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Posts Tagged ‘Becky Warren’

Wal-Mart Dumps Mercury

Some unsurprising news to get the week started: Wal-Mart has ended its relationship with Mercury Public Relations, the firm that ran into trouble when one of its staffers was caught pretending to be a reporter to get into a closed presser.

Wal-Mart’s senior director of community affairs Steven Restivo told the L.A. Times, “We take this matter seriously and have taken the appropriate steps to ensure this type of activity is not repeated.”

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Was The Now Former Mercury Public Affairs Associate ‘Thrown Under the Bus’?

Once it was revealed that an associate at Mercury Public Affairs, a firm that reps Walmart, had posed as a USC student to attend a closed press conference hosted by Warehouse Workers United, she was swiftly sacked.

Commenters on our story expressed skepticism over the firm’s claim that Harnett didn’t first consult with her managers before taking action.  Today, Gawker wonders whether “Harnett was being scapegoated.” And Gawker links to others on Twitter (we found a few more as well) who have expressed a fair amount of doubt that a junior staffer would take such a great risk on her own.

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An Associate at a Firm That Reps Walmart Was Caught Posing as a Student at a Closed Presser

Warehouse Workers United (WWU), a group representing the interests of warehouse employees, says a PR associate at Mercury Public Affairs, a firm that works with Walmart, posed as a student to infiltrate one of its press conferences. The WWU says it was a “closed press conference” and the associate, Stephanie Harnett, signed in on their media list as a “USC student” named “Zoe Mitchell.”

Harnett then showed up at a press conference yesterday and handed out business cards to reporters “telling people she works for Walmart.” Yesterday’s presser was held to announce what the WWU calls “the largest anti-Walmart rally in US history.”

Gawkerwhich first reported on the story, has a link to a document showing that Mercury is being paid $60,000 to help Walmart open up a new store in Los Angeles’ Chinatown area. And the WWU has posted pictures of Harnett and the business card she was handing out.

We were in touch with Mercury about the story and received this statement from Becky Warren, Mercury‘s MD:

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