Trump ignited a political firestorm yesterday during an impromptu press conference in which he said there was "blame on both sides" for the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville over the weekend.
Now, the discovery of a craigslist ad posted last Monday, almost a full week before the Charlottesville protests, is raising new questions over whether paid protesters were sourced by a Los Angeles based "public relations firm specializing in innovative events" to serve as agitators in counterprotests.
The ad was posted by a company called "Crowds on Demand" and offered $25 per hour to "actors and photographers" to participate in events in the "Charlotte, NC area." While the ad didn't explicitly define a role to be filled by its crowd of "actors and photographers" it did ask applicants to comment on whether they were "ok with participating in peaceful protests." Here is the text from the ad:
Actors and Photographers Wanted in Charlotte
Crowds on Demand, a Los Angeles-based Public Relations firm specializing in innovative events, is looking for enthusiastic actors and photographers in the Charlotte, NC area to participate in our events. Our events include everything from rallies to protests to corporate PR stunts to celebrity scenes. The biggest qualification is enthusiasm, a "can-do" spirit. Pay will vary by event but typically is $25+ per hour plus reimbursements for gas/parking/Uber/public transit.
For more information about us, please visit www.crowdsondemand.com
If you're interested in working with us, please reply to this posting with the following info:
- Full Name
- Prior relevant experience (as an actor/performer, photographer, brand ambassador, political activist, etc)
- When are you usually available for work?
- Resume (optional)
- If you're a photographer, what equipment do you use?
- Are you ok with participating in peaceful protests (optional)?
And a screenshot of the original post:
So what is "Crowds on Demand?" According to their own website, they're in the business of sourcing large crowds of people to "provide clients with protests, rallies, [and] flash-mobs" all over the country. They even have an entire page on their website dedicated to "Protests and Rallies."
Are you looking to create a buzz anywhere in the United States? At Crowds on Demand, we provide our clients with protests, rallies, flash-mobs, paparazzi events and other inventive PR stunts. These services are available across the country in every major U.S city, every major U.S metro area and even most smaller cities as well. We provide everything including the people, the materials and even the ideas. You can come to us with a specific plan of action and we can make it happen. OR, you can approach us with a general idea and we can help you plan the strategy then execute it.
We’ve made campaigns involving hundreds of people come to action in just days. We have a proven record of delivering major wins on even the toughest campaigns and delivering phenomenal experiences with even the most logistically challenging events.
The CEO of Crowds on Demand denied to Snopes that his firm was involved in the Charlottesville protests but refused to provide details on the specific purpose of the craigslist ad and/or why it was temporarily removed yesterday before being restored.
"We were not involved in any capacity with the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those impacted by the violence"
Silly question, but if your cause is worthy of protest then why would you need to pay $25 per hour to get people to show up?