Not a Great Start
A casting call was sent out last week "looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement."
Donald Trump's big presidential announcement Tuesday was made a little bigger with help from paid actors — at $50 a pop.
New York-based Extra Mile Casting sent an email last Friday to its client list of background actors, seeking extras to beef up attendance at Trump's event."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," reads the June 12 email, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
The pay was listed as $50 for less than three hours of work. According to the email, Extra Mile was reaching out to potential extras in partnership with Gotham Government Relations and Communications, a New York-Based political consulting group that has worked with Trump in the past. Gotham GR had no comment.
Questions as to whether the Trump campaign had hired extras were first raised Wednesday by anti-Trump activist Angelo Carusone, who came across an Instagram photo showing a man he recognized as a background actor posing at the Trump event. Carusone screengrabbed the photo of the actor, Domenico Del Giacco, and published it in a blog post. The photo shows Del Giacco with a woman, identified in the now-deleted Instagram post as actress Courtney Klotz. (Del Giacco has since deleted his entire Instagram account.)
When reached for comment about the Trump casting call, a person who answered the phone at Extra Mile said, "We don't know anything about that." When pressed about whether this response was a denial of the story, the person said she couldn't comment further and hung up. Additional calls to Extra Mile went unanswered.
Asked if Trump paid anyone to attend the event, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said "no," and that he had never heard of Extra Mile or Gotham GR.
"Mr. Trump draws record crowds at almost every venue at which he is a featured speaker," Lewandowski told The Hollywood Reporter. "The crowds are large, often record-setting and enthusiastic, often with standing ovations. Mr. Trump's message is, 'Make America great again.' "
Del Giacco and Klotz did not respond to a request for comment.
In politics, "astroturfing" is when people are hired to attend a rally or event in order to lend the appearance of grassroots support. They are typically contracted out to political consulting firms, much like Gotham GR. The practice is unsurprisingly considered bad form.