This just in... A client of 5W Public Relations has been accused by an international religious group of fraud. The PR firm's CEO, Ronn Torossian, has no comment.
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) - Trinidad's largest Hindu organization said Tuesday it was urging the prime minister to bar American TV evangelist Benny Hinn from visiting the country. Sat Maharaj, secretary-general of Sanatan Dharma Maha Saba, said Hinn - who plans to visit the diverse Caribbean nation from May 19-21 - was a fraud.
"We need to alert the population that he is a fake healer," Maharaj said.
The organization has taken out full-page ads in local papers claiming Hinn's revivals are illegal because he makes money by faith healing - which is against the law in Trinidad.
Hinn's spokesman, Ronn Torossian, declined to comment Tuesday.
Benny Hinn Ministries, based in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, is estimated to raise more than $100 million a year. The televangelist travels the world hosting "Miracle Crusades" in stadiums, and claims to heal the sick while converting nonbelievers to his strain of Pentecostal Christianity.
Hinn held a series of prayer meetings in the twin-island nation in 1999. A U.S. State Department report on international religious freedom released that year said Hinn's conversions ignited criticism throughout Trinidad and Tobago. According to the report, Hinn appeared on his television show and said he had cast many "devils" out of Trinidad.
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According to industry trade pub O'Dwyer's, 5W PR is one of the fastest growing PR firms in the US. That said, we have yet to comfirm whether Torossian himself has been healed or whether the devils have been cast out of 5W. We hope to have that information and provide updates as this story develops.
Amanda, it should also be noted that 5W Public Relations, for better or for worse, is recognized as one of the most aggressive agencies in the United States in terms of marketing its services, capabilities. and the personality of its principal, Mr. Torossian. As a result, one cannot help but wonder if 5W deliberately takes on controversial clients such as Benny Hinn Ministries to further promote its own agenda, not necessarily those of its client base. Bold? Definitely. Clever? Perhaps. Intelligent? Probably not, particulary if prospective clients are searching for more pragmatic, conservative PR counsel.
First of all, Torossian did not "come under fire;" unless you count the headline of this blog posting. When one reads the article, one can simply see that he declined to comment.
Second, why is the fact that 5W PR represents a televangelist any different than Gibbs & Soell representing Dow Chemical or BBDS representing Amoco? That's what PR agencies are paid to do. Right?
I could respond to "Keith R Pillow" as well, but he's just a jealous competitor who spends more time watching 5W PR than running his own second-rate shop. (hint: it's easy to recognize the same, tired envious criticism, in his post.)