The “Oprah” Tape That May Have Sunk Andrew Puzder’s Nomination

“‘I will see you in the gutter.”


 

Update, 2/15/17, 3:24 pm: The White House is expected to withdraw Puzder’s nomination as labor secretary. Politico’s story featuring the “The Oprah Winfrey” footage reportedly played a significant role in the decision.

At the request of senators reviewing the nomination of Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary, Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday handed over a 1990 recording featuring Puzder’s former wife, Lisa Fierstein, in which she details allegations of spousal abuse against the embattled fast-food CEO.

The footage, which Politico obtained and released on Wednesday, shows Fierstein dressed in a disguise and using a pseudonym to conceal her identity alongside other women who experienced spousal abuse. In the episode entitled “High-Class Battered Women,” she claimed Puzder once threatened revenge after she first made the allegations public two years before “The Oprah Winfrey Show” appearance.

“‘I will see you in the gutter,” Fierstein claimed he told her. “This will never be over. You will pay for this.”

“I wound up losing everything, everything,” she continued. “I have nothing. He has a Porsche and a Mercedes-Benz. He has the home. He has everything. He was an attorney, and he knew how to play the system.”

In 1988, Fierstein filed a petition accusing Puzder of physically assaulting her on the face, chest, and back, leaving her with “severe and permanent injuries.” The couple divorced in 1987. She has since said that she regretted her decision to appear on the show.

The tape’s review comes amid sinking support for Puzder’s nomination as further questions arise about his labor practices. Employees from his fast-food empire have also come forward complaining about his vehement opposition to raising the minimum wage and protecting workers. His hearing was repeatedly delayed after he failed to properly file the ethics and financial paperwork required of all Cabinet picks.

 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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