Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fact Check; Speculation Brewing over Whether Charlottesville Activists Were Hired

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fact Check; Speculation Brewing over Whether Charlottesville Activists Were Hired

Article excerpt

Byline: Carole Fader

Times-Union readers want to know:

Were activists paid and solicited to rally against neo-Nazis in Charlottesville?

After a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12 ended in violence, several websites posted stories claiming that people protesting against white nationalists at the event were paid actors.

FactCheck.org pointed out a headline on rednewshere.com that reads, "BREAKING: Charlottesville Protesters Were Payed [sic] To Make CHAOS, Here's The Evidence."Another headline, on newspunch.com, says, "Democrat 'Crowd Hire' Company Paid Rioters $25 An Hour To 'Terrorize' Charlottesville."

The claim of protesters getting paid was credited to an Aug. 17 post on zerohedge.com. FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network. On this story, FactCheck.org reports, Facebook users flagged all of those stories as potentially fake news.

"ZeroHedge found a Craigslist ad posted several days prior to the Charlottesville protests from a firm called 'Crowd Hire,' recruiting 'actors and photographers' at $25 an hour," the rednewshere.com story says. "Now, this is bringing doubts over how these paid protesters were used as campaigners in counter protests."

But the so-called "evidence" that zerohedge.com wrote about is an online advertisement that says: "Actors and Photographers Wanted in Charlotte." That's Charlotte in North Carolina, not Charlottesville, Va. The two cities are about 270 miles apart.

The main text of the Craigslist ad reads: "Crowds on Demand, a Los Angeles-based Public Relations firm specializing in innovative events, is looking for enthusiastic actors and photographers in the Charlotte, N.C. area to participate in our events. Our events include everything from rallies to protests to corporate PR stunts to celebrity scenes. …

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