November 1st, 2010
07:47 PM ET
4 years ago

Morgan Freeman in middle of campaign ad controversy

(CNN) – North Carolina Republican congressional candidate B.J. Lawson's campaign said it was "tricked" by a production company after it was revealed that actor Morgan Freeman was not the narrator in Lawson's latest ad, as the campaign had previously claimed.

"We're apologizing to Congressman Price, to the voters, and most of all to Morgan Freeman because this is not the campaign we wanted to run, and not the campaign we have run," Lawson campaign spokesman Martin Avila told CNN.

The narrator's familiar voice immediately raised eyebrows when the ad launched on Friday. Lawson's campaign initially confirmed that the voice was Freeman's on Facebook and on its website on Monday.

But the Oscar-winning actor issued a statement soon after denying any involvement with the campaign.

"These people are lying. I have never recorded any campaign ads for B.J. Lawson and I do not support his candidacy. And, no one who represents me ever has ever authorized the use of my name, voice or any other likeness in support of Mr. Lawson or his candidacy," Freeman said in the statement.

Avila said California-based group MEI Political approached the campaign and offered to produce an ad with Freeman, and the campaign "innocently walked into it."

"If there was any question it wasn't him, we wouldn't have run the ad," Avila said.

The ad is no longer available on YouTube, and it aired on television for only one day, Avila said.

MEI Political did not immediately respond to requests by CNN for comment.

Its website describes itself as a "full service political media company." It lists several high profile Republican candidates among its clients, including former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Avila said he has contacted MEI Political, and the campaign is reviewing its next steps.

But Lawson's opponent in the race for North Carolina's 4th congressional district, Rep. Dave Price, questioned the campaign's explanation.

"This is simply not credible. How can a candidate seriously claim that they had the voice and purported support of a well-known actor like Morgan Freeman without ever having spoken with him?" asked Price campaign spokesman Andrew High.

Price also blasted Lawson for the ad in a statement released shortly after Freeman spoke out.

"This is an unfortunate and desperate attempt to fool voters in the last hours of a campaign. By using Mr. Freeman's good name, BJ Lawson has ruined his own, and he should be ashamed. Now the voters will decide whom they trust," Price said in a statement.


Filed under: 2010 • North Carolina
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Liz the First

    I hope no one is surprised that a republican campaign lied about something. their whole campaign is a lie. 'failed' stimulus, government takeover of healt care, etc. are all lies. the so-called 'failed' stimulus kept us out of a second Great Depression!!! and there was no government takeover of health care, just an effort to keep insurance companies from killing people by denying them coverage. how gullible do people have to be to believe the crap the repubs are spewing this year?

    November 1, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    To get Morgan Freeman to do a political commercial is unheard of and out of character. How could they have assumed that he did the commerical? This shows that the campaign isn't looking or thinking. Obviously the ad agency didn't fully disclose what they were doing and the campaign didn't do due dillgence in wh was in the commerical.

    November 1, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. p

    if i dont have a job, i will not vote for the gop because their number one goal is to stop giving benefits to people who have fallen on hardtimes

    November 1, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. Gary Crosby

    This would affect my vote period. What a liar. This kinda stuff burns m e up when I go to vote. Dont use the peoples voices to win votes.

    November 1, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  5. Moosehead

    Fraudulent, desperate Republicans, and all their dirty tricks. If they had Morgan Freeman willing to endorse and lend his name to the Republican candidate, don't you think they would have done it much earlier in the campaign,.. instead they tried a desperate last minute ploy,..a fraud, and it blew up in their face. Freeman should sue their pants off.

    November 1, 2010 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  6. Sherri W.W.

    I say the voters should decide who to trust~AND ITS NOT THE REPUBLICANS!~NEVER HAS THAT BEEN MORE CLEAR THAN THIS PAST WEEK!

    November 1, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  7. T'SAH from Virginia

    Morgan Freeman is a gentleman!! How dare they forge his VOICE-which is his legacy!! You always know his voice and don't have to think twice about who he is!!! I don't even think Morgan Freeman would EVER support a RepubliCAN'T – PA-Leeze!!!

    SUE THEM!!! Better yet – GET OUT and VOTE against them DEMOCRATS!!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I am appalled at the person who actually did the voice – SHAME ON YOU!!!

    November 1, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  8. barry

    Bye Dems. Tomorrow is judgement day and you lose!

    November 2, 2010 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  9. Sgt Joe

    Tricked? That's a good one! How about caught in a lie. Typical Republican blame game. Can't take accountability for any of their actions. Pathetic.

    November 2, 2010 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  10. Anonymous

    When you don't have facts behind you- make them up. When you don't have an endorsments, fake one of those as well.
    All class RNC!

    November 2, 2010 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  11. jim

    Pretty much a non-event.

    November 2, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  12. jules sand-perkins

    Wow! Dirty trick on a Republican.
    Why didn't the production company claim that it was providing Garbo's or Marlon Brando's voice?
    Or God's voice?
    Those producers must be Democrats.

    November 2, 2010 08:04 am at 8:04 am |