After a Canada-based organisation Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) came into the light with reports of its alleged involvement in creating a ‘toolkit’ which was tweeted by global environmentalist Greta Thunberg, it on Saturday denied paying any money to pop star Rihanna for her post supporting the farmers’ protest in India.
The organisation, in a press release on its website, said it did not “coordinate Rihanna, Greta Thunberg or any number of specific celebrities to tweet about the farmers’ protest".
“We didn’t pay anyone to tweet — and certainly didn’t pay anyone $2.5m to do so. However, we did generally encourage the entire world to share this issue. Through the international collective of organizers we encouraged the world to pay attention and amplify this message," PJF said.
The statement was signed by Mo Dhaliwal and Anita Lal, director of the Canada-based World Sikh Organisation, and co-founder of PJF. Dhaliwal is the founder of PJF and is one of the Directors of the PR firm Skyrocket which reportedly paid money to Rihanna for her tweet.
“It is our hope that Indian media and government attention will invest their time and significant resources to the real issues of the moment: stopping the violences being committed against the farmers and their supporters who are agitating for their rights (sic),” the statement added.
According to a previous report by The Print, PJF played a “vital role” in “starting a global campaign”, with backing from “political leaders and activists based out of Canada”.
The PJF, which describes itself as an organisation that “challenges structures of oppression and discrimination through intersectional grassroots advocacy”, claims on its website that “currently we are most actively involved in the “#FarmersProtest”.
After Rihanna’s tweet snowballed into a mass movement in support of the protesting farmers, the Ministry of External Affairs put out a statement saying that some “vested interest groups" are trying to enforce their agenda on the protests and that a very small section of farmers in parts of the country has some reservations about the farm reforms which were passed by the Parliament after a full debate and discussion.