Real estate mogul Donald Trump is being accused of hiring actors to cheer for him at his 2016 presidential campaign announcement in New York City on Tuesday.
The allegations first surfaced in a post by anti-Trump activist and liberal blogger Angelo Carusone that was published on Medium shortly after Trump’s event.
On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter said it obtained an email that allegedly came from a casting company named Extra Mile offering actors $US50 to attend the announcement and pose as Trump supporters.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the email was sent June 12.
“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,” the email said. “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.”
Business Insider called Extra Mile about the accusation, The woman who answered the phone hung up after we asked our question. Subsequent calls to the company reached an answering machine.
Trump and his campaign spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski denied hiring actors and said he never heard of Extra Mile Casting.
“Mr. Trump draws record crowds at almost every venue at which he is a featured speaker,” Lewandowski said. “The crowds are large, often record-setting and enthusiastic, often with standing ovations. Mr. Trumps message is ‘make America great again.'”
Business Insider attended Trump’s announcement and spoke to some of the people who were there cheering him on. They said they were not paid by the campaign.
As he began his speech, Trump remarked that there were “thousands” at the event. In our estimate the crowd was much smaller. However, a Trump spokesperson said the audience included many people in his headquarters, Trump Tower, who may not have been visible to the press in front of the podium.
“There were a lot of people probably that you couldn’t see,” the spokesperson said.
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