For some time now the conspiracies focusing on paid protesters and supporters have been a favourite of the right-wing twitterati.
However, in the topsy-turvy world that is anything involving Ford Nation, it seems that it’s actually the right who are hiring protesters—well, at least once. As first reported by the Toronto Star, the Ford campaign admitted a Conservative candidate hired actors to play Ford supporters at a Toronto rally for Monday’s debate. The campaign placed blame on the candidate for the move.
“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 told The Star in an email. (VICE has also reached out for comment. We will update this story when the Ford campaign responds.)
The Star reported that the spokesmen said Toronto Centre Conservative candidate Meredith Cartwright was the one who paid actors to play Ford supporters. Doug Ford responded with incredulity when asked by reporters about the actors in a scrum, saying, “we don’t need that.”
The Star states that they were provided with an email sent out by CastmeBG, a local casting company, that sought “20 people to play real people at a Ford nation rally (Doug Ford).” The email went on to say they would need to wear Ford t-shirts and have to be at the rally from 2 to 8 PM. For their troubles, the actors would get $75.
This isn’t the only thing in the current news cycle that shows the Ford campaign’s blurry lines. Ford Nation Live produces news television-style hits with a decidedly Ford-favoured bent. In a statement, provided to Global News, the Ontario Liberals said they have asked Elections Ontario to review the use of this style of media as they believe the videos are “not just misleading Ontarians, it may be running afoul of election laws” by it not being openly identified as being created by the Tories.
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