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Twitter users are calling for Campbell’s Soup to remove its vice president of government affairs after he tweeted a message promoting a conspiracy theory that liberal philanthropist George Soros is bankrolling the migrant caravan traveling to the U.S.
On Monday, Campbell’s executive and former Senate secretary Kelly Johnston tweeted that George Soros’ Open Society Foundation was funding “vans…troop carriers and…rail cars” to take members of the migrant caravan north, and had planned and executed every part of the caravan, including where its members “defecate.” He also alleged that the foundation had “an army of American immigration lawyers waiting at the border” for the migrants. Previous tweets of his had also promoted this conspiracy theory.
Vice President of Government Affairs for @CampbellSoupCo @johnston_kelly (a former Secretary of the US Senate under Bob Dole) spreading conspiracy theory about @GeorgeSoros' @OpenSociety planning & executing migrant caravan "including where they defecate." https://t.co/vDQvw4mUwh pic.twitter.com/NdLnpGQ9uE— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) October 23, 2018
The latest tweet, along with Johnston’s account, has since been deleted. In a statement to the Washington Post, Campbell’s said it doesn’t support Johnston’s views shared in his tweet, and that his opinions on Twitter are “his individual views and do not represent the position of Campbell Soup Company.” Johnston did not respond to the Post‘s request for comment.
Despite Campbell’s distancing of their executive, the internet is pushing for the company to distance itself from Johnston even further, calling for his dismissal. Some have threatened to boycott the company’s products until Johnston is gone.
Hey, @CampbellSoupCo, you need to fire @johnston_kelly. Seriously, regardless of whether they’re only his personal views, your continued employment of this noxious conspiracy theorist does reflect on your company - badly. No more Campbells for me and my family— Adam Frank (@adamfrank64) October 23, 2018
Until Mr. Johnston is gone from Campbell Soup Company, my family will not buy any of your products. What he tweeted is reprehensible.— Damon T. Bethea (@damonbethea1) October 23, 2018
In a letter to the foundation’s president, Campbell’s Soup’s president and CEO Keith McLoughlin wrote that Johnston, who has been with the company since 2002, was announced in August to be leaving the company in November.
“We regret that this episode happened and has colored his service to us,” McLoughlin wrote in the letter, according to Politico reporter Elana Schor.
UPDATE: Campbell Soup Co. pres/CEO responds to @OpenSociety after its lobbyist circulated conspiracy theory about Soros & the migrant caravan. Says the man’s tweets “are inconsistent with how Campbell approaches public debate.”— Elana Schor (@eschor) October 23, 2018
Also: lobbyist was already set to leave in Nov. pic.twitter.com/6nuZcmtPzP
The caravan of Central American migrants, including more than 2,700 people who have filed for asylum in Mexico, has been subject to other conspiratorial claims without evidence. On Monday, President Donald Trump alleged on Twitter that people from the Middle East were traveling with the group, before stating Tuesday afternoon that there is no evidence of the sort (and then flippantly suggesting that the Democrats were funding the caravan as well).
Around the same time Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton stated in a tweet that the agency “can confirm that there are individuals within the caravan who are gang members or have significant criminal histories.” These claims were also made without evidence.
H/T Washington Post
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.