The Sociopathic Toolbox. Exhibit B: Using Stooges and Proxies

In a recent article on the BBC, they discussed why tobacco companies like to use third parties to represent their case in the media, think-tanks and other public forums. The question was asked why tobacco companies try to get supposedly independent  3rd parties to represent their views rather than just sending one of their own employees. Here is what they said:

The third party has the credibility of looking independent, seems to be motivated by something other than self-interest and profit and therefore has a much greater chance of being believed. Credibility, authenticity and the impression of independence are key. It is about separating the message from the self-interested source.

Separating the message from the self-interested source. In the bad old days when TBI still had a decent reputation (while screwing people behind the scenes) there was a lot of “separating the message from the self-interested source” going on. Allow us to give you a few examples of how they used supposedly independent 3rd parties to represent them.

After this blog started a couple of years ago, TBI badgered all of its staff to write glowing reviews about how great an employer TBI was. Within a few weeks there were photos of almost a dozen teachers from various branches on the line all writing about how “great”, “professional” and “fun” an employer TBI was. This was a kind of “charm offensive” whereby TBI blithely assured the world that its teachers were well-treated and happy, despite the very negative reports coming out of several branches. Yet a closer look would reveal how staged and artificial this “third party endorsement” always was.

1) TBI had long pressured its teachers to write glowing reviews and testimonials about the school.

2) Some of the positive testimonials had come from teachers who had complained that TBI was a terrible place to work in the past. (Some of these negative comments were later leaked, completely contradicting the positive ones).

3) They only got reviews from legal teachers. The VKU visa teachers were hidden out of sight and never featured on the website. In short, there was a complete snowjob about illegal teachers underway.

4) Not a single teacher from abusive schools like TBI Bekasi were ever shown. Those schools too were swept under the carpet.

5) Few if any of the featured expat teachers resigned a second contract. Most soon moved on to greener pastures.

In other words, TBI pressured a few hand-picked legal teachers to write positive reviews and then used these “third parties” as their ambassadors of what a happy school TBI was. In reality, they were pressured to do it and the numerous unhappy or illegal teachers were swept out of sight as part of the snowjob.

These tactics were nothing new for the sociopathic management culture at TBI. In November 2012 Luke Preece, an Australian con-man and suspected sociopath, attacked a 7-month pregnant manager using his proxies, Scott and Alex. He wanted to insert himself in position of Academic Manager (despite having not even having a degree). Luke had been plotting to get rid of the pregnant manager for months, complaining loudly with David Bradbury that she was a “disgrace” and an “unnatural mother” because she had smoked during her pregnancy. It was too well-known that he hated Monika but it would have raised eyebrows if he tried to get her and took her job for himself. Instead it was Luke’s home-town best buddy, Scott Martin, and another Preece crony, Alex Tjaj, who made the complaint about Monika, insisting that the mother-to-be be fired late in her pregnancy. Horrific as this was, it is typical for TBI. Luke calls in favours from people that he promoted, and he threatens people with being fired if they don’t do his dirty work.

The sociopath is a predator, completely lacking in empathy, who uses all available means to capture its prey. One of the sociopath’s favorite techniques is to use supposedly neutral 3rd parties to represent their interests, creating an illusion of independence. Big tobacco has done it for years, and it is done on a small scale by the small-time crooks at TBI too.

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