In October, a reporter for The Lens observed a group of about 50 people walk into a public hearing wearing orange shirts supporting a new power plant in New Orleans. Some of them were actors, according to interviews and messages reviewed by The Lens. Entergy has now acknowledged that people were paid to attend two public meetings. The company said it hired a PR firm to bring supporters, but it didn’t know people were paid to do so.
Entergy has acknowledged that a public-relations firm working on its behalf was responsible for paying people to attend and speak at two public meetings in support of a new power plant in New Orleans.
The company said it hired the PR firm to bring supporters to the meetings, but it didn’t know those people had been paid.
The announcement came a week after The Lens revealed that actors had been paid $60 to attend meetings and $200 to speak on behalf of the natural gas plant. After the story attracted national attention, the company said it would investigate the matter.
Earlier this week, New Orleans City Council President Jason Williams said the council would look into the allegations as well.
“There is a consensus that we have an obligation to conduct an aggressive, short-timeline, thorough investigation of everything that took place with regards to these paid actors — what we now know as astroturfing,” Williams said.
Entergy released the results of its investigation Thursday. It found that The Hawthorn Group, a public relations firm it hired, was behind the astroturfing.
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