The Men of Atalissa | The New York Times

  • Published: 08 March 2014
  • For decades, a group of men with intellectual disabilities seemed happy living in a small Iowa town. Then their neighbors found out the truth. This film is being shown in collaboration with

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    The Men of Atalissa | The New York Times

Comments • 530

  • Cassandra M. Nance
    Cassandra M. Nance  14 hours back

    Now society has proof that they have been treating disabled recipients very bad on disability.

    • Cassandra M. Nance
      Cassandra M. Nance  14 hours back

      How do society think of your I Q? Who would reveal such a disgrace?

      • Cassandra M. Nance
        Cassandra M. Nance  14 hours back

        They treated these disabled people so bad. God don't like ugly. You reap what you sow.

        • Cassandra M. Nance
          Cassandra M. Nance  14 hours back

          Look how repulsive these women look. They are extremely over weight and not a care in the world about those people as long as they were eating good. Shameful.

          • Cassandra M. Nance
            Cassandra M. Nance  14 hours back

            This is so appalling and so disgraceful how do you treat the disabled this way? You are such wretched miserable people for such a disgrace. This is insane.

            • Cassandra M. Nance
              Cassandra M. Nance  14 hours back

              You just showed that you charged them over half of the their disability money on bills so how did they have clean clothes?

              • Cassandra M. Nance
                Cassandra M. Nance  14 hours back

                The families of these people should be given reparations for this disgrace.

                • Cassandra M. Nance
                  Cassandra M. Nance  14 hours back

                  They're showing traumatic abuse against disabled citizens. This is a lawsuit.

                  • Philly Neon
                    Philly Neon  3 days back

                    How sick! the people just didnt get it or were in denial!

                    • Barbara Happyface
                      Barbara Happyface  4 days back

                      What a sad story!! To do this to these men is an evil most never know!!

                      • Holly Golightly
                        Holly Golightly  4 days back

                        My heart breaks for these poor men. I will never understand how anyone can abuse the vulnerable like this.

                        • Rebecca Farley
                          Rebecca Farley  6 days back

                          Every facility should be marshaled by someone who can spot abuse on a regular bases. When it comes down to people who can't stand up for themselves, it is our job to stand up for them. No different than using prisons for cheap labor.

                          • Tony Bickert
                            Tony Bickert  6 days back

                            I expect most of the lynch mob commenters here have never worked closely with people with intellectual disabilities. This is not a good vs. evil conflict here. Nobody wanted to care for these men properly so they were warehoused. Where were their families? Then they got jobs at the turkey and made money! They felt like they mattered! Oh, and, hey, somebody has to prep your turkey people. That their jobs turned into slave labor was tragic and inevitable without government regulators doing their jobs. Where were they? The NYT doesn't go there either -- not that there was much regulating going on in farm country in the 70s. Anyway, the truth is somewhere in between the do-gooders commenting and the "evil-doers" in the documentary. The truth is always in the middle. I work with people with disabilities.

                            • DEATHWISH -CHRIS
                              DEATHWISH -CHRIS  2 weeks back

                              First off, they aren't "boy's"!
                              if Mr. Big ball's cared so much for these individuals.
                              He would have made it a point to be hands on.
                              Constantly checking in with them.
                              I'm well aware of the challenges of taking care of folks who have a diminished capacity.
                              But the onus is almost entirely on big ball's!
                              The shitbags that tormented these individuals were under his employ.

                              • DEATHWISH -CHRIS
                                DEATHWISH -CHRIS  2 weeks back

                                just like every seriously dysfunctional family!

                                • Catherine NELSON
                                  Catherine NELSON  2 weeks back

                                  Ladies, why don't you make quilts for the "boys"?
                                  I'm thinking this might be a way for you all to "re-connect" with these men. Also, maybe send them some home baked bread.
                                  Just a suggestion, but I know those would be tangible proofs of the fact that you all care and that you miss them.

