The Cameo app — where you can pay various celebrities to send you personalized video messages — was used by Russians to create anti-Ukraine propaganda, according to Microsoft researchers and reported in The Wall Street Journal.
Typically in a Cameo, you can request a celeb to make a short video of a birthday greeting or pep talk for a friend, but the celebrity never gets too much detail about the full names or identities of the person they’re talking to.
“Russia-aligned trolls” reportedly asked at least seven celebrities to make videos giving a pep talk to “Vladimir” — who was going through a hard time with drugs and alcohol. The videos were then manipulated and edited to make it seems as if they were addressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the WSJ reported.
The effect was to make it seem as as if Zelenskyy were a drug addict with celebrity friends.
The celebrities, according to the report, included Elijah Wood, Priscilla Presley, Dean Norris (Hank from “Breaking Bad”), Kate Flannery (Meredith from “The Office”), and John C. McGinley (“Scrubs” and “Office Space.”) None could be reached for comment, the WSJ said.
The celebrities appear to have been punked.
A spokesperson for Cameo told Business Insider that they do not comment on trust and safety investigations, but that, “bookings of the sort you describe would violate Cameo’s Community Guidelines.”
Cameo, which had been struggling, was back in the news this week when George Santos joined the app after being kicked out of the House of Representatives. He started making Cameo videos for $75 (his price is now up to $400) and reportedly has already made as much money as his congressional salary.
It may not be only the Russians using Cameo for political propaganda. The fact the celebrity doesn’t know exactly who is commissioning it was recently used for comic effect when Sen. John Fetterman commissioned Santos to make a video for “Bobby,” which Fetterman then posted to X as a taunt to Sen. Bob Menendez.News Related