Lawsuit against ‘Crowds on Demand’ shines troubling light on growing ‘rent-a-mob’ tactics: ‘Contributes to air of unreality’

“Rent-a-mobs” are seen as a Democrat staple, with the term regularly applied to any number of ACORN-like community organizing groups on the left that can turn out foot soldiers on demand, but who knew there are actual companies that provide paid protesters?

Crowds on Demand, a Beverly Hills company that hires protesters, finds itself in the news because its being sued by a Czech investor who claims the company’s running an extortion campaign against him, The Sacramento Bee reported.

UCLA sociology professor Edward Walker wrote a book on astroturfing and said paid protests are becoming increasingly more common.

“There are hundreds of lobbying firms and public affairs firms that do this work, though not all in the same way,” Walker told the Bee.

Longtime political consultant Garry South said that paying people to show up for rallies has been a long-employed tactic by political parties, but the complex nature and organization used by groups like Crowds on Demand has taken an unhealthy turn.

“What’s different is the commercialization of the process,” South told the Bee. “It just contributes to the air of unreality that exists in this day and age with essentially not being able to believe your own eyes or ears. I don’t think it’s particularly healthy. But it probably inevitably was going to come to this.”

Crowd on Demand’s website says it provides its clients with “protests, rallies, flash-mobs, paparazzi events and other inventive PR stunts. … We provide everything including the people, the materials and even the ideas.”

More from The Bee:

“[Zdenek] Bakala has accused Prague investment manager Pavol Krupa of hiring Crowds on Demand to pay protesters to march near his home in Hilton Head, S.C., and to call and send emails to the Aspen Institute and Dartmouth College, where Bakala is on advisory boards, urging them to cut ties to him. Bakala alleges that Krupa has threatened to continue and expand the campaign unless Bakala pays him $23 million.”


Accusations of paying protesters have been hurled across both sides of the political aisle. The Bee noted that the Trump campaign was accused of paying rally goers to cheer him on at a 2015 event. But, Trump has repeatedly accused liberal billionaire George Soros of using the same tactics, and worse.

Soros is well-known for funding various social justice endeavors, such as last year’s “Day Without Women” protest/publicity stunt.

Crowds on Demand’s website says the company was hired to “cripple the operations” of a manufacturing business owned by a convicted child molester. The paper added that the company also appears to have been hired to advocate for or against policy matters.

The Bee noted that paying grass roots protesters is common for campaigns, lobbying firms and public affairs firms, but failed to mention the myriad of union front groups and community organizer groups who perform the same role for the left.

As for Soros, his name came up when Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was confronted in an elevator by two women claiming to be sexual assault victims during the Kavanaugh confirmation process.

One of the women was the co-executive director for the left-wing group, Center for Popular Democracy and the Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund — which is heavily funded by Soros.


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