyone, but we aren't fighting for survival anymore and we don't need to run at this pace. In fact, in some ways, it's our efforts to keep doing more and keep doing better that have created our current situation.

- She also said that it was wrong to not spend $500 to properly retest a product and that halting production wouldn't mean hardships for their massive team. Other members of the team spoke as well, such as the head of their labs department to clarify some testing issues and state that things were moving to make their testing more reliable. As for many of the onscreen mistakes, such as questionable graphs or asterisks when they named products wrong, they said that's often a communication breakdown between the writing team and the editing team, with their head writer pointing out that often fixes would get flagged only for them to not end up in the final video. - There have been times when an internal video review caught an incorrect graph, resulting in new versions of the graph being created, only for those new graphs to not be put in the video! (groans) Just about every error that has appeared in a video in the past year has directly resulted in a process change designed to prevent that specific issue from ever happening again.

- While they talked about a lot more, the most important thing was probably the Billet Labs fiasco, with them saying that somewhere along the way, internally, it wasn't made clear that the item was to be sent back. And then after it was sold, someone at LMG did promise to reimburse Billet Labs prior to Gamer Nexus's video, kind of. - [Colton] Even though I replied two hours later, apologizing and offering to pay for the component, I forgot to actually include our contact in that email. - Right, ends up that while they CC'd all of the LMG team, they forgot to actually add Billet Labs to the "to" box. - That went to our procurement team instead of Billet Labs. - And in the end, Billett claims that, while LMG found the buyer of the original block, they prefer to get paid for a new one because of how long LMG has taken to send other items back to them and can't guarantee that the item isn't damaged.

And overall, it kinda looks like the video was well received, although you definitely had people who were upset that they monetized the video and made jokes about selling products in it, some even making compilation videos of the parts that upset them. Now at this point, you might think the story is done, but, you know, when it rains it pours. And what we're seeing is, in LMG's case, there's also former employee Madison Reeve coming out and saying that the work environment there is toxic and harbors harassment. And some of her accusations are in the same vein as prior criticism of the company, like an outsized emphasis on putting out as much content as possible. But she also detailed far more concerning allegations, things like saying that she was told by management that her work was, quote, "Dog shit" or that she needs to be more assertive, only for her to be reprimanded when she was.

But the worst of these claims by far was that of harassment. Her talked about claims of coworkers calling her homophobic slurs, asking her to twerk for them, and groping her. There were also claims that people asked her about her sex life and that, "I was told that certain issues were sexual tension and I should just take the coworker out on a coffee date to ease it out". And she claims that her concerns were largely brushed under the rug or ignored and she finally quit after a colleague told her, "I think the reason you try to be funny is because you lack any other skills". And so with that, you've seen some saying these allegations line up with an image of Linus that is anti-worker.

Right, and this because they say in the past, he's made statements about not liking certain unions and feeling that if his employees unionized, it meant that he failed as a business owner. There are also some details out there about allegedly leaked contracts that prohibit employees from speaking about their salaries with coworkers, which is something that, like, if you were based in California, is highly illegal here, though it's probably just unethical at worse in British Columbia, where LMG is based. Right, because that province has no laws explicitly protecting a worker's right to discuss salary with colleagues. And the final and last second update to this story is, before posting, LMG got back to us. I'm gonna include the full FAQ of responses in the top pinned comment of this video, but I wanted to include at least their responses to the two last controversies.

The first being their response to what are your thoughts on members of the community feeling this initial controversy wasn't being taken seriously due to things like jokes about store plugs, kicks to sponsors, and the video addressing the situation being monetized, to which they said, "We're LMG. Even when our content is serious, we have elements of fun in it. This has been our style and we wanted to send a message to our community that just because the suits are talking about workflows and processes, the fun isn't going anywhere."

