an age where most politicians have very little support for their
campaigns and causes, they have been known to resort to desperate
measures to improve their public image. While this practice is
disregarded by some as a “conspiracy theory,” many politicians
have been caught hiring actors to fill the crowds of their
campaign speeches—corporations too.
fact, just this week in Ontario, Progressive Conservative Leader
Doug Ford’s campaign was forced to admit that they hired actors
for at least one of their events. Ford’s staff acted like this was
not authorized by them, but instead blamed a local candidate for
arranging their actors. Campaign officials for Toronto Centre Tory
candidate Meredith Cartwright reportedly hired the actors to
support Ford at a rally in Dundas Square.
“We were very confused by this
situation because we are getting record numbers of supporters to
every event across Ontario. This was done by a local candidate
and it won’t be continuing,” Ford’s spokeswoman, Melissa
Lantsman, said in an email to theToronto
number of these actors reached out to the press about the event to
blow the whistle, including artist and performer Devanshu Narang.
told The Star that he was offered $75 to appear at the rally
between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. wearing the candidate’s t-shirt, but he
turned down the gig.
“I was shocked to see this
happen in Canada, in Toronto. I find it offensive even to the
Canadian democracy. The main thing was that you know, the moment
I saw that I kind of felt odd about it. You know, politicians
hiring actors to play supporters is like the way it works in the
Third World,” Narang said.
campaign is insisting that this is an accident and that it won’t
happen again, and that they have “no
need” for these types of services because their candidates
are so popular.
“We don’t need to pay anyone.
When we have events, we’re packed, we don’t need that,”Ford
saidat a press conference.
is interesting to note that Doug Ford is thebrother
of late Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor who was famous
for smoking crack on video. Doug Ford promised in his brother’seulogythat
“Ford nation will continue.”
When Rob Ford was alive, the brothers famously got into ascreaming
matchwith the public at a city council
practice of hiring actors to astroturf campaigns is more common
than most people would expect. Even current US President Donald
Trump was found to be hiring actors to cheer him on at early
campaign events. Although the Trump Administration initially
denied these reports,FEC
documentsreleased in 2017 revealed that a
casting agency was paid to send supporters to the event. During
the same campaign, Hillary Clinton was accused of paying
a child actorto ask a scripted question
during a town hall event.
trick is not limited to political campaigns either, earlier this
month it was reported that at least50
actors were hiredby an energy company to
support the construction of a new power plant at a town hall
“They paid us to sit through the
meeting and clap every time someone said something against wind
and solar power. I’m not political, I needed the money for a
hotel room at that point,”said Keith
Keough, who was one of the actors hired.
actors were even asked to signnon-disclosure
agreements, which prohibited them from speaking to the media
or telling anyone that they were paid to support the power plant.
The company still denies any accusations that it hired any actors
to support them at the meeting.
is also common forwar
propagandato be carried out with actors
since it is now fairly easy to stage a war scene and get away with