The best journalists love to receive leaks from well-placed sources. And if the leaks in question are about people taking leaks? All the better. The Intercept reporter Ken Klippenstein found himself in this enviable position recently when Amazon’s PR department started challenging elected officials who had criticized the company, in particular pooh-poohing the notion that warehouse workers are forced to urinate in bottles to reach the company’s efficiency quotas.
As Klippenstein tells John Iadarola in this clip from The Damage Report, throngs of Amazon workers reached out to him not only to confirm the “peeing in bottles” story, but provided internal company documents showing that upper management is well-aware of the situation and doing nothing to address it, and also that the problem of workers relieving themselves in non-traditional receptacles is not limited to urine in bottles.
Klippenstein also detailed the inner workings of the company’s super-secret PR program, code named “Veritas,” that involves recruiting mostly new - and likely more enthusiastic - employees to clap back online at lawmakers and other critics of the online retailer. The program apparently bypasses the company’s communications team, who view the whole enterprise as counterproductive and something of an embarrassment, Ken says, but gained approval at the highest executive level, so on goes the program, along with the leaking (both kinds).