Let’s say the terms: we are all sheep. All. We have all already considered that a product was better than another, because it was from such or such a big brand, globally (or at least nationally) recognized. On the other hand, believe me that after discovering the dark and disreputable past of several big brands, present in the majority of our shops, you may not consider them the same way.
1. Levi’s advocated “white labor” as the best
Recently, 150-year-old Levi’s jeans were found in a mine shaft and then sold at auction in the USA for a whopping $87,000 (yes, yes). Once in possession of these pants, bought the price of a house in the South, the buyer found, on a label, a small sentence full of tolerance: “The only kind made by white labor” (“the only manufactured by the work of white people”). A very racist little message, which refers to the Chinese Exclusion Act, aimed at suspending the immigration of these nationals, passed in 1882 across the Atlantic.
2. Kellogg’s cereal was invented to put an end to masturbation.
At the origin of these corn cereals: the Kellogs brothers. They developed the recipe in the 1890s, with the very healthy and ethical purpose of using them on patients hospitalized at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, in order to “suppress their sexual urges”. Yes, yes, you read that right. The two inventors, at the head of the establishment, sought to impose tasteless diets on their residents to eradicate all carnal desires and put an end to masturbation. If they knew that in 2022, an American company is offering “masturbation breaks” to its employees, I bet they would throw cornflakes in their faces.
3. …Same for graham crackers
If we were told that the Kellogs and the Grahams were good pals, we wouldn’t be surprised by the masses, would we? I don’t have the answer to this question, but I can tell you that Sylvester Graham also looked for a recipe to “cure carnal urges”, arguing that ass “turns men and women away from God”. Someone to explain to this little gentleman that, with one exception, you generally have to zig zig to make children? In any case, I want to believe that dry biscuits are not great aphrodisiacs, but from there to conclude that a tasteless, fat-free and very bland diet prevents desire, well… You must not be the penguin the sharper from the pack ice.
4. Fanta, the drink of the Coke-deprived Nazis
During World War II, Coca-Cola decided to stop supplying German bottling companies with syrup. No worries for the head of the brand, Max Keith, also known to be a good friend of Hitler, who then decided to develop his own recipe for Soda. Go hop, a little deg stuff here, a little crap there, we shake, we add sugar, we stir the grub, hey hop: it’s Fanta. Yum.
5. St Michel, responsible for opening a human zoo (yes….)
So this one, we didn’t see it coming! At the end of the 1980s, the French biscuit brand launched into the marketing of chocolate cakes, called “Bamboula”. Already, things are going very badly. We’re on a slippery slope, there guys, pay attention… Oh well, too late, we’re already slipping uncontrollably. “Bamboula” is also the first name of the muse of the biscuits, namely: a black child, who lives in the savannah, and who is dressed in animal skins. Ouch. It’s already the catastrophy, and we are not at the end of our troubles… Building on the success of its chocolate shortbread, St Michel declines “Bamboula” in several derivative products, until… The birth of a human zoo, near from Nantes. The “Bamboula village” opened in 1994, and wants to “recreate a village in Côte d’Ivoire, with the help of “extras” in “traditional outfits”, and willingly bare-chested in the summer”. We’re not talking about an era that we can’t understand here, we’re talking about a human zoo in the mid-1990s.
6. IBM, Hitler’s favorite computer supplier, responsible for several deportations
During World War II, IBM sold “punched card machines” to the Nazis. Considered the ancestor of the computer and invented in the USA at the end of the 19th century, this technology was used by the Third Reich to trace people in concentration camps, but also to identify Jews in cities and organize their deportation. How ? Well, each individual corresponded to a punch card, listing several of their characteristics (age, sex, profession, place of residence, nationality, etc.). Not only did IBM sell these machines to Germany, but the giant also and above all created a subsidiary with Germany specifically for that! When the company was charged with the population census, it set up a card system offering a possibility of 600 perforations, and making it possible to deliver an exact image of the Jewish presence, city by city, profession by profession, and same building by building. In 1937, the company’s president was awarded the “German Eagle Merit Cross with Star”, a distinction invented to “honor foreign nationals who have rendered services to the German Reich”. Yippee.
7. Mitsubishi, runs thanks to the forced labor of prisoners of war during the Second World War
Also during the Second World War, the automobile company used the forced labor of prisoners of war to run its firms. In total, 900 detainees were forced to work in the tin mines for Mitsubishi Materials, in atrocious conditions. In 2010, the Japanese government apologized to former American detainees still alive for the “inhuman treatment” they had to endure. 5 years later, it was the brand itself that asked the employees for forgiveness.
8. Quaker Oats did radioactive tests on disabled children.
No, this time it’s not about tasteless food thought of as a treatment for sex. No, it’s worse. Between 1946 and 1953, the United States Atomic Energy Commission teamed up with the oatmeal company to conduct despicable little experiments. They provided radioactive oatmeal to 73 children with autism or mental disabilities, all boarders at Fernald School (a state home for people with mental disabilities) in Waltham. The goal? “Studying the effects of radioactivity on the body, hihihi! But that’s in case there’s a nuclear war, to know, hihihihihi”. Disgusting. Thank God, the “guinea pigs” of this garbage, who ate radioactive substances at breakfast to satisfy the curiosity of researchers from Harvard University, MIT and the firm Quaker Oats, did not have serious sequelae. In October 1995, US President Bill Clinton and the President of MIT apologized to the Fernald School.
9. Youtube, invented for Janet Jackson’s chest
Have you ever wondered what prompted a guy to create the world famous video platform? Nope ? Well, you’d never guess… Youtube was invented to watch Janet Jackson’s breasts in slow motion and HD. There you go. Let me explain: February 1, 2004, Janet and Justin Timberlake sing together for the Super Bowl halftime. During the choreography, the singer is supposed to tear off Janet’s bustier to reveal her in a bra. But oupsssssie, it slips, and it’s downright a breast that escapes. The more prudish were shocked, the others surprised, and the most perverted sought to see the sequence again and again, without TV censorship or the poor quality of the images on the web. Hey boom, we thought about creating Youtube. A bit unhealthy, you say?
10. Hugo Boss, official stylist of the Nazi military
From 1931 and until the end of the Second World War, Hugo Boss was responsible for producing the military uniforms of the Third Reich. The brown shirts were designated by Boss. SS uniform? Also. Those of the Hitler Youth and the Wehrmacht? The same. To push the softness of the character a little further, note that Hugo Boss, faced with the growing demand for Nazi clothing, made some forty prisoners of war and 150 forced laborers, mostly Polish and French, work. Ah, straight away, that’s less “luxurious” as a brand, huh?