- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 4, 2021

Newsmax was pranked by an animal rights activist posing as the CEO of meat processing giant Tyson Foods during a live TV interview in which the purported executive played audio of pigs being roasted alive.

The stunt Friday was the second of its sort pulled off by Matt Johnson of the group Direct Action Everywhere since late last year. He similarly tricked Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo back in December.

Posing as Tyson Foods CEO Donnie D. King, Mr. Johnson began the Newsmax interview by blaming the Biden administration for causing “accelerated and unprecedented inflation” impacting the meat industry.

Mr. Johnson said on the Newsmax program “Cortes & Pellegrino that Tyson was “doing all we can to keep our costs down” and subsequently described a meat industry process known as ventilation shutdown.

“It may be a little unorthodox of me to be saying this, quite frankly, but one of our main pork suppliers […] went with the most economic option available to them and they literally loaded thousands of pigs into industrial sheds. And they pumped in heat and steam, and they were really just roasting pigs alive,” Mr. Johnson said during the Newsmax interview.

“These were pigs that were squealing non-stop for hours on end. It’s a little rough to watch, but what do you do?” Mr. Johnson said on Newsmax while impersonating the Tyson Foods executive.

Still posing as Mr. King, the Newsmax guest then showed a news report about Mr. Johnson being charged over his activism and facing the possibility of spending several years imprisoned.

“So when people expose what’s happening in farms, [the] U.S. government defines that as terrorism. And if you want to know what the face of terrorism is right now, it’s Matt Johnson, right here, that you’re seeing,” he said near the end of the interview before playing audio that he said depicted the process of pigs being roasted. Newsmax ended the more than three-minute-long interview shortly after.

Tyson Foods and Newsmax did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Newsmax filed a copyright complaint against a video of the interview that Mr. Johnson had uploaded to YouTube, resulting in its removal.

Previously, Mr. Johnson posed as the CEO of Smithfield Foods for an interview aired last year on “Mornings with Maria” on Fox Business Network.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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