NEW YORK: 5W Public Relations and an Orthodox Jewish social justice group are at odds over 5W's role in disseminating the organization's statement after another blogger found a misidentified comment allegedly traced back to the IP address of a 5W employee.
The comment in question was a statement from Uri L'Tzedek, calling for an end to a boycott of 5W client Agriprocessors – a kosher and non-kosher product manufacturer - on the EssentialEstrogen.com blog posted under the name “Uri L'Tzedek.”
EssentialEstrogen.com blogger Lynda Waddington traced the comment in question, posted July 8, to the same IP address that FailedMessiah.com blogger Shmarya Rosenberg found leading to the home computer of 5W SVP Juda Engelmayer, which had allegedly been used to post comments purportedly from another Agriprocessors' critic.
Although the press release allegedly posted by 5W is the same one that the Uri L'Tzedek's group had drafted, the group's leadership denies that it asked the agency to distribute it.
“[Co-director Ari Hart] and I had never been in touch with [5W PR CEO Ronn] Torossian until [July 18], and we had certainly never been a client of theirs, nor have we ever instructed them to do anything, nor would we have wanted that,” said Shmuly Yanklowitz, Uri L'Tzedek co-director. “We were boycotting the Agriprocessors company, and they are the PR firm for them.”
5W PR CEO Ronn Torossian said in numerous e-mails that his agency was told to disseminate the statement.
“The press release was provided to us by the organization in advance of public release, and we were tasked with its distribution,” Torossian said, via e-mail. “The release is exactly as it appears on Uri L'Tzedek's Web site; it does not offer any additional or alternate messages than the one that Uri L'Tzedek issued to our client and to the public.”
Torossian declined to name the person he claimed had authorized 5W to distribute the Uri' L'Tzedek statement.
The “Uri L'Tzedek” comment on EssentialEstrogen.com was left around the same time as those left at FailedMessiah.com, though it was posted prior to when FailedMessiah discovered the comment. Torossian has subsequently said the agency has “instituted internal measures to ensure this cannot happen again.”
“I was working on an article about [Allen] being impersonated, and then I started reading on FailedMessiah.com about how…computers from [Engelmayer's] home had been used, and I checked that IP address [on FailedMessiah.com] and checking the [comment] on my site, it was from the same IP,” Waddington said.
Members of both Heksher Tzedek, the group that 5W reportedly impersonated a rabbi from, and Uri L'Tzedek said they are considering legal options.
Asked if Agriprocessors is still employing 5W, Menachem Lubinsky, president and CEO of Lubicom Marketing, a consultant to the processor, said the company would have no further comment on the matter.