The public relations firm representing the beleaguered Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse is facing claims it impersonated a leading critic of the company online.
A commenter purporting to be Rabbi Morris Allen, the head of the Conservative movement’s ethical kashrut initiative Hekhsher Tzedek, posted two comments to the blog FailedMessiah, which is operated by Shmarya Rosenberg. Allen and Rosenberg are frequent critics of Agriprocessors, which was the target of a massive federal immigration raid May 12.
Rosenberg reported that the two fake comments were posted last week from an Internet address linked to 5WPR, the public relations firm representing Agriprocessors. The comments portrayed Allen as being motivated by a desire to promote the interests of Hekhsher Tzedek and the Conservative movement rather than finding out the truth about Agriprocessors and seeing the company make improvements.
Allen said he did not leave any of the comments and may pursue legal action against the firm. According to the Forward.com, 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian said that “a senior staff member … has taken full responsibility” for the hoax.
Michael Siegel, a Chicago rabbi and the national co-chair of Hekhsher Tzedek, said he has sought legal advice.
“We are going to pursue all avenues,” Siegel said. “This is just a terrible statement on so many levels that we’ve come to something like this in the Jewish community. I don’t know how much lower we can go in this whole thing.” —jta