The PR firm representing Agriprocessors is facing claims it impersonated online a leading critic of the company. An online 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, the largest kosher meat producer in the United States, which was the target of a massive federal immigration raid May 12. Rosenberg reported that the two fake comments were posted Tuesday from an Internet address linked to 5WPR, the public relations firm representing Agriprocessors. On the same day, a third comment by someone claiming to be Allen was left on a JTA article about Agriprocessors. All three 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 told JTA that he did not leave any of the comments and may pursue legal action against the firm. Ronn Torossian, 5WPR’s president and CEO, said the company was investigating and had no comment. 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 told JTA. “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.”