When you’re a gigantic international corporation selling a deadly product and trying to sue impoverished countries into submission, it’s important to have a thick skin. Unfortunately, Philip Morris International, which was publicly skewered on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver this week, has not developed such a skin. In response to John Oliver’s 18-minute segment, PMI issued an equally lengthy response, maintaining that not only are they allowed to do all the unseemly legal crap they’re doing, but that they and their severely unhealthy tobacco products should be treated with the same respect as a company that produces organic baby food.
In case you forgot, Oliver called the tobacco industry and PMI “open sores on Satan’s dick” and suggested that they make Marlboro’s new mascot Jeff the Diseased Lung in a Cowboy Hat. The hashtag #JeffWeCan has worked out pretty well, so feel free to keep that campaign going because Jeff is clearly a huge hit!
Here are a few excerpts from PMI defending their awfulness:
“’Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ is a parody show, known for getting a laugh through exaggeration and presenting partial views in the name of humor. The segment includes many mischaracterizations of our company, including our approach to marketing and regulation, which have been embellished in the spirit of comedic license.
“While we recognize the tobacco industry is an easy target for comedians, we take seriously the responsibility that comes with selling a product that is an adult choice and is harmful to health.”
Translation: Don’t listen to John Oliver. He’s just a stupid comedian, and we know we’re selling a deadly product. He’s not as smart as you think.
“We support and comply with thousands of regulations worldwide — including advertising restrictions, penalties for selling tobacco products to minors, and substantial health warnings on packaging. We’re investing billions into developing and scientifically assessing a portfolio of products that have the potential to be less harmful and that are satisfying so smokers will switch to them. And, like any other company with a responsibility to its business partners, shareholders and employees, we ask only that laws protecting investments, including trademarks, be equally applied to us.”
Translation: Hey, we’re just a bunch of humble folks trying to play by the rules, sell our wares, and change with the times. If you don’t like that, check out all these legal rights we have as a huge, multinational corporation. And money. We have a lot of money and sometimes we even fart money. Do you? Yeah, I didn’t think so. You wanna play?
“For a balanced view and facts on the many topics raised by the program, including PMI’s marketing practices and approach to regulation, please take the time to read the following information:”
Translation: This is not our first legal rodeo, my precious underweight fetus. Now get out of my sight.
I hope they know that 1) comedy works because laughter is a reaction to being shocked by the truth, and 2) John Oliver isn’t going anywhere for at least two years.
Source: L.A. Times