Several US new stations ran an Amazon-produced story praising their response to coronavirus

Greg Evans
Wednesday 27 May 2020 13:00
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Picture:(Courier Newsroom/ Screengrab)

At least 10 different local news stations in the United States have reportedly read out a piece prepared by Amazon to show their response to coronavirus in a positive light.

Courier reports that the package was produced by Amazon spokesperson Todd Walker, with the script being available online. Walker was described as the narrator for the piece with only Toledo ABC affiliate WTVG, adding that Walker was employed by Amazon. WGXA in Macon, Georgia had also noted that Amazon had provided the story.

The package which aired just before the retailers annual shareholders meeting describes how well the company have handled the pandemic, claiming that it has "transformed its operations in response to Covid-19" with some employees praising how Amazon had handled the crisis.

Amazon has been facing criticism for his handling of coronavirus, which has seen at least eight of its employees die from the disease. In March, Amazon allegedly fired an employee in New York for attempting to stage a staff walkout because of the safety conditions that were in place. A delivery driver in Indiana also claimed that he was fired for voicing his concerns about coronavirus safety.

Meanwhile, in California, employees claimed that the company was not complying with state laws that guaranteed paid sick leave for food workers during the crisis. Amazon claimed that the law did not extend to their warehouse employees.

Staff at a warehouse in the UK staged a walkout in April in protest over lack of PPE and poor social distancing measures.

Shareholders have also asked for safety data from their various warehouses to be released ahead of their meeting on Wednesday.

In March, Amazon fired an employee in New York for attempting to stage a staff walkout because of the safety conditions that were in place. Meanwhile, staff at a warehouse in the UK staged a walkout in April in protest over lack of PPE and poor social distancing measures.

Amazon has since told Courier that the video and script was published on Business Wire and subsequently reported on by the various news outlets. A spokesperson said:

We welcome reporters into our buildings and it’s misleading to suggest otherwise. This type of video was created to share an inside look into the health and safety measures we’ve rolled out in our buildings and was intended for reporters who for a variety of reasons weren’t able to come tour one of our sites themselves.

Wes Armstead, the news director of WVVA admitted that he was not aware that Amazon had made the package and that "we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again."

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