It's nothing new in politics. Crowds for hire, or paying people to fill an arena for an event.  For years, political parties have accused each other of paying people to pack a venue so it looks like it's a "grassroots" or real show of support.

There's even a term called "astroturfing" which refers to 'fake' grassroots (turf) as opposed to genuine citizen activism.  References to this, even globally, can be found going back for years.

But now a new trend has grown from it, 'protest hiring.' With all the recent events lately, this new trend has been put in the spotlight; especially the larger, regional or national scale events that appear to happen simultaneously. Not smaller, local events so much, but the larger scale happenings.

We found two such organizations who provide, for hire, crowds of people for various purposes. Once such company is called Crowds on Demand. Their website provides persons to be used for protests, political events, audiences, PR stunts, rallies and advocacies. Crowds On Demand is based out of Beverly Hills, CA, and has a definite public relations-Hollywood PR vibe.

There is another site we found that appeared to be much more eyebrow raising. It's called Demand Protest.  This site doesn't list an address or home base, but some of their offerings will catch your eye.

  • Offering demonstrations, movements, intelligence and training.
  • Recruitment. The site says their top priority is preventing any associations "back to you" (meaning the client.)
  • Deniability.  The site says by taking every precaution, keeping clients secret, and hiring only the best individuals, they can ensure that all their actions will appear to be genuine to the media and other public observers.

The site says when you need the appearance of outrage, they are able to deliver it at what they call 'scale,' and they say they keep your reputation intact.

The website has a place to request information, you can become an 'operative,' there is a phone number you can call as well. But the rest of the site is devoid of details. The 'testimonials' from some of their clients refer to them as an unknown executive for a (insert generic business or group type here) unnamed company.

It has a very clandestine feel to it, Demand Protest. It's worth a trip there to examine the site for yourself, and make your own decisions. A screenshot of their Facebook ad is seen below.

Demand Protest Facebook ad (Demand Protest Facebook)