With them adding, "Jokes aside, we have a decade-long unbroken streak of daily videos. To pull back this dramatically, I think, shows how seriously we're taking community's feedback." And saying, "We didn't include a sponsor for the video and we heard the feedback from our community and from our team internally and we turned off Adsense monetization for this video." And to the question, "What is your response to the allegations levied by former employee Madison Reeve and will there be any action taken", they responded, "We are taking the allegations very seriously. Immediately, our HR team will be conducting a thorough assessment of the allegations.

We've already begun combing our personal files and past notes and correspondences to see if we can corroborate any of what's being said. Furthermore, we will also be hiring an outside investigator to look into the allegations and will commit to publishing the findings and implementing any corrective actions that may arise because of this. When we are ready, we will release a statement. For now, we would ask that we allow our team the time they need to be as thorough as possible as this will take some time and due to our employee confidentiality responses, we may not be able to provide a comprehensive statement until we've completed our investigation. We pride ourselves on maintaining a safe and inclusive environment," saying, "In addition to our existing report systems, both anonymous and otherwise, we've proactively reached out internally today to encourage members of our team to report any workplace bullying or harassment they might be experiencing so we can take quick and decisive action.

In closing, we are halting video production and will be reducing our video output in the coming weeks as we strive to provide improvements to processes and work-life balance for our employees." But ultimately, that is where we are with this developing situation. We're gonna keep our eyes on it and, without a doubt, there's gonna be more to talk about in the coming days. But in the meantime, I gotta pass the question off to you, whether you're a part of these communities, if you're in this tech space, or you're completely outside, and I'd love for you to let me know that in the comments. What are your thoughts, feelings, takeaways, where do you stand on this and why? And then Bradley Cooper is being accused of antisemitism.

Right, the trailer for his latest movie, "Maestro", just came out and in it Bradley plays famed conductor Leonard Bernstein. And actually, in addition to playing the lead role, Bradley directed, co-wrote, and produced the film. And with this, we've seen a lot of backlash surrounding the fact that it looks like Cooper's wearing a prosthetic nose to play Bernstein, who is Jewish.

And so because of that, you have people saying that, by doing this, Bradley, who is not Jewish, has reduced Leonard Bernstein to an antisemitic trope and caricature and some writing things like, "The debate over whether it's okay for non-Jewish actors to play Jewish roles or whether Jewish actors should be favored for those roles is complicated. But giving an actor a literal prosthetic nose to play a Jewish man feels like the grossest possible manifestation of it." And, "There's never an excuse for using a prosthetic nose to portray a Jewish person.

It's just a vile stereotype that we must eliminate from our society." Some speaking on the history of this and noting the, quote, "Big nose stereotype for Jews comes from Nazi propaganda meant to dehumanize Jewish people." Others also saying the whole situation's made even more baffling by the fact that actually, if you look at old photos of Leonard Bernstein, right, from when he was young, Bradley Cooper could actually look more like him without the prosthetic. You also saw a number of people angry because, reportedly, before Bradley Cooper was selected to play Bernstein, Jake Gyllenhaal, who is Jewish, was hoping to make a biopic about him. Though Jake ended up losing the rights to Bradley and his team, with him eventually telling Deadline that he wished them the best on the project, but, "The idea of playing one of the most preeminent Jewish artists in America and his struggle with his identity was in my heart for 20 some odd years".

So you saw some people frustrated there, though you did have people defending Bradley. And among those, you had Leonard Bernstein's kids, who put out a statement this morning, saying that Bradley included them in every step of the filmmaking process and adding, "It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts. It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance and we're perfectly fine with that. We're also certain that our dad would've been fine with it as well." While we've seen many people glad that the family weighed in here, giving their remarks saying, you know, their opinion matters almost the most.

Still, for others, they, they don't think the statement sits well with them, which is why I'm gonna pass the question off to you, what side of this do you land on and why? And then, y'all, working out consistently can be so hard. But seeing some results really keeps you going and so I wanna take a second to thank CoPilot for helping me through that journey and for being the sponsor of today's PDS. 'Cause CoPilot makes working out easy. Their coaches are able to schedule workouts that you just simply follow.

