It seemed like a typical protest in California’s capital earlier this week: Angry activists gathered outside a judiciary meeting to voice concerns about proposed legislation to outlaw fur products in the Golden State.
But the real story is more complicated…
In fact, many of the activists were paid to protest
According to an investigation conducted by The Intercept, several of the passionate protesters were paid to be there — with one protester paid at least $7k by the Fur Information Council of America.
Other activists and protesters were recruited on Facebook and paid to attend, and one student who was paid to protest told reporters she was told by organizers not to speak with the press.
Paid protest is a successful industry
Several companies offer professional protesters as a service.
One of them, Crowds on Demand, explains its services on its website: “We can set-up protests, coordinate phone-banking initiatives and create non-profit organizations to advance your agenda.”
Paying people to attend protests is controversial but not illegal. In this case, the Fur Information Council retained the services of a prominent lobbying firm called SKDKnickerbocker.