HBO's Last Week Tonight has gained a reputation for its humorous takedowns and thinkpieces on governments and major corporations, and has garnered acclaim and inspired change with its investigative tactics that call out issues in America and around the world. Of course there are always two sides to a story, and some of the show's targets have occasionally fired back or claimed the things John Oliver and the crew reported on them are not true, or insulting towards their brand.
The latter has happened following a recent episode, which highlighted the demanding work environment of warehouse jobs and put a spotlight on Amazon's practices as an industry leader. The piece happened to be seen by Amazon executive Dave Clark, who decided to take to social media and call out Last Week Tonight and criticize the show and its crew for not accepting an invitation to tour a company facility.
We are proud of the safe, quality work environment in our facilities - so much so that we offer tours to the public, ages six and up. But unlike over 100,000 other people this year, John and his producers did not take us up on our invitation to tour one of our facilities. If they had they would have met the amazing people who work in our operations. People whose passion and commitment are what makes the Amazon customer experience special. I am proud of our team and to suggest they would work in an environment like the one portrayed is insulting.
Dave Clark prefaced the statement with the fact that he is a fan of Last Week Tonight, and does typically enjoy watching John Oliver dissect and "make an entertaining case for the failings of companies." This one was an exception, of course, and while Clark seemed to appreciate Oliver did mention Amazon is one of the industry leaders in terms of warehouse job pay, he was disappointed the HBO comedy news program didn't mention Amazon's other positive employee benefits and programs.
Pointing out the positive programs Amazon offers employees wasn't the point of the Last Week Tonight segment, which largely focused on work environments warehouse workers are subject to. Amazon was highlighted as an industry leader that sets an example, and stories were featured that explained workers there can be subject to physically demanding days. For example, one former worker detailed how a work day consisted of him walking 15-17 miles due to the distance between items he had to fetch.
Other footage featured employees who alleged bathroom breaks were discouraged, and that using the bathroom would throw their quotas for completed tasks out of wack. Having that happen too many times would result in termination, so while the bathroom breaks weren't expressly forbidden, it wouldn't be the best idea to take one outside of a lunch break. These are just a couple of the problems Last Week Tonight featured, some of which Amazon's Dave Clark may believe the show may have rethought had it toured a facility.
Neither Last Week Tonight nor John Oliver (whose voice will soon be heard in theaters) have responded to Dave Clark's criticism yet, although it is possible a response will come in a future episode. Typically, those responses don't tend to work out well for these critics, especially if Last Week Tonight is confident in its reporting and that it gave Amazon a fair shake in its analysis.
We can only wait and see if anything more will develop from this situation, and continue to watch Last Week Tonight on HBO Sundays at 11:00 p.m. ET. As always stick with CinemaBlend for the latest news in television and movies.