When common people take on multinational corporations, violent rhetoric, inhuman directives, abuse, and bullying are often the methods chosen to quell the activist spirit. 

In 2009, CBS News reported that pharmaceutical giant Merck made a “hit list” of doctors who criticized its deadly, and now withdrawn, drug Vioxx. The list, emailed between Merck employees, contained doctors’ names with the labels “neutralise,” “neutralised” or “discredit” next to them according to testimony in a Vioxx class action case in Australia. Merck emails from 1999 showed company execs complaining about doctors who disliked using Vioxx. One email said: We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live…

Fast forward to present day and the public is discovering a similar, expanded and well-funded operation was in play at chemical giant Monsanto. In May, it was found in an investigation by a French news outlet that Monsanto kept “watch lists” of around 600 politicians, journalists and others across seven European countries and in Brussels. 

Recently, internal emails showed that Monsanto operated a military-style “fusion center” to monitor and discredit journalists and activists, target reporters and strategize how to counter Neil Young’s 2015 album The Monsanto Years.

Now, new emails revealed from the Monsanto trials and placed into public record show another disturbing perspective of Monsanto’s culture. Dan Goldstein, Monsanto’s lead Medical Science and Outreach, Distinguished Science Fellow and pediatrician, Bruce Chassy, a professor at the University of Illinois, and Wayne Parrot from the University of Georgia called activist Moms “dumb mothers” suggesting, “There you have it. That’s your enemy. Beat the shit out of them and put them on the defensive and you won’t have this problem.” 

The email exchange was focused an open letter to Monsanto from consumer group Moms Across America sent to the chemical company in 2013.

The directive to “beat the shit out of moms” was not just a harmless figure of speech. Just five months after these emails, it was reported that Sofia Gatica, an activist mother in Argentina who lost one of her babies to pesticide poisoning while living near a GM/agrochemical farm, was beaten.

Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America, recently sat down with HighWire host Del Bigtree to discuss the threats and internal emails. She stated,

I’m glad that this is out because it shows the corporate mentality of arrogance and aggression, misogyny, and complete disregard for public health. And this is very important for people to know, especially our politicians, our policy makers, and our President who are currently trying to allow these corporations to self-determine whether or not their products are safe.”