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Lime claims it didn't know controversial PR firm Definers would sling mud at rivals

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编辑: 1   作者: Techcrunch   时间: 2019/3/18 16:38:36  

Scooter startup Lime has confirmed it hired Definers but claimed it didn't know the controversial PR firm would try to smear its rivals. The company was speaking during an on stage interview here at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.

Definers was recently revealed to have carried out so-called 'opposition research' on entities critical of Facebook . Including by leveraging anti-semitic conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros, according to the New York Times, which broke the story earlier this month.

At the same time it emerged that other tech firms had also been using Definers - Lime being one of them.

And, as we reported earlier, the PR firm pitched us a suggestive email seeking to throw mud on scooter rival Bird.

"I?read your piece on Bird’s custom scooter and delivery. Just wanted to flag that Bird’s numbers seem off based on what they have listed on their website. They’ve taken a bunch off the list. Seems odd since they just announced 100 cities?two?weeks ago.?Thought you’d find this interesting," Definers wrote us on October 5.

Asked about its business relationship with the PR firm, Lime's VP of global expansion Caen Contee, claimed it had not known how Definers operated.

He also said Lime has since terminated its program with the firm.

"First off we do not support that," he said, of the Soros smears. "We do not believe that this is the space that should be used for anything [like that]. We used them to work on our Lime green and our carbon free programs. As soon as we understood they were doing some of these things we parted ways and finished our program with them."

Contee claimed Lime had engaged Definers to try to understand "what were the levers of opportunity for us to really create the messaging and also to do our own research; understanding the life-cycle; all the pieces that are in a very complex business".

"As soon as we found out they were engaged in bad practices that were not beneficial and obviously not creating a good image... we decided to move on," he said, adding that Definers had been "recommended by top providers all the way around".

Pressed by TechCrunch's Romain Dillet on why it had sent an email on Lime's behalf seeking to smear Bird, Contee continued the flat-denial - now in the first person.

"Okay I don't know anything about that. Honestly," he said.

"Aren't you suppose to know who you're working with?" rejoined Dillet.

"Of course we know who we're working with. As to knowing exactly the tactics I don't know your tactics but I'm here talking to you," replied?Contee, misleadingly comparing a commercial business relationship with an unpaid appearance at a technology conference.