Consultant in disguise: FTI Consulting employee caught in lie

28 May 2019 2 min. read
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An FTI Consulting employee has been found out, after allegedly posing as a journalist at a March trial against the now-defunct agrochemical company Monsanto, one of the business advisory firm’s clients. The case was the second of three, which in total have resulted in Monsanto paying out billions to American cancer patients.

In the past two years, courts have decided that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide was to blame for the cancer diagnoses. Monsanto, which has been accused of misleading consumers, was acquired last year for $66 billion by pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer, headquartered in Germany.

After the purchase, Bayer discontinued the Monsanto name and began to manufacture products under the Bayer brand. That didn’t stop legal proceedings. Monsanto has since lost cases to a school groundskeeper and an American retiree, each of whom was diagnosed with cancer after use of Roundup herbicide. In a third case, a California jury this month ordered the company to pay $2 billion in damages to a married couple that developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using the product. Bayer will appeal each of the verdicts.Consultant in disguise: FTI Consulting employee caught in lie“Upon learning that said employee misidentified herself during the conduct of that assignment, the firm initiated an internal review and will take necessary and appropriate steps consistent with that commitment,” Matthew Bashalany, an FTI Consulting spokesman, said in an interview with the Agence France Presse (AFP). 

Bashalany also told PR Week that the employee’s attendance at the trial was at the request of FTI, with the sole purpose of taking notes on the proceedings. Journalists beg to differ. They claim the woman said she was a freelance journalist with British tech news site The Inquirer and the BBC. She revealed no connection to FTI as she discussed the case with those covering the case.

Both the BBC and The Inquirer denied beforehand knowledge of the incident, claiming that they never commissioned the woman as a freelancer. The firm’s blog, however, praises the employee’s tactical writing abilities. The employee’s LinkedIn page, which has been changed, showed her to be an employee of FTI’s strategic communications division.