Consultant to Monsanto and Bayer Appears as Journalist in Roundup Trial


His employer, FTI Consulting, advised in particular Monsanto during the acquisition by Bayer.


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Lobbyists posing as journalists? FTI Consulting, a leading consulting and public relations firm with Monsanto customers and Germany's Bayer, is accused of committing this serious ethical misconduct. Saturday, May 18, AFP reports that a thirty-year-old who said he was covering a lawsuit about Monsanto's controversial herbicide, Roundup, as a freelance journalist, was actually used by FTI.

This case comes as the agrochemical giant Bayer-Monsanto is struggling with a controversy and investigation in France, after revelations from France 2 ("The Eye of the 20 hours" and "Special Envoy"). In 2016, the communications agency Fleishman Hillard reportedly staged hundreds of celebrities, including journalists, on Monsanto's behalf regarding their position on GMOs or glyphosate, or their propensity to be influenced.

During this trial, this employee regularly claimed to be a freelance journalist, citing the BBC and the British specialist newspaper The Inquirer. Both media denied to AFP that she covered the case for them.

According to the consulting firm, "the mission given to the employee in question was to attend the trial and her purpose was expressly and solely to take notes on the proceedings" at the hearing, which was held in San Francisco, California. "When (FTI) learned that the said employee had misrepresented herself during her mission, the firm has begun an internal investigation and will take the necessary and appropriate measures "assured a spokesman to AFP. The company is "determined to operate in accordance with the highest ethical principles" and takes "the subject very seriously", he added.

FTI Consulting also confirmed that it had advised Monsanto on the acquisition by Bayer announced in 2016 and finalized in 2018. "Monsanto is still a customer", added the company.

On the LinkedIn professional network, the employee is currently presenting herself as "consultant and freelance journalist", a mention added recently. Previously, she indicated only working since May 2014 for FTI Consulting, within its division "Strategic Communication". This entity is specialized "in the use of communication to help companies achieve discrete business goals", according to the FTI website.

The trial attended by the FTI employee resulted in the end of March sentencing Monsanto to pay more than $ 80 million for hiding the dangerousness of Roundup.

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