Personally, I love how the app and my trainer, Devin, work with me to get better results. Like, recently, I felt like my biceps have been plateauing, so we've been working on my form to slow down my descents on my hammer curls, raising weights on bicep curls and, of course, on modifying the game plan and introducing new workouts to help me do things like burnout my chest for good measure. Whew! And you know, the first step is so simple.

You just start with an onboarding call and you connect to a coach. And then they just make customized workouts tailored to your needs based off of what you have. If you have a gym, some equipment, or none at all, it's fine. They've got a workout that's ready for you 'cause this is all virtual.

So if you wanna join me on a fitness journey of your own, just click my CoPilot link in the description or use the QR code on screen to get a 14 day free trial with your own personal trainer. 'Cause, y'all, CoPilot is the doable way to start and stick with your fitness goals. Between my coach and the app, it helps me stay consistent and work harder. And then the Hawaii wildfires. If we were unsure exactly how everything started, this new video overwhelmingly points to one culprit.

And this comes from Jennifer Pribble, a senior research coordinator at the Maui Conservation Center who narrates security footage from 10:47 PM August 7th. - [Jennifer] There's a flash and I think that's when a tree's falling on a power line, the power goes out, our generator kicks in, the camera comes back online, and then the forest is on fire. - And according to experts, that bright light that you saw is probably an arc flash, which is what happens when a power line comes in contact with vegetation or another line or gets knocked down, releasing power, usually through sparks. And at that exact moment, according to Whisker Labs, a company that monitors electric grids across the US, 10 sensors in the region where the conservation center is located recorded a significant incident in the grid, owned by Hawaiian Electric, which serves 95% of the state's residents. And a few hours later, after that fire had quickly eaten through thick trees, dead branches, and eucalyptus-flecked gulches, another one ignited next to an electrical substation in Lahina after a bright flash, with all this mounting evidence strongly suggesting that these and other wildfires which are now responsible for at least 106 confirmed deaths were spiked by Hawaiian Electric's infrastructure. And with this, you had eight residents telling the Washington Post that they had long raised concerns with the company about its aging poles and power lines strung across Maui, which notably, in places, is thick with drought-stricken trees, brush, and grasslands.

One woman even saying that she and her neighbors sent videos to the utility company of low hanging lines and trees, adding that there had actually already been fires from electrical equipment in the past, but responders had always put them out quickly. And four days before the fires broke out, despite multiple warnings, Hawaiian Electric reportedly failed to cut power ahead of the windstorm. And this even as other utilities in states like California, Oregon, and Nevada had done so following infernos caused by electrical equipment in their communities.

And documents reportedly show that Hawaiian Electric was aware that a power shutoff was an effective strategy but had not adopted it as part of its fire mitigation plans, which you could argue makes sense from a financial perspective since one, it's bad for profits and two, if there ends being no danger, then customers lose electricity for no reason. But obviously that was a horrible decision that backfired. So in addition to the general anger and shock of this news, we saw Hawaiian Electric stock plummet nearly 40% yesterday, S&P Global downgrading the company's credit rating to junk. Some law firms have also now filed a class action lawsuit against the company, but we may not get an official confirmation of the fire's cause until the government completes its investigation. And then a six year old shot his teacher. Remember when we talked about that earlier this year? Back in January, that first grader brought a gun to school, shot his teacher, Abby Zwerner? With one of the biggest questions on everyone's mind being what type of repercussions were gonna happen to the parents of the shooter? Well we now know, with the boy's mother, Deja Taylor, pleading guilty to felony child neglect yesterday.

And as part of her plea deal, the misdemeanor charge of reckless storage of a firearm was dropped, prosecutors agreeing to only seek six months in jail. But ultimately it comes down to the judge. Because the six months is essentially a recommendation and the judge can do what they want. And the maximum sentence here is up to five years in prison. Also, yesterday, we learned how the boy got the gun in the first place.

Right, according to Joshua L. Jenkins, the Assistant Attorney in Newport News Commonwealth, the gun was stored in Taylor's purse on top of a dresser. And so the boy just pulled out a drawer and climbed up the dresser to reach the top and take the gun from his mother's purse.

