Outspoken critic of Agriprocessors (the kosher IA meatpacking company which ICE raided May 12 to apprehend nearly 400 undocumented workers), Rabbi Morris Allen was astonished to read blog comments attributed to him that he never wrote. The Iowa Independent reports that someone associated with a New York-based public relations firm hired by Agriprocessors was impersonating Allen online.
Allen remarks: "What's ironic is that [Agriprocessors] is currently being investigated, and there are two plant supervisors sitting in jail for encouraging people to use false identities," Allen said. "Now the Agriprocessors' PR firm believes it is acceptable to just take someone else's identity and run with it. It is outrageous to say the least."
Neither Allen nor the movement he founded to create ethical standards for the production of kosher food has received an apology. The owner of the blog investigated the IP addresses of the phony statements--including one statement in which Allen's name was misspelled--and discovered that they originated from a computer connected to the PR firm's network. The firm, 5W Public Relations, represents diverse prestigeous accounts such as Fannie Mae, Harrah's and the American Bible Society. After an initial denial, the firm acknowleged the truth of the accusations and attributed the situation to corporate growing pains.
Allen, meanwhile, is consulting a lawyer to determine his response.
The joke on the streets in Iowa since May: the meat may have been kosher, but Agriprocessors' business practices were anything but that. Now, the sleeze deepens. To date, no upper management personnel are under arrest. The two middle management supervisors who are in custody are both Hispanic.