CEO pay is now 324 times higher than average worker pay – one of the largest gaps in history. And, a lawsuit claims that Skittles are unsafe for human consumption – and they may be right. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             CEO pay is now 324 times higher than the average worker pay, one of the largest gaps to ever hit us in American history. For example, I just, you know, there’s examples all over. Andrew Jassy, you know what his CEO pay was last year, $212 million. It was six, almost 7,000 times higher than what the workers are getting. That’s the state of American capitalism right now.

Farron Cousins:                  And this is happening at companies like Amazon, Netflix. What are some of the, Expedia, JP Morgan, Intel, Etsy, Adobe, Apple, all of the big name companies that people recognize they are screwing over their workers is the only way to put it, while giving themselves hundreds of times more than what they’re paying these workers. And, and I, I will point out, you know, you and I have been doing stories on this for God, almost two decades. And back then it was about 213 times what the CEO made compared to the worker. And at that time we were talking about how horrendous this was. Well now we’re up to 324 times.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Well here, here’s what’s interesting. The average salary for a CEO, what, what do you think it is? Well, eight, $18 million, the average salary. Now it doesn’t make any difference if the company is on the ropes financially. It doesn’t make any difference whether they’re doing a terrible, Netflix, for example, my God, they’re losing subscribers in droves. Nevertheless, this guy’s paid $40 million a year to run Netflix. So I mean, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. It, it’s not as if we’re gonna give these CEOs more money and we’re gonna do better. It doesn’t work like that. The CEO has control over the board. The board is, is chosen primarily by the CEO. He brings in friends, people that he’s worked around for years, those are the board members. And then the board members go from company to company, to company and they get paid every, on every board that they’re participating in. Did I get that right?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. And, and, and there’s been plenty of reports over the years that show most of these corporate boards share at least one member with another board.

Mike Papantonio:            Yes.

Farron Cousins:                  So you know, the New York Times, the people who sit on that board, some of them also sit on these corporate boards.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Same thing with other media outlets. You’ve got big pharma boards also sitting with chemical company boards. And at the same time, we’re watching this skyrocketing CEO pay. Average worker wages have actually gone down 2.4% adjusted for inflation in the last year.

Mike Papantonio:             You know, that issue about boards, they, there’s finding that these boards are now heavily loaded with media magnates, the, the, the moguls. Load ’em up with the media moguls. That way if we make a drug that kills thousands of people, the media is still gonna act like nothing’s wrong. They’re not gonna report the story. If it’s a weapons issue, you’re gonna have the media behind trying to promote wars like the war in Ukraine. My God, it looks like, you turn on the media every day, it looks like a celebration that we’re in war, that we’re involved with Ukraine. So I mean, these board members, it’s very politically astute to do what they’ve done and it’s killing American, literally killing American consumers.

Mike Papantonio:             A new lawsuit claims that Skittles are unsafe for human consumption. And I, my guess is that they’re right, since the Skittles contains titanium oxide.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, we’ve known what titanium oxide is for generations, how dangerous it is. Pick it up.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. This stuff has the ability, titanium dioxide here to change your DNA, to alter DNA, especially in Skittles core demographic children.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  Children love Skittles. They’re, they’re colorful. They’re fruity. They’re wonderful. And this chemical, that Skittles actually swore years ago, we’re taking it out, we’re taking it out. Never did.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, 2016 they said we’ve taken it out. Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  And, and.

Mike Papantonio:             They lied.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And so this can absolutely destroy a human’s body. Studies have shown this. It’s so bad that Europe, this month is going to ban it.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. The entire.

Farron Cousins:                  They’re gonna get rid of it.

Mike Papantonio:             Entire EU says you may not sell titanium dioxide here in Europe. I mean, and they said, here’s the reasons, the reasons is, hey, you have to know, this is something that’s used in paint, house paint. This is something that’s used in adhesives, all kinds of adhesives. And oh, by the way, we even use it in roofing materials and on, and on. It, the, the places that this stuff is used, it, it’s the equivalent of saying it’s okay for your child to go out and chew on a, a roofing shingle. That’s, that’s, that’s, what’s in this stuff. And they’ve, it’s been there for now since 2016, we found out about, it was in there long before. It’s dangerous, man.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And, and so this lawsuit, which they’re trying to get, you know, the class action for this, which I, I can’t, I have to imagine that class would be what everybody in the country that’s consumed a Skittle. It’s saying that, listen, you’re not being forthright with us. You’re not telling us this is in there. You know, you look on the label, where is it saying titanium dioxide?

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  So you’re, you’re lying to consumers. And unfortunately, that’s all we can get ’em for.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  We can’t get them right now for any specific damages.

Mike Papantonio:             I, I don’t know that we can even do that because the FDA or the E, excuse me. Yeah, the FDA has given, the FDA look, sided with this company. They said that the, the titanium dioxide is fine because it’s so little. It’s just so little. But what if you’re eating a package of these things a week? It’s not little because it’s a chemical that is cumulative. It gets within the, it’s systemically cumulative. It sets up in the organ systems. And the more that you eat, the more that threshold gets higher and higher. But it look, DNA damage. Leg, they’re finding lesions on the liver, lesions on the kidneys, that they’re directly relating to ti, titanium dioxide.

Farron Cousins:                  And that’s certainly not what you would expect from sitting down and eating a pack of Skittles.

Mike Papantonio:             I wouldn’t think so.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.