But as far as the actual punishment, Taylor's sentence is set for late October, so we're gonna have to wait to see what happens there. And when we wait to see, what are your thoughts regarding, not only the situation, but specifically, what do you think the punishment should be? And then, let's talk about this messy body cam footage of representative Ronny Jackson and the controversy around it all. Right, 'cause Jackson is currently a Republican representative for Texas, but before that he was the White House physician for both Obama and Trump. In fact, Trump loved him so much, he nominated him to head the VA, but Jackson withdrew his nomination after White House staff accused him of fostering a hostile work environment, improperly dispensing prescription drugs, and potentially drinking on the job, with the DOD Inspector General finding that he had actually bullied staff and made sexually inappropriate remarks, though he denied that report. And that background is set to be relevant to the story that we're talking about today because it involves a medical crisis that he responded to at a rodeo in his district last month, with police body cam footage taken at the scene, appearing to show Jackson approaching a group of people around a 15 year old girl who authorities said was having seizures.

And very notably here, there is no audio for this part of the footage, which makes the story incredibly messy. Because then a few minutes later, we see the Texas State Trooper seemingly nudging Jackson and gesturing for him to get back from the girl. He then stands up, appears to get into a confrontation with the trooper, and is quickly led away by two other troopers as the girl is loaded onto a stretcher. Jackson continues to talk to the troopers and then about 30 seconds later, two officers tackle Jackson to the ground. They handcuff him, they hold him to the ground with his face down. And about 50 seconds after that, he's seen standing again, talking to police, and then the audio comes in.

- I asked you to get back. - No, you did not! You came and you flew in! - I did, I did. - And you were a (beep) full-on (beep). - I did ask you to get back and you did not get back. - Okay officer, I will take him home. - You better recalculate, (beep). - Multiple people asked you

to get back. - Nobody asked me to get back. - [Officer] Yes they did. This lady did-- - No, she didn't.

- Yes she did. - We asked everybody here. - [Officer] Everybody here asked you to get back. - Then, a couple minutes later, the confrontation continues at another location.

- [Officer] When multiple officers ask you to get back and EMS-- - Nobody asked me to get back! - Yes they did. - No they didn't. I was (beep), I was talking to her about her blood sugar and her (beep) blood pressure.

You were the first mother (beep) to say something to me, the first one. - We asked multiple times for you to get back. - Nobody did! - [Girl] The parents didn't want either of y'all there.

We were trying to-- - Nobody said something to me. Nobody-- - We were trying to get y'all to back up. - The first person asked this. - [Officer] I did, I said, "Hey, can y'all step back?" Nobody touched him. - [Jackson] The first person I heard was you rolling in and you were like, "Get the (beep) back and in my face." - We're done arguing,

we're done arguing. - I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine, I'll apologize. - Walk with me! - I was just trying to help, dude.

- No, no, no, okay. - It has nothing to do with who I am or what I do. I was an ER doc, man. - Okay, okay, let me speak.

I know you were there to help, right? But I got EMS coming on the scene, I got multiple parents ask-- - Nobody was there yet though. - Yes, they were, I-- - No they weren't. They were just rolling up as I was (beep) standing.

- [Officer] I said, "Hey, we got a car coming." - The two going on to argue about what was wrong with the girl, Jackson saying multiple times that he was an ER doctor and listing other qualifications before threatening to call governor Greg Abbott. - [Officer] Okay, I'm glad you're an ER doctor, but you're not EMS and you're not emergency services. - [Jackson] Dude, no, I, those guys work for me. - You understand

what I'm saying? - [Jackson] I'm an ER doc. - Okay. - I'm gonna call the governor tomorrow and I'm gonna (beep) talk to him about this (beep) 'cause this is (beep) ridiculous. - Quit arguing. - (beep) ridiculous.

