On Wednesday’s episode of “Mornings With Maria,” Bartiromo featured an interview she said was with Dennis Organ, the new CEO and president of pork industry giant Smithfield Foods.
However, the interview was actually with Matt Johnson, an activist for the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere.
While posing as Organ, Johnson told viewers that factory farms like the ones operated by Smithfield are likely breeding grounds for future pandemics.
When Bartiromo asked about Smithfield’s processing plant in South Dakota ― the site of a major COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year ― Johnson posing as Organ told her that the company farms are “petri dishes for new diseases” and noted that hog farming also “causes immense damage to our air and waterways.”
Johnson then claimed that Smithfield would attempt to mitigate the environmental impacts of its industry by spending “half a billion dollars a year starting in 2021.”
Although Bartiromo can be seen rolling her eyes at some of the comments Johnson made, she didn’t appear to suspect she was the victim of a prank. That is, until the end of her show when she admitted she’d been duped.
“It appears we have been punk’d,” 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,” she said. “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,” she promised.
You can see Bartiromo’s exchange with Johnson below: