Opponents of a Minimum Wage Hike Have Graduated to Openly Lying

In Depth

If you know your argument that restaurant owners universally revile the idea of an increased minimum wage is complete bullshit, that’s still OK! You can just make shit up, as one of the main restaurant industry lobbyists recently did.

Lobbyist-mercenary and aspiring Nazgul Richard Berman recently launched Faces of 15, a shill website devoted to drumming up scare quotes about how terrible a minimum wage hike will be for his corporate backers small businesses. There’s just one problem: several of the restaurants whose images Berman used as examples of businesses hurt by and opposed to a minimum wage hike are, via PRWatch, actually in favor of Fight for $15—and were not pleased he’d been using their images without consulting them. All told, at least four of the 21* scrolling images on Faces of 15 support Fight for 15. When the Center for Media and Democracy contacted Seattle-based The Walrus & the Carpenter (the progenitor of that lovely lead image), for instance, co-owner Jeremy Price told them they “were not aware” they were being used as fodder in a shill campaign. He went on to say:

“In point of fact, Walrus voluntarily adopted the $15/hr wage a few years ahead of Seattle’s min wage ordinance,” said Price. “It has been a positive change for our staff and our business. We expect others to follow our lead here in Seattle over the next 6 months.”

Well done, The Walrus & the Carpenter. Also, your food looks delicious.

Faces of 15 also laughably shoots itself in the foot on the subject of the right’s favorite wage hike scare tactic: fast food robots. Faces of 15 highlights a particular McDonald’s on Sutter Street in San Francisco, CA that “uses touch-screen kiosks rather than entry-level employees to take customer orders.” Scaaaaary! Fortunately for fact-enthusiasts and members of the reality-based community (and less fortunately for your gullible Aunt who will read Berman’s brain-vomit and unthinkingly repost it on Facebook), the McDonald’s Berman highlights actually had to hire more employees as a result of the pilot automation program. Oopsie-doodles!

None of this should come as a surprise; as Kitchenette has talked about before, attempting to spread misinformation through the guise of shill websites is Berman’s entire stock-in-trade. His business cards probably read “Being the World’s Most Enormous Douchnozzle Since 1834.”** You’d think the restaurants would be able to sue Berman for false representation, but I’m not so sure. This guy is so spectacularly good at being evil it wouldn’t surprise me if he had some loophole ready up his sleeve for that. This is backed up by the fact that at the time of this posting, every one of those images is still in use by Faces of 15.

So long as Berman exists, all the rest of us can really do is sigh and apologize to any space aliens watching from afar and trying to decide whether to wipe us out. We wish we could say humanity wasn’t really like that, but honestly, it’s probably better for the universe if you just plasma nuke us from orbit right now.

* There are actually 22 images, but one of them is of the Salvation Army rather than a restaurant. I’m not sure what the hell Berman’s play there was, but there’s no way that counts towards the total.

** I’m convinced Berman is actually an immortal wizard with a Satanic pact that grants him nigh-infinite longevity in exchange for constantly working to propagate evil upon the Earth. I think it’s a pretty solid working theory.

Image via The Walrus & the Carpenter/Facebook.

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