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The Ten Most Evil Corporations of All Time

Brian Cox looming at a window in Succession

Is it evil? Or is it just business?

Listen sport, if you wanna make it in the business world, you’re gonna have to learn how to cut some throats. You’re gonna have to buy some bird apps. You’re gonna play fast and loose with the security features of your newly acquired bird app. You might get your bird app banned in Europe, but that’s just the price of doing business. What do the Europeans know about business anyway? Or bird apps, for that matter?

But if you REALLY want to get ahead in the game, you might have to bend the rules a little bit. And by “bend” I mean engaging in completely illegal and morally bankrupt behavior. But hey, being morally bankrupt is better than being literally bankrupt, right? If morals paid the bills, every nun would be driving a Maserati right now. But are nuns driving Maseratis? Nope. You might say it’s because they’re actually evil. And that may be true. But they haven’t yet found a way to monetize that evil. Once they do, convents will be the next Goldman Sachs, mark my words.

So until the nuns get M.B.A.s, here are the most evil corporations of all time.

10. Rio Tinto

You may not have heard of Rio Tinto, but that’s all for the best. Evil works at peak capacity when it flies under the radar. Rio Tinto is a mining company based in Australia that has a penchant for mining on Aboriginal land. In 2020, the company detonated explosives in the Juukan Gorge that destroyed traditional rock shelters built by the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura peoples. These rock shelters were over 46,000 years old. And the evilest part of all? The company knew about them and did it anyway.

9. Dow Chemical

Does the term “Agent Orange” ring any bells? If so, sounds like you majored in history instead of business. My condolences. For all my stockbrokers reading, Agent Orange was a herbicide used during the Vietnam War by the American government in order to destroy the dense vegetation of Vietnam’s jungles which Viet Cong soldiers used for concealment. The chemical was also used to destroy crops and eliminate enemy food supplies. The chemical has had long-term effects on both Vietnamese and American people alike, causing cancer, birth defects, and numerous other long-term health problems.

8. Goldman Sachs

Remember when the 2008 housing bubble burst and the government bailed us out with billions of dollars? You don’t? Oh, you must have been one of the ones on the short end of that stick. Goldman Sachs employees misled investors and sold subprime mortgages by the boatload, causing the housing market’s collapse. Pretty devastating for anyone who wasn’t working there, those guys made a lot of money.

7. Enron

This company caused one of the biggest corporate fraud cases in American history. In 2001, Enron was discovered to have been engaging in widespread accounting fraud, inflating its profits to make the company seem like it was doing better than it actually was. When the company tanked, it was the biggest corporate bankruptcy in history. Many investors lost everything. And the cherry on top? The company’s CEO Kenneth Lay was discovered destroying evidence of the fraud during the investigation. I guess he didn’t learn the first lesson of business, which is to always have a fall guy.

6. BP

The funny thing about oil is that it has a penchant for spilling. And when it does, you don’t wanna be bodysurfing in that water. BP was responsible for one of the largest environmental disasters in history when they ended up spilling a bajillion tons of dead dinosaur juice in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. 210 million gallons. The stuff got everywhere, drenching shorelines and wetlands and killing thousands upon thousands of marine species. Entire ecosystems were decimated. The company’s response? “Oops”.

5. Philip Morris (now Altria Group)

Few things are more diabolical than marketing toxic chemicals to the youth. Philip Morris was accused of using colorful packaging, artificial flavors, and targeted ad campaigns to get kids hooked on their products. Like smoking, the company also had a bad habit of downplaying the risks of tobacco inhalation and the addictiveness of nicotine. The company was eventually sued by the United States Government for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). That’s the act that the government uses to take mobsters down.

4. Monsanto

This is the company that injected GMOs into the American food industry’s main vein. What could go wrong, right? The health and safety of consuming GMOs is a hotly debated topic, but one of the biggest problems is that Monsanto holds the copyright on its seeds, and enforces that copyright against small farmers and seed sellers across America. The company threatens the little guy by secretly hiring private investigators to surreptitiously monitor local farmers and will prosecute them if they are even suspected of selling a Monsanto-patented crop. Not only that, but the company has a history of developing deadly herbicides, most notably Roundup, which was thought to have cancer-causing effects on humans. This is to be expected by the company that helped develop Agent Orange. Dow Chemical wasn’t the only one.

3. Union Carbide

This company is now a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, so that can only mean bad news. The worst news of all came in 1984 after the devastating effects of the Bhopal gas tragedy in Bhopal, India. A gas leak at a Union Carbide factory causes toxic chemicals to fill the air and spread to local villages. Over 500,000 villagers were exposed to the gas, and the death toll is estimated at nearly 4,000 people. Meanwhile, nearly 600,000 people were injured in the tragedy. Many by the gas, and many more by the panic and chaos it caused as villagers tried to flee. This tragedy is considered the world’s worst industrial disaster of all time.

2. Blackwater Worldwide (now Academi)

This company is the only one on this list that can be said to have committed a massacre. Not a leak, or a spill, but a bonafide massacre. Blackwater Worldwide was a private military company that employed mercenaries to combat theaters across the world. On September 16th, 2007, Blackwater mercenaries were involved in the Nisour Square Massacre in Nisour, Baghdad, which resulted in the death of 17 unarmed civilians. The killing occurred when the mercenaries, who were guarding a U.S. State Department convoy, became erroneously convinced that civilians in approaching vehicles were preparing to attack. The mercenaries opened fire, killing men, women, and children. An additional 20 people were injured during the attack. The incident caused international outrage, and all but destroyed the already strained relationship between the United States and Iraq. Four of the massacre’s perpetrators were indicted on manslaughter charges, and the company scrambled to “rebrand”. They changed names TWICE before finally settling on Academi in 2011. And in proof that evil may be genetic, Blackwater founder Erik Prince happens to be the brother of Trump’s disastrous Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

1. Nestlé

You know a corporation is bad when they beat out literal war criminals. Nestlé is by far the most hated corporation in all of the world. And for good reason. Nestlé was sued in 2021 for aiding and abetting child slave labor on the cocoa farms of their supply chains. The charges were later dismissed by the Supreme Court, but not before the company admitted to using forced labor in its seafood supply chain in Thailand. Nestlé also has also gotten into hot water for its water privatization efforts both foreign and domestic. Despite the record-breaking droughts in California, the company has been steadily pumping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest for years. They even pumped thousands of gallons of water from a reserve near Flint, Michigan while the city was undergoing its water crisis. And they only paid $200 a year to do so. And their water bottles? Hardly any of them are recycled despite the company’s claims to the contrary. Nestlé is one of the biggest plastic waste producers on the planet.

Oh, and they collude with dictators, buying commercial slots on state-controlled media outlets in Belarus, and 15% of their milk from a farm owned by the wife of Zimbawe’s most brutal despots. Anything to make a buck, right?

(featured image: Macall B. Polay/Max)

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Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.