The Amazon Defense Coalition, an organization that pumps out press releases almost every week, cries about free speech in its latest message to the masses. Karen Hinton, Amazon Defense Coalition’s prolific press release machine, leads her latest statement with the following headline:
“Chevron Facing Free Speech Problems In U.S. Over Defense of $27 Billion Ecuador Lawsuit”
This statement comes from Hinton, a public relations professional whose sole purpose is to distribute press releases to the widest possible audience. Hinton’s tool of choice is a paid service called Business Wire. Here’s a quote from Business Wire’s website describing its press release distribution services:
“Delivering your press release through Business Wire means you’ll reach all your targets: print and broadcast newsrooms, individual reporters and editors, consumers, financial and news portals, websites, news syndicators, bloggers, social media networks and more. And, our local newsrooms have the expertise to help guide you and your news to achieve your goals.”
Does that sound like the Amazon Defense Coalition is having a problem getting its message out?
The press release also goes out of its way to defend Cristobal Bonifaz, the lawyer who filed the original lawsuit against Chevron. Bonifaz’s lawsuit was thrown out by a U.S. District Court judge after two plaintiffs admitted that they didn’t have cancer during cross-examination. Bonifaz was fined $45,000 by the judge, who said Bonifaz should have known the cancer claims were bogus.
Chevron recently filed a malicious prosecution complaint against Bonifaz with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco which reads in part:
“The larger scheme is a long-standing and ongoing unlawful effort by Bonifaz and other lawyers and entities to extort money from Chevron by blaming it for harms that are as non-existent as the false cancer claims.”
Amazon Defense Coalition’s decision to hold Bonifaz up as a martyr is a mystery. Hinton’s decision to draw the public’s attention to Bonifaz’s activities is a public relations blunder.