                                  • rita brown
                                    rita brown  3 weeks back

                                    Hoping the town put a memorial in place, of the bunkhouse. These men and their stories need always, to be remembered. How many situations, like this, are out there, now?.. Pay attention, to the tears of a clown

                                    • Charlotte White
                                      Charlotte White  4 weeks back

                             we just weren't looking. Excellent qoute by the lady at beginning of the Video.

                                      • Charlotte White
                                        Charlotte White  4 weeks back

                                        2nd part- "So things that are happening around us we miss them"

                                        • Charlotte White
                                          Charlotte White  4 weeks back

                                          "routine can be a dangerous thing for all of us because we stop looking at our to do list.". etc.... excellent qoute.should go down in history

                                          • kurosan
                                            kurosan  1 months back

                                            Thank you for covering this and giving these men a voice.

                                            • John Smith
                                              John Smith  1 months back

                                              It sounds like the Germans who said they didn't know what was going on in the concentration camps in ww2

                                              • Joh2n
                                                Joh2n  1 months back

                                                Capitalism at its finest. Lord have mercy on us all. God bless

                                                • SpinningSage
                                                  SpinningSage  1 months back

                                                  These people were failed!

                                                  • Grace Knight
                                                    Grace Knight  1 months back

                                                    Thank goodness for that wonderful redhead lady! If not for her those men would probably still be enslaved, none of the other townsfolk cared enough to speak up.

                                                    • Genaro Silvera
                                                      Genaro Silvera  1 months back

                                                      And this is the first world? Everybody is trying to blame other from the guilt.
                                                      The population of Atallissa are only trying not to be blamed for this slavery case...that's their only interest...not the mentally challenged people that lived there.....and they are right! They are not to be blamed.
                                                      The owner of the turkey factory should be incarcerated for slavery.
                                                      And the goverment should stop playing dumb with all that burocracy only to not pay them what they deserve, taking advatage of them because they are mentally challenge people that don't know best.
                                                      At the end.....if this is what the almighty united states of america takes care of cases like should be ashamed of youre selves!!! This is inmoral, unhumane and simply inacceptable.
                                                      Shame on you!

                                                      • Jean Greenfield
                                                        Jean Greenfield  1 months back

                                                        Seeing them dressed as clowns ....!! Horrific .

                                                        • janefromtennessee
                                                          janefromtennessee  1 months back

                                                          The whole town should have known. The men weren't allowed to go to the quick Mart. It's a horrible town. Nothing good can be said about the townspeople and the pastor or priest.

                                                          • TheFuzzyPenguin
                                                            TheFuzzyPenguin  1 months back

                                                            Sad story. Thanks for sharing. Those policemen didn't search very well if Alford Busby was found dead less than 2 miles away frozen in the snow on a farm. Seems fishy. SHAME ON THEM!

                                                            • ChrisGoldie
                                                              ChrisGoldie  1 months back

                                                              Man the way everyone was calling these men boys went from ight to naw drastically by the end.

                                                              • Jose Antonio Quintana
                                                                Jose Antonio Quintana  2 months back

                                                                There’s no excuse for this to have gone on as long as it did!!

                                                                I’m praying for these men..

                                                                • JEWELL SINGLETARY
                                                                  JEWELL SINGLETARY  2 months back

                                                                  this is disgusting and deplorable that these men STILL have not been properly compensated for their work.

                                                                  • David Frendo
                                                                    David Frendo  2 months back

                                                                    And with all the outrage over this video in this comment section, people are still being blinded by their emotions. How do you think you got the meat you're eating today? Where does every ICE raid always take place? At meat processing plants. These disabled men have simply been replaced with employees living here illegally. Nobody is outraged by that though. Do you honestly think conditions are any better today as you feign outrage on your pretty cell phone, sitting on your soft couch, eating a turkey sandwich?

