|Some dare call it|
"Crisis actors" are professional actors ostensibly deployed by government agencies and/or the mainstream media to delude the public with portrayals of trauma and suffering: specifically, to act as victims or witnesses in staged school shootings or hoax terrorist attacks. Needless to say, this sort of thing only actually goes on in the minds of denialists and conspiracy theorists.
Although "crisis actors" are a real thing used for disaster drills, and there are real companies that supply them, the use by conspiracy theorists is significantly different. The term was popularized in early 2013, after Professor James Tracy of Florida Atlantic University, who has a history of promoting anti-government paranoia, attracted some media attention for blog posts claiming that the media coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre of December 2012 had been misleading. Tracy claimed that the many witnesses interviewed or photographed by the press were actually "crisis actors" portraying the official story as part of a cover-up of whatever did or didn't actually happen.
Use of the phrase "crisis actors" quickly spread within the clogosphere, becoming popular with conspiracy theorists who queried or denied the accepted accounts of Sandy Hook and other crises such as the Aurora shootings of July 2012. The concept has obvious crank appeal, allowing easy explanations for the huge volumes of film footage, photographic evidence and eye-witess testimony surrounding such events, and fitting nicely into the dog whistle politics and pseudo-military jargon common among post-9/11 conspiracy nuts.
Disturbingly, many of these assholes took to naming and harrassing individuals whom they perceived as possible crisis actors. Ordinary citizens who had been interviewed at Sandy Hook, or done what they could to help survivors and the distraught community, found not only their media interviews but their private lives and Facebook profiles under hostile scrutiny, and their privacy invaded with agressive telephone calls and hate mail. Most famous is the case of Gene Rosen, a local resident who, on the day of the Sandy Hook massacre, had looked after six children who fled the school. He was interviewed many times during the media coverage of the shootings. As the Sandy Hook "truther" movement picked up momentum, Rosen quickly became identified by various bloggers and conspiracy pundits as a crisis actor, and suffered sustained campaigns of online and real life harassment.
The crisis actor meme resurfaced in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, with some cranks (including James Tracy once again) claiming that the publicised footage of explosions and injured victims was unrealistic, and that the wrong thing had been staged as a false flag operation. A Before It's News blogger claimed that images of a man who lost both legs in the bombing were unconvincing and that he was actually an amputee actor dressed up in fake gore.
- ↑ Reddit - I was a disaster drill actor, AMA
- ↑ Crisis Actors
- ↑ Skeptoid.com - Crisis Actor? What Crisis Actor?
- ↑ Sun Sentinel, "FAU prof stirs controversy by disputing Newtown massacre", January 7, 2013.
- ↑ Salon, "This man helped save six children, is now getting harassed for it", January 15, 2013.
- ↑ James Tracy, "Witnessing Boston’s Mass Casualty Event", Memory Hole blog, April 22, 2013.
- ↑ Before It's News, "Pictures That Prove Double Amputee Was An Actor at Boston Bombings", April 21, 2013. (Contains graphic and disturbing images.)