A vegan advocate appeared on Fox News posing as the CEO of global meat giant Smithfield Foods.
Matt Johnson, of advocacy organization DxE, appeared on the Mornings with Maria show – leading host Maria Bartiromo to admit ‘we were punked’.
Johnson posed as Smithfield Foods’ new CEO and President Dennis Organ, and in DxE’s words, ‘expressed remorse for what he described as the company’s legacy of abuses to public health, the environment, animals and its own workers’.
‘No more factory farms’
According to DxE, the stunt was part of its ongoing No More Factory Farms campaign. This ‘calls on government officials to proactively prevent future pandemic outbreaks by introducing a moratorium prohibiting the construction of new factory farms and slaughterhouses’.
The organization says a similar Cory Booker proposal is ‘an indication of both the urgency and public support for bold action’. In addition, a recent survey found 68 percent support among Californians.
Slaughterhouses and factory farms
The action follows both slaughterhouses making headlines this year, after virus outbreaks outpaced those in the rest of the US, leading one analyst to describe the facilities as ‘COVID-19 hotspots’.
Factory farms have also come under fire, being described as a ‘timebomb for future pandemics‘ by UK doctors, as the grim conditions create opportunity for the genesis of new zoonotic diseases.
In a statement sent to Plant Based News about the prank, Keira Lombardo, Chief Administrative Officer of Smithfield Food said: “FOX Business aired a segment that was a complete hoax.
“A radical animal rights group, which has committed crimes from coast to coast, posed one of its members as the CEO of Smithfield Foods.
It was not the CEO. A simple Google search for a photo of our CEO would have prevented this from happening.
“This allowed false information to be aired, and Fox has aired an apology for this complete lapse.”
‘We will be more vigilant’
Following the prank, Bartiromo issued a statement, saying: “We have an important correction to make. It appears we have been punked.
“Earlier in the program, I interviewed someone claiming to be the CEO of Smithfield Foods, Dennis Organ. We’ve since learned that that was not Dennis Organ, but an imposter making false claims about the company.
“He is someone who has absolutely no relation to Smithfield Foods, we want to apologize to Dennis Organ, Smithfield Foods, and to our audience for making this mistake. We will of course be more vigilant.”
Speaking about the action, Johnson said: “A pandemic is ravaging global society, the sky is practically on fire, slaughterhouse workers are dying, and billions of animals are suffering needlessly.
“The signs could not be clearer. We must take bold action now.”