                                                                    • Littlest Hobo
                                                                      Littlest Hobo  2 months back

                                                                      Im sorry but every single person in that community had a chance to step in.. i find it hard to believe that there wasn't muttered gossip about not trusting them etc etc.. You just know they were on that wave ever since they moved in! and now this news has broken.. ''ooh they were the best 'boys'''... they are men for a starters. MEN that had their lives taken from them. This is unforgivable. Enjoy your ghost town, because only now do you realise that those boys were keeping the whole town afloat..ALWAYS speak up if you see any kind of abuse, child, person, animal, whatever, ALWAYS speak up! there is only one man in this that i kind of respect for giving the initial tip off about the abuse... but these men were done so wrong, by everyone they came into contact with. I hope they get some pay out at least.. though, you cant put a price on a lifetime of experience that they have missed out on, never mind the abuse they endured. This has made me so angry.

                                                                      • Littlest Hobo
                                                                        Littlest Hobo  2 months back

                                                                        Watching this and just assumed it must have happened decades ago.. im sickened to hear this ran to 2009.. wtaf. those poor men.. their whole lives taken and abused. This is so wrong :(

                                                                        • TruePowerIsMine
                                                                          TruePowerIsMine  2 months back

                                                                          lol it not personal its just business, welcome to Capitalism you have to exploit something,

                                                                          • Shazzy1228
                                                                            Shazzy1228  2 months back

                                                                            I still don't understand how this could have happened for so long! Its horrible and no charges to the turkey plant? Outrageous.

                                                                            • Robert M
                                                                              Robert M  2 months back

                                                                              As long as there are people that can be taken advantage of, there will be unscrupulous people who will capitalize on it. It is a shame that this happened here, in this country.

                                                                              • mike askme
                                                                                mike askme  2 months back

                                                                                I bet that Owner of the Turkey service company got a lot of money hidden away, sorry SOB that he is. They want it gone so it does not remind them that they failed their fellow human beings, what low life's.

                                                                                • Josie Perez
                                                                                  Josie Perez  2 months back

                                                                                  Henry's service owner still claimed that they did a good service and the boys should be there with him when he knows his company MADE MILLIONS off those poor disabled boys!! Animal abusers get more fines and jail time than that man EVER DID OR WILL PAY!!! SO sad!! I always say when moms know they are having defective kids and know or can't take care of them PLEASE ABORT THEM UNLESS YOU WANNA READ ABOUT THEM BEING TREATED WORST THAN DOG!!!

                                                                                  • Andrew Amundrud
                                                                                    Andrew Amundrud  2 months back

                                                                                    George Bush Jr. on the right? 7:38

                                                                                    • Watery Watery
                                                                                      Watery Watery  2 months back

                                                                                      I wonder how he escaped the Turkey plant and ended up president? LOL

                                                                                  • 22vx
                                                                                    22vx  2 months back

                                                                                    there's no such thing as an eleven-year old man

                                                                                    • Rachel Menefee
                                                                                      Rachel Menefee  2 months back

                                                                                      Ask yourself, What is the fate of females born into this situation. What happens to disabled women?

                                                                                      • Keith Harris
                                                                                        Keith Harris  2 months back

                                                                                        61dollars a month. Im not the smartest person but dam it. I think these owners owe these men or their living survivors a whole lot of money. Still to this day they call these men boys.

                                                                                        • Snowman374th
                                                                                          Snowman374th  2 months back

                                                                                          Well pay phones are out.. RADIATION IS IN... WHERE'S your cell phone! Keep it away from your head, Heart, & Genitals.

                                                                                          • Andy Macedo
                                                                                            Andy Macedo  2 months back

                                                                                            Don people don't like asking for help ! Especially not daily ! Hundreds of times in a month ! That's unspeakable ! Congrats on the fun game tho ! You winning yet ?

                                                                                            • Vanessa Arias-Herrera
                                                                                              Vanessa Arias-Herrera  2 months back

                                                                                              I could only stomach this disgusting story halfway. These abused MEN deserve so much more than what we can offer.

                                                                                              • Edward Bruggeman
                                                                                                Edward Bruggeman  2 months back

                                                                                                Of course it would benefit the ranchers behind it. Profit has become more important than people and it has been this way for decades.... edit 'the Magic of Simplicity'? That is clearly meant to be a tongue-in-cheek insult poorly disguised as a title.... u didn't realize because u never bothered to look into it....