A consulting firm that has worked with real estate mogul Donald Trump allegedly enlisted a New York City casting firm to make sure it appeared Trump had supporters on hand when he announced his entry into the presidential campaign.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company, Extra Mile Casting, contacted background actors via email on June 12 seeking people to appear at Trump's campaign launch and cheer for him, offering a rate of $50 in cash for less than three hours of work.
"The entire group is a pro-small business group that is dedicated to encouraging Donald Trump and his latest ventures. This event will be televised," the casting notice read. "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. 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 "pro-small business group" was identified as Gotham Government Relations and Communications, a consulting group that has worked with Trump in the past.
An unidentified Extra Mile employee said the company "didn't know anything about that," while Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, denied any knowledge of either Gotham Goverment Relations or the casting agency.
"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. Trump's message is 'make America great again.'"
Hours after Trump's event declaring his candidacy, Angelo Carusone, who identifies himself as the executive vice-president for the progressive site Media Matters, posted a picture of a background actor taken at the launch.
Carusone said the actor, identified as Domenico Del Giacco, regularly posted shots on Instagram from his bookings. Though Del Giacco later deleted his account, a screenshot of the picture can be seen below:
"This seemed like all the others from his gigs that he posts," Carusone wrote. "Sure. It seemed fishy. But, but I figured that perhaps it was just a coincidence? Paid actors can support presidential candidates too. No big. I persisted in my incredulity at the thought that Trump might actually pay actors to attend his campaign launch. Then I discovered the other person pictured in the photo is also a paid actress. Hmmm."
The Reporter later identified the actress as Courtney Klotz. It also posted a picture from Mashable editor Megan Specia showing what she described as a Trump staff member throwing "homemade" signs supporting the candidate in the trash.
.@realDonaldTrump staffer not too pumped i took pic of "homemade" signs (passed out to people before event) in trash http://t.co/zLL2ETBI79— Megan Specia (@Megan Specia) 1434472264.0