News & Politics

Fox Contributor: Hundreds of Workers Who Perished in Factory Fire Happy About Their Jobs

'Don’t think that the people in Bangladesh who perished didn’t want or need those jobs,' Fox contributor Charles Payne said.

A Fox News contributor is causing controversy over his remarks that the workers who perished in a fire at their jobs in Bangladesh wanted and needed to be employed in those positions.

The remarks come after a fire outside Dhaka, Bangladesh that claimed the lives of 111 people. The fire did immense damage to Tazreen Fashions’ factory, a company that sells their products to Western companies like Walmart and the Gap. Bangladesh, the world’s second largest exporter of clothing, has long been seen by human rights activists as a dangerous place for garment workers.

But Fox Business contributor Charles Payne seems to think that these workers were happy at their garment factory jobs. They may have needed to be in those jobs just to get by, but saying they “wanted” those jobs is tone-deaf, particularly in the immediate wake of a tragedy that highlights the poor working conditions in Bangladesh.

“I don’t think something like this will happen again. Don’t think that the people in Bangladesh who perished didn’t want or need those jobs, as well,” said Payne, ignoring the fact that this type of workplace hazard is routine in Bangladesh. More than 500 workers have died in factory fires since 2006 in Bangladesh, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign.

As Raw Story notes, Payne added: “I know we like to victimize everyone in this country, particularly when it comes to for-profit motivation, which is being assaulted. But, you know, it is a tragedy but I think it is a stretch, an amazing stretch, to sort of try to pin this on Walmart but, of course, the unions in this country are desperate.”

Meanwhile, the prime minister in Bangladesh has alleged that the fire was started deliberately.  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the fire was “planned arson.” CNN further reports that “two people were arrested Monday trying to set fire to an apparel factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, but local police said they had not yet found any links between the arrests and the other factory fires.”

Protests have also erupted in Bangladesh. Thousands of workers blocked streets earlier today and smashed vehicles in a display of anger over working conditions.

Watch the Fox clip here, courtesy of Think Progress:


Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story mistakenly named Charles Lane as the Fox commentator who made these remarks. He is not; the remarks were made by Charles Payne.




Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.