Donald Trump Tried To Pay Actors To Cheer For Him

Photo: Erik Pendzich/REX USA
Earlier this week, real estate mogul and reality television juggernaut Donald Trump announced that after years of speculation, he was officially running for president of the United States. ("We are going to make our country great again!" he exclaimed). What he did not declare so plainly, however, was that many of the supposed Trump supporters in attendance at his historic announcement were paid to be there.

Background actors were offered $50 each by New York-based Extra Mile Casting to attend the event, according to a June 12 email that was sent to the agency's roster of extras and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "We are looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement," read the note. "We understand this is not a traditional 'background job,' but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought."

Extra Mile allegedly solicited these actors in partnership with the political consulting group Gotham Government Relations and Communications in a generally frowned-upon practice known as "astroturfing" — hiring political rally and event attendees in order to give the appearance of grassroots support for the candidate or issue at hand. While the company had no comment for THR, the New York-based group has apparently worked with Trump in the past.

Questions regarding whether or not the Trump campaign hired actors to attend the announcement were first raised on social media, when anti-Trump activist Angelo Carusone spotted an Instagram photo from the event of a gentleman he recognized as a background extra. Carusone quickly screengrabbed the Instagram pic and published it in a blog post; both individuals in the image have now been identified as actors Domenico Del Giacco and Courtney Klotz. Del Giacco, who originally posted the damning picture, has since deleted his entire Instagram account, but as with all things that hit the Internet, it will never truly go away. Perhaps a little something to keep in mind as you move on down the campaign trail, Mr. Trump?
Photo: Courtesy Angelo Carusone
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