Maria Bartiromo Duped Into On-Air Interview With Animal Rights Activist Posing as CEO of Pork Giant


Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo interviewed an animal rights activist posing as the CEO of food processing company Smithfield for an entire segment on Wednesday morning.

At the end of her daily show Mornings With Maria, the anchor issued a correction to the interview, noting: “We have been punk’d.”

The segment was presented as an interview with Dennis Organ, the CEO of Smithfield Foods Inc., on providing vaccines for food workers amid an outbreak of coronavirus cases at one the company’s plants. Bartiromo was actually speaking to Matt Johnson of Direct Action Everywhere, a grassroots animal rights group.

The activist posing as the CEO carried out the interview in character, while making some notable statements. At one point, he claimed that as CEO, “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 said.

Bartiromo appeared somewhat skeptical as the interview went on, even at one point rolling her eyes.

She noted that Smithfield Foods is “the world’s largest pork producer” and was recently acquired by China, prompting an exchange about the company’s international distribution.

At the end of her show, Bartiromo delivered a correction.

We have an important correction to make. It appears we have been punk’d. 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.

Watch both moments above, via Fox Business.

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor in Chief of Mediaite. Send tips via email: Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin