The hits keep coming for Cambridge Analytica, the tech firm used by the Trump campaign that’s all wrapped up in scandal after a former employee revealed how the company harvested 50 million Facebook accounts to exploit users perceived “inner demons” to help Trump win the election. That news sent Facebook stock into a downturn, which prompted Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth to plummet by $6 billion in one day. And the stench of association won’t improve anytime soon after the U.K.’s Channel 4 aired this undercover footage that shows Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix boasting about using sex workers to ensnare politicians.
In the sting operation (which yielded conversations that occurred between November 2017 and January 2018), an undercover Channel 4 reporter posed as a fixer working for a rich client who wanted to push candidates to victory in Sri Lanka. Nix is seen bragging about being able to “send some girls around to the candidate’s house,” and he stressed that Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well” for purposes of gathering political dirt. Nix continued:
“We’ll offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land for instance, we’ll have the whole thing recorded, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the Internet.”
Not only does this undercover admission look terrible on its face, but Cambridge Analytica is subject to U.K. laws since it operates there (along with being registered in the U.S., where it’s facing an investigation from the Massachusetts attorney general). And since Nix thought he was offering a bribe to a representative of a public official, this could be a violation of both the U.K. Bribery Act and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The subject will undoubtedly come up when a U.K. Parliament committee recalls Nix (and Mark Zuckerberg) for testimony on the data breaches, so it’s no wonder that Cambridge Analytica didn’t want this undercover footage to air.
Watch the full Channel 4 broadcast on Cambridge Analytica below.