- Everything PR Reveals Quote Came From Norway Burson CEO -
An op-ed by Ronn Torossian in The NY Observer asserts – with proof – that the WPP-Public Relations unit, Burson-Marsteller has been hired by The Ennahdha Party, which is the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood – while Burson refused an engagement from The State of Israel.
Torossian’s op-ed documents how Burson-Marsteller “refused to work with the democratic nation of Israel to help the tiny Jewish state improve its image. In turning down a potential $3.5 million engagement, Sigurd Grytten, Burson-Marsteller’s Managing Director said, “We will not deliver tender to such a project… we are running a commercial venture. If we accept this project, this will create a great amount of negative reactions … Israel is a particularly controversial project.”
Government filings “reveal that the PR agency has been hired to improve the foreign image of Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, the Muslim Brotherhood of Tunisia. They will “arrange meetings between Ennahdha representatives and stakeholders” and provide Ennahda “support on media and stakeholder outreach in advance of upcoming elections.” His op-ed – which may be read in full here<http://observer.com/2014/09/the-muslim-brotherhoods-new-pr-agency-rejects-israel/> claims that “this Washington, D.C. PR firm will not work with Israel – but will represent Tunisia’s Muslim Brotherhood Party.”
Burson-Marsteller’s response appears on their home page, claiming: “This firm has no policy about whether or not to represent Israel.” They continue “Further, the employee he refers to no longer works at Burson-Marsteller and has not worked at the firm since 2012. He was never a member of the firm’s global leadership. His sole role was to head our office in Norway. That employee, in fact, was responding to a hypothetical question from a journalist in 2011 about representing Israel in Norway. He answered hypothetically on his own without consulting anyone in the leadership of the firm, and his answer does not reflect the policy of this firm.”
While Burson attempts to paint Grytten as the Anti-Semite, the attachment shows that Sigurt Grytten was CEO of Burson-Marsteller Norway. Further, a quote from Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller EMEA thanking him for his service notes, “I would also like to thank Sigurd for everything he has done for Burson-Marsteller and hope we will have the chance to work together again in the future.”
That release remains available at: http://www.burson-marsteller.com/press-release/morten-pettersen-becomes-ceo-of-burson-marsteller-norway/#sthash.snBaZg5F.dpuf
View the release mentioned on our twitter.
No record of condemnation or refuting the refusal of Israel can be found. Further, Burson-Marsteller would not confirm to The Observer that they would represent Israel. The PR firm’s CEO, Don Baer, is a former Clinton White House Staffer and regarded as close to Hillary Clinton. Social media has seen thousands of comments in anger against Burson-Marsteller.
The story is currently the lead story on one of Israel’s leading news sites, Israel National News, under the headline “U.S. PR Giant Refuses Israel as a Client, Works for Brotherhood” and may be read at: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185528#.VCdpWZt0yUl
Burson-Marsteller: Say It Ain’t So!