- Right, so, obviously we can't hear what was said during the disputed section of the video, but the accounts of the police and Jackson vary wildly. Right, according to an incident report by Carson County Sheriff Tam Terry, Jackson later said that he agreed with a nurse's suggestion to put a gumball in the girl's mouth to help with her blood sugar, with authorities saying that prompted a disagreement over concerns that this girl was going to choke on the gumball because she had been seizing. Terry's report also noting that deputies said they asked Jackson four times to step back before handcuffing him. The Sheriff's report also going on to say that Jackson actually threatened to beat up a trooper and that one officer said they believed Jackson had been drinking due to his belligerent actions. With that, a Chief Deputy also saying that he had seen Jackson drinking backstage at the rodeo and Terry, who was an elected Republican, writing that Jackson later called him and told him, "He would pull hell in high water and come and bury me in the next election." But as seen in the body cam footage, Jackson disputes the fact that he was ever told to back up.

And notably there, two witnesses also said they didn't think Jackson was given adequate notice to back up before he was apprehended and when saying, "From our view, he never saw EMS. He was away from the patient before they showed up on scene." Beyond that, a spokesperson for Jackson also denied the allegation that he had been drinking and claiming that the representative "was prevented from giving medical care in a potentially life-threatening situation due to overly aggressive and incompetent actions by the local authorities present at the time of the incident."

And adding that "he will not apologize for sparing no effort to help in a medical emergency, especially when the circumstances were chaotic and the local authorities refused to help the situation." What we've seen since the body cam footage has been released is Jackson only doubling down, saying in a post, "I'm glad the video is out. It shows the incompetence of the authorities and their complete disregard for the young girl in distress."

And adding, "I will apologize for my language, but I will not apologize for getting upset and speaking my mind, considering the circumstances. If I had to do it again, I would still step up and act in a life-threatening situation. I will always help someone in need. I will not apologize for that."

But hey, that's where we are in this developing situation. And if we get any updates, I'll obviously keep you in the loop. But in the meantime, I gotta ask, what are your thoughts on this messy situation? And then it's widely known that immigration centers are an absolute house of horrors, but we've just gotten new details. Right, 'cause after more than three years of wrangling over a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, a federal judge force the government to give NPR more than 1600 pages of reports written by DHS inspectors. And they showed that between 2017 and 2019, over two dozen ICE detention facilities across 16 states subjected their detainees to abuse, neglect, and awful conditions that even led to death.

Like in one Alabama facility the White House dropped last year, inspectors found nail clippers with blood on the blades, medical exam rooms with no hand washing sink and filthy living quarters. Or in Pennsylvania, you had guards strapping a mentally ill man into a restraint chair and giving the lone female officer a pair of scissors to cut off his clothes for a strip search. And the inspector writing, "This is a barbaric practice and clearly violates basic principles of humanity." Though that also wasn't an isolated instance.

Right, at a Michigan facility, staff reportedly locked mentally ill detainees in restraint chairs without justification and used pepper spray when it wasn't warranted. And oftentimes, reportedly, the abuse involved sexism or racism. For example, a sergeant in New York entering the female unit would reportedly greet the women by yelling, "Hello, assholes and bitches," with multiple staff making comments like if detainees do not like the treatment, they should not have come to our country. And then a guard working in another unit confronted a group of men and asked, "Who's the fuckin' pussy who made the complaint against me?" And if all of that sounds like prison or jail, that's because it is, right? Even though most ICE detainees have no criminal record, local jails typically operated by county Sheriff's departments sometimes contract to hold them on behalf of ICE.

But most immigration detention facilities are managed by private for-profit corporations like Geo-Corp or CoreCivic. And because detainees are frequently transferred between these facilities, which are managed by different entities, medical records and care plans often get lost. Plus the facilities are often located in remote areas that lack access to high-quality healthcare, so it's really not a surprise the inspectors report included numerous cases of medical neglect. Like in Michigan, you had a man sent into a jail's general population with an open wound from surgery, no bandages, no follow-up medical appointments scheduled, even though he still had surgical drains in place, with an inspector writing the detainee never received even the most basic care for his wound. Then you had staff at a for-profit Colorado facility cut a man off his opioid addiction meds cold turkey, then believing he was faking his withdrawal symptoms, including a seizure with the guy screaming all night that he couldn't breathe, he was vomiting blood clots, with one nurse saying, "He's dying," but no doctor ever examined him and nobody called 9-1-1 until several hours later. And then eventually, he died, with the inspector there stating, almost in disbelief, "It truly appears that the system failed at every aspect of care possible."

