JBS, the parent company of JBS USA, has denied organizing a Google advertising campaign against a prominent Brazilian activist. According to The Gaurdian, Leonard Sakamoto, president of the NGO Reporter Brasil, has been the target of physical and legal threats over his journalism and activism in support of workers’ rights.

In 2015, search results for his name and his blog were listed under an advertisement stating: “Leonardo Sakamoto Lies.”

An article published in Friday’s O Folha de São Paulo claims that JBS, and a digital marketing agency called 4Buzz, were behind the campaign.

A lawyer representing Sakamoto filed a request to a civil court in São Paulo for Google to release information about who ordered the advert. Google cited JBS’s name, address and phone number in its response to the court order, as well as a number of IP addresses. But it declined to state who paid for the advert, citing client confidentiality.

A separate judicial request revealed that a majority of the IP addresses were linked to 4Buzz, which was contracted by JBS as a digital marketer in 2013.

JBS posted on its Facebook page last week that it “denies promoting any kind of action with the goal of defaming or attacking the journalist Leonardo Sakamoto.” It was seeking to “clarify the incident”, it added.

JBS has been repeatedly cited in Repórter Brasil articles for workers’ rights violations.

Source: The Guardian