Fox Business anchor says she was ‘punk’d’ on air by animal rights activist
Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo told viewers Wednesday that her show had been “punk’d” after she interviewed an animal rights activist who claimed he was the CEO of the pork producer and food-processing company Smithfield Foods.
The segment earlier on in the show was presented as an interview with CEO Dennis Organ on the process of coronavirus vaccines being distributed to food workers at the company, which had an outbreak of coronavirus cases at one of its plants.
However, as it was later revealed, Bartiromo was actually speaking to Direct Action Everywhere activist Matt Johnson, who remained in character as Organ for the nearly six minute interview.
During the segment, Johnson acting as Organ said the food processing company has had a series of abuses to public health, animals, the environment and its own workers, adding that “the first change under my leadership is transparency and at times brutal honesty.”
“The truth is that our industry, in addition to the outbreaks that are happening at our plants, our industry poses a serious threat in effectively bringing on the next pandemic, with CDC data showing that three of four infectious diseases come from animals and the conditions inside of our of farms can sometimes be petri dishes for new diseases,” he added.
At the end of her show, “Mornings With Maria,” on Wednesday, Bartiromo said she had “an important correction to make.”
“It appears we have been punk’d,” she began. “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,” Bartiromo continued. “We will of course be more vigilant.”
Direct Action Everywhere, an international grassroots organization of animal rights activists, said in a news release Wednesday that the appearance was part of the group’s “No More Factory Farms” campaign, which aims to push government officials to “proactively prevent future pandemic outbreaks by introducing a moratorium prohibiting the construction of new factory farms and slaughterhouses.”
The organization added that earlier this year, Johnson led an investigation that exposed and ultimately ended the practice of “ventilation shutdown” mass killings of pigs at Iowa Select Farms, a major pork supplier.
In August, Johnson spearheaded a demonstration in which he called Smithfield Foods “The World’s Shittiest Company” at a Smithfield, Va., city meeting, next door to the company’s headquarters.
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