An animal rights activist posing as the chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods was interviewed on the air by Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, reports Erik Wemple of The Washington Post.
Wemple reports, “In this case, the accusation is coming from Smithfield Foods: ‘FOX Business aired a segment that was a complete hoax,’ said Smithfield Chief Administrative Officer Keira Lombardo in a statement sent to the Erik Wemple Blog. At issue was a segment of Maria Bartiromo’s morning show on Fox Business. She presented an interview with Dennis Organ, the incoming chief executive of Smithfield, whose Sioux City, S.D., plant was the site of a much-publicized coronavirus outbreak earlier this year. OSHA found that more than 1,200 Smithfield employees contracted the disease, and four died in the spring, according to Reuters; the company is contesting the findings.
“Perhaps we should say that Bartiromo interviewed ‘Dennis Organ.’ That’s because animal-rights activist Matt Johnson of Direct Action Everywhere was impersonating the real Organ. The scam allowed him to filibuster the segment as he toggled between CEO-speak and activist talking points. How alike do these fellows look? Judge for yourself: Here’s Organ; here’s Johnson.
“Clearly Fox Business producers need to brush up on the hairstyles of meat-industry executives. ‘A simple Google search for a photo of our CEO would have prevented this from happening,’ said Lombardo in her statement. Bartiromo did the journalistic thing later at the end of that day’s program: ‘We have been punk’d,’ she said, summarizing the situation and apologizing to Organ, Smithfield and the Fox Business audience.”
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