In Response to Now Toronto’s Biased, Misinformed Reporting

A recent article in Now Toronto peddles the fiction that Resolute’s suit against Greenpeace is an effort to silence the radical environmental organization. By omitting key facts and failing to seek out any sort of contrary perspectives on the matter, author Adria Vasil misleads readers about both the nature of our case and our operation.

This isn’t about free speech. It’s about holding Greenpeace accountable for the damage their campaign of misinformation and propaganda. Now Toronto readers deserve the truth.

In an attempt to correct the record, we sent this letter to the editor. Now Toronto acknowledged receiving the letter, but has yet to post it publically or update their story.


Letters to the Editor
NOW Toronto

Dear Editor: 

Adria Vasil correctly notes in a recent story (“Greenpeace's battle royal over the boreal”, May 31, 2017) that Greenpeace has been forced to retract false claims about Resolute Forest Products, and to admit in legal filings that its serial attacks against our company were “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion.” 

But remarkably, Ms. Vasil did not contact us for input or a chance to respond to many other tendentious claims in her story. In a piece about a factual dispute between two parties, what code of journalistic conduct sanctions quoting one side at length while failing even to pick up a phone to contact the other?   

Had Ms. Vasil called us, we would have corrected the record in a number of key respects. 

Perhaps most egregious is the hypocrisy of Greenpeace’s claim that our efforts to hold them accountable for their slanders amount to “shutting down free speech.” We could have pointed Ms. Vasil to a few simple Google searches that reveal Greenpeace has been energetically on the side opposing free expression in the two biggest legal cases in U.S. courts in recent years. 

Specifically, they have publicly denounced the United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of free speech in the Citizens United case, standing against the American Civil Liberties Union, the Free Speech Defense & Education Fund, the Institute for Justice, the California First Amendment Coalition, and some of the largest trade unions and political groups across the political spectrum. Moreover, they have applauded a group of attorneys general for launching a legal assault against groups Greenpeace opposes, using the very same approach that NOW magazine refers to as “extraordinary legal manoeuvring.” 

A more diligent story might have queried Shane Moffat about the glaring contradiction here. 
One potential answer comes from Greenpeace’s own web site, where the group justifies its stance by declaring that “Freedom of speech does not apply to misinformation and propaganda.” We wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, but note that Greenpeace doesn’t seem to think it applies when they are the defendants. 

As our legal filings document, Greenpeace has spent years on a campaign of public misrepresentations about our forestry practices—impersonating employees, initiating cyber-attacks on our customers, and harassing companies we do business with, including by threatening them with similar smear campaigns. 

Ms. Vasil does reference the site where we detail this sordid history at length. That’s a good start. But NOW readers deserve coverage that confronts these facts fairly and honestly, instead of merely burying them in a hyperlink. 


Seth Kursman
Vice President, 
Corporate Communications, Sustainability & Government Affairs
Resolute Forest Products