Sun. Feb 5th, 2023
Bad reviews for Taser documentary on Amazon, iTunes seem to come from Taser employees

One of the best things about the modern world is the way everything you buy online inevitably comes with some user reviews telling you why your purchase is or isn’t worth it. Sometimes the urge to leave a review like this can strike, even in situations that most of us would probably find a little inappropriate, with employees of Taser International, maker of the sometimes lethal stun weapons, apparently the latter leaving reviews without the kind of disclosure that professional reviews should expect to contain.

Some one-star reviews on Amazon and iTunes for Kill them safely, a documentary about the Taser stun weapons and the security issues surrounding them, appears to have been posted by Taser International employees, under their own names. The dangers of Tasers are disputed by the manufacturer and law enforcement agencies deploying the weapons, and the employees seem to be using the user reviews to express their displeasure with the film.

The film’s director, Nick Berardini, saw a questionable review on iTunes, supposedly from one Uriel Halioua. The review complains that the movie is “poorly told” – in real user review Halioua doesn’t even seem to have seen the movie as Berardini says it has no story– and concludes that it is “flushing”. The name Uriel Halioua is unusual, but one person who does seem to be blessed with it happens to work as a pre-sales systems engineer at Taser International. Oddly enough, that review now appears to have been deleted and reposted by another user, “BobRossRocks.”

Other suspicious reviews were found by Twitter users. A second iTunes review, apparently from a person named Bobby Driscoll, called the film “inaccurate, inflammatory, one-sided”, and denounced it as “shameful”. Perhaps coincidentally, one Bobby Driscoll is Director of Sales Operations for Taser International. The protector provides another review, this time on Amazon, from one Robert Lovering who calls the film a “waste of time” and “extremely boring”. Coincidentally, a Bob Lovering is “Director of Inside Sales” at Taser International.

Some companies apologized when such behavior came to light. Harmonix staff appeared to have posted positive reviews for rock band 4, actions that led the company to apologize, and the reviews were removed or edited to note the employment relationship.

Taser’s approach seems to be a bit different. The protector Steve Tuttle, Taser’s vice president of strategic communications, asked if he thought staff should reveal their jobs when reviewing reviews of the documentary. He told the paper, “Are you kidding? It’s a free country and they can do whatever they want.”

By akfire1

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