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.



Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend