Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo had to issue a correction on Wednesday after the Morning with Maria host was duped by an animal rights activist who posed as the CEO of a major pork processing company. The activist, Matt Johnson of Direct Action Everywhere, got pretty far into the interview while pretending to be Smithfield Foods CEO Dennis Organ. However, there were moments during the segment when Bartiromo started to realize something wasn’t quite right. Usually, CEOs don’t come right out and say that their plants are poised to be the source of another outbreak. Via Mediaite:
“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,” [Johnson] said.
Bartiromo noticeably rolled her eyes at that one, and not long after, she issued a correction once her producers realized what was happening.
“It appears we have been punked,” Bartiromo said. “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.”
After pulling off the successful stunt, Direct Action Everywhere released the following statement: “The action is part of DxE’s ‘No More Factory Farms‘ campaign, which calls on government officials to proactively prevent future pandemic outbreaks by introducing a moratorium prohibiting the construction of new factory farms and slaughterhouses.”