Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Alyssa Newcomb

The Campbell Soup Co. is distancing itself from a scalding pot of controversy cooked up by one of its executives on Twitter.

Kelly Johnston, who has been vice president of government affairs for Campbell since 2002 and is a former secretary of the U.S. Senate, on Monday tweeted the baseless claim that billionaire philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Foundations “planned and is executing” the migrant caravan that originated in Honduras and is currently making its way to the United States.

The tweet by Johnston, who has came on the same day an explosive device was found in the mailbox at Soros' home in Bedford, New York.

The tweet and Johnston’s account appear to have been deleted, but a screenshot was shared on Twitter by Kenneth Vogel, a reporter for The New York Times.

Campbell said in a statement on Tuesday that “the opinions Mr. Johnston expresses on Twitter are his individual views and do not represent the position of Campbell Soup Company.”

Johnston could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Open Society Foundations are a grant-making network backed by Soros’ billions that work to promote government accountability and foster tolerance in societies around the world. Soros’ record as a deep-pocketed donor to liberal causes has turned him into a boogeyman for the right.

Open Society tweeted on Tuesday that “neither Mr. Soros nor Open Society is funding the effort” by the migrant caravan.

“We are surprised to see a Campbell Soup executive spreading false stories,” the tweet said. “We do support the historic U.S. commitment to welcoming people fleeing oppression and violence in their homelands.”

Keith McLoughlin, interim president and CEO for Campbell, said in a letter to Open Society that Johnston is leaving the company next month, a decision that was made before his incendiary tweet.

He added that Johnston’s comments “are inconsistent with how Campbell approaches public debate.”

Soros, an 88-year-old investor and Holocaust survivor, shifted $18 billion of his fortune into his philanthropy last year.

Members of the migrant caravan, which includes more than 7,000 people, said they are fleeing violence and political oppression in their homeland, while others said they left because they needed to find work.