And so stories like these are just one reason why activists have criticized Biden for breaking his campaign promise to end the use of for-profit detention centers. Plus, it was the Trump and Biden administrations that resisted NPR's public records request. And that's even though Biden pledged to create transparency around ICE. Now that said, in the White House's defense, it has moved to shut down some facilities that were particularly egregious. But a majority of the records obtained by NPR relate to facilities that are still active today.

Also, regarding the contractors and their defense, they'll claim these reports are outdated and that things have improved since 2019. But there the ACLU Immigration Attorneys and sources familiar with the inspection process tell NPR the problems detailed in the report largely persist, with an ACLU attorney citing reports of poor treatment and solitary confinement during the pandemic and saying, "If anything, conditions have probably gotten worse." And then Target is in the crosshairs right now and their Pride Month backlash just got so much worse. Right, so you might remember earlier this summer, Target saw a boycott and even had their stores and employees threatened over their Pride collection, those threats reportedly prompting the company to pull back on a number of their Pride Month products in order to minimize the danger. Though that response caused even more backlash, though this time from the LGBTQ+ community, with people saying that Target was just caving to homophobic and bigoted pressure.

Well, we now know that that controversy actually had an impact on Target's sales, with them in fact just seeing their first drop in quarterly sales in six years. And Target's Chief Growth Officer, Christina Hennington saying today that the reaction to this year's Pride collection played a role in the dip in sales for the quarter. Established brick and mortar stores saw 4.3% drop in sales last quarter, online sales dipping 10.5%, Target even cutting its annual sales forecast for the year.

However, despite all of that, Target's profits actually came in higher than Wall Street's projections and so their share price jumped by 5% today. But it's also not just sales numbers that Target has to worry about. The conservative legal group, America First Legal, founded by former Trump White House advisor Stephen Miller, is suing Target over shareholder losses because of the boycotts regarding their Pride month displays, with the investor at the center of the suit being Brian Craig, who bought just over 216 shares for $50,000 in April of 2022. And according to the complaint, the value of his shares dropped to around $28,800 after the Pride Month collection backlash this year.

And so the suit argues the loss is tied to the collection, calling it a, quote, "Direct and predictable result of management's calculated decisions to remote sexualized material to children." And the lawsuit also going on to say, "These false and misleading statements about Pride Month promotions caused Target shareholders to unknowingly support Target's Board and management in their misuse of investor funds to serve its divisive political and social goals and ultimately lose billions," with a lawsuit asking the court to completely overthrow the company's Board of Directors and compensate Craig for his losses. However, you have experts saying that AFL is gonna have a hard time proving that the investor's losses were actually caused by the Pride backlash, especially as, according to Neil Saunders, managing director for retail at Global Data, Target stock price had been on the decline for a while before the Pride Month collection debacle. But, here's the thing, the quarterly sales numbers we now have and Target's own admission that the backlash did have an impact on sales may help AFL's case. Though, on the other hand, Target's been releasing a Pride collection since 2011 and it wasn't until conservatives, including Stephen Miller himself, pushed for a boycott that the sales numbers suffered.

So it could be argued there was a lot of historical data for Target to say this sort of thing wasn't gonna happen. And in fact it only happened because of the people now suing. But when it comes to the law, you never really know how it's gonna play out. So we'll have to wait and see. And that is where your daily dive in the news is gonna end today. But, for more news you need to know, I got you covered right here in the links down below.

Yesterday, we had a 27 minute show. And hey, if somehow you've already seen everything, don't worry, 'cause my name's Philip DeFranco, you've just been filled in, I love yo faces, and I'll see you right back here tomorrow.

2023-08-18 01:56

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