Supporters of the new Entergy power plant in New Orleans turned out to be paid actors. Apparently, multiple actors were paid to attend city hall meetings and enthusiastically support the new gas-powered power plant as The Lens, an investigative news site, has uncovered the practice of hiring actors “appears to be legal.”
Entergy denies they had any part in the funny business, saying:
"The recent allegations that some supporters of the New Orleans Power Station may have been paid to attend of speak at certain public meetings are troubling and run counter to the values of our company. Entergy did not pay, nor did we authorize any person or entity to pay supporters to attend or speak at council meetings.”
However, back before any allegations were made, The Lens made note of the abundance of people wearing Entergy’s orange t-shirts with sentiments about clean energy, good jobs, and reliable power at the public meetings. Entergy CEO even bragged, “I think we’ve got them outnumbered.”
Then, an actor claimed to have been paid to attend a meeting sporting the orange tee.
Intrigued, a lawyer decided to cross-reference a list of City Hall meeting speakers and professional actor profiles, and lo and behold, three other actors were found to be in attendance. Obviously, that is circumstantial because actors are also real people that are allowed to attend meetings, but it was suspicious nonetheless.
The Lens also did some digging and found evidence that there was an organized campaign to recruit and pay people to express support for the plant. One of the actors was even willing to go on record, “They paid us to sit through the meeting and clap every time someone said something against wind and solar power.” The actors were paid $60 to show up in the orange shirt, and $200 if they gave a pro-plant speech.
The Lens has not been able to determine who paid for the pro-plant campaign, so it is possible that Entergy was not involved, but clearly someone desperately wanted the plant approved.