woman wearing sunglasses and hat covering smirk with hand with caption "Literally just called the prison to ask for day laborers" (l) woman replying (r)

@troublepuffs/TikTok

‘That doesn’t f*cking sit right’: Rancher requests day laborers from prison in viral TikTok, sparking outrage

'This literally sounds like slavery.'

 

Rachel Kiley

IRL

Published Oct 12, 2021   Updated Oct 13, 2021, 9:49 am CDT

A TikTok video about prison labor is facing criticism and even drawing some comparisons to slavery.

A now-deleted video from @howdydewdrop racked up stitches and angry comments after it was initially posted. It featured a woman in a cowboy hat sitting in a truck laughing as a man off-camera talks on the phone.

“Literally just called the prison to ask for day laborers,” the text overlay reads.


The video didn’t sit well with critics of the prison labor system, who likened the use of day laborers for free or minimal wages to slavery and questioned the purpose behind posting a TikTok like this in the first place.

“There’s something about white people calling prisons to have day labor that doesn’t fucking sit right with me,” TikToker @troublepuffs said in a stitch with the original video.

“In what universe can you have a group of people who are in jail, cannot consent to do anything, literally have no rights, but you can call and order them to do work?” asked @_anastasiagracia_. “Are they getting paid? This literally sounds like slavery. And even if they are getting paid…pocket change ain’t shit.”

Texas, where the video appears to have been recorded, not only has the largest state prison population in the United States but is one of the five remaining states to use forced labor from prisons. Prisoners who refuse to work lose privileges, and not every job pays. Those that do generally pay as low as less than a dollar per hour.

Yet Texas makes an estimated profit of $70 million per year off of this labor.

“The 13th Amendment says that slavery is still legal as long as you’re duly convicted of a crime,” @ispeak0906 told his viewers.

@howdydewdrop appears to have deleted her TikTok and is unavailable for comment.


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*First Published: Oct 12, 2021, 12:51 pm CDT