George Weissman, former executive for Phillip Morris Tobacco Company, was a branding genius. Not only did he help birth the notorious “Marlboro Man” character, he gave us Miller Lite. Seven years after his death, Paleofuture dug up some old FBI files that detail a few investigations into Weissman’s political alignment. Apparently, he raised some eyebrows in the ’40s and ’70s with some quasi pro-communist remarks and letters.
How can the man who christened light beer bat for the red team? Let’s hear the FBI out on this.
An internal FBI document dated March 2, 1949
“Confidential informant [redacted] advised on February 10, 1942 that [Weissman] graduated from the School of Commerce, College of the City of New York, 1939. [Redacted] stated the subject recently had lunch with Janet Cohen, “a communist,” during which he boasted he “put one over on the Navy” by failing to give any College of the City of New York or Townsend Harris High School references, “since he was known at both schools as a communist.”
Withholding references because of your sordid reputation is FaF and I’m not convinced that having lunch with a communist makes you guilty by association. I took a feminist to semi once and went on to date her for a minute because her moronic ideologies were shrouded by how smoking she was. If this is the best information they have on Weissman, he’s perfectly fine in my book.
From an internal FBI document, dated August 13, 1948
“On October 10, 1947, Confidential Informant New York T-1, a reliable source of information, advised that he had observed a letter at 35 East 12th Street, New York City, address of the Communist Party, which letter, dated October 10, 1947 was signed “Comradely, GEORGE WEISSMAN, ROSE at 225 West 46th Street, regarding veterans in trade unions and the garment industry.”
He used the complimentary close comradely. That’s pretty damning. But, I’m still not convinced. Every savvy student knows that letters and emails are won/lost at the complimentary close and signature. For instance, here’s a pretty common closing to my emails to professors, hours after their finals bend me over a desk.
I found your class very insightful and engaging and expect my final score will reflect such.
Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable summer,
We can all gargle and spit straight bullshit when we need to. As such, I’m reluctant to condemn Weissman for sacrificing a little pride to appeal to commie audience. So far, the FBI still hasn’t convinced me this guy wasn’t a cold-hearted capitalist.
But the FBI still couldn’t leave Weissman alone. They decided to investigate him further in the 1970s for his alleged opposition to the war in Vietnam. According to an FBI report from 1973, Weissman was affiliated with an organization called Executives Move For Peace In Vietnam and offered this blurb to support it.
From an internal FBI document dated October 9, 1973
“In 1971, a confidential source who has furnished reliable information in the past advised that the Business with the Congress of the United States as a registered political lobby and disclosure of its leadership on file with congress. Among the businessmen protesting American involvement in Vietnam and prominent in the BEN the source named George Weissman, President, Phillip Morris Tobacco Company.”
According to the FBI, Weissman used his privilege as a top executive for Phillip Morris Tobacco to lobby against American involvement in ‘Nam and that makes him a communist. It also makes Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan communists and 156 congressmen terrorists, since they all spoke out against US occupation of foreign countries. It’s as though the investigation was only reopened because the Nixon Administration viewed Weissman as a threat.
From the last page of the same file:
“The central files of the FBI, including the records of our Identification Division, contain no additional pertinent information concerning the [Weissman] based upon background information submitted in connection with this name check request…Per request of Miss Jane Dannenhauer, Staff Assistant (Security), The White House.”
The whole 1970-1973 investigation was ordered by Nixon’s staff because Weissman used his money and influence to lobby against the War in Vietnam. Sounds like an open-and-shut case to me..
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