Online ads allegedly recruiting paid protesters for Trump's inauguration
An online ad claims to be recruiting protesters to disrupt Trump inauguration events for pay. But, there are serious questions about the ad's legitimacy.
The Washington Times originally posted the story claiming Backpage.com was running an online ad in 20 cities, seeking “operatives" and “get paid fighting against Trump." The ad also claims operatives “will receive a monthly retainer of $2,500 on top of our standard per-event pay of $50/hour” if people work at least six events.
The ad has links to a recruitment page for DemandProtest.com, an alleged California corporation with a San Francisco phone number.
The website claims to have “trained operatives” and boasts "When you need the appearance of outrage, we are able to deliver it at scale while keeping your reputation intact." It also claims to have an “unnamed 2016 presidential campaign” as a client.
Calls and emails to the company have gone unanswered. A search of the California Secretary of State’s database does not show a corporation with the name of DemandProtest and the web site’s domain was registered just over one month ago.
Trump has claimed his opponents have hired protesters to disrupt his campaign rallies. At a rally in Colorado Springs in October, he called out a protester as being paid to disrupt the rally telling the crowd, “they pay $1,500 dollars and they give iPhones to everybody if you go in and disrupt."
But, there is currently a blame game going on between right and left wing blogs and news operations pointing the fingers at each over who is planning disruptions at the inauguration.
The Undercurrent claims it did a reverse sting and caught an associate of a Project Veritas, a conservative news outlet of trying to incite a pay-for-protest in Washington, D.C. on January 20th, inauguration day.
Disruptj20.org has called for anarchistic tactics for protests planned for Washington, D.C. Calls to its organizers for verification purposes listed on its website also went unanswered.
It’s free to post ads on backpage.com and experts warn, just because its posted online doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. And in the new era of fake news, verification is critical.