US celebrities were tricked into recording videos later doctored into anti-Zelenskyy propaganda

The videos were edited to appear as if they were originally posted on Instagram


Pro-Russia propagandists tricked multiple American celebrities into recording videos which were then doctored and used to try to discredit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to NBC News’ review of the videos and a new report from Microsoft.

Recordings of at least five American celebrities  — Elijah Wood of the ‘Lord of the Rings,’ Elvis Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley, “Breaking Bad” actor Dean Norris, “The Office” actor Kate Flannery, “Scrubs” actor John McGinley and System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian — appeared to have been purchased on Cameo, where all the celebrities have accounts, and turned into propaganda through strategic video editing.

Cameo is a service that lets users pay celebrities to record short, customized online videos. It’s not known who was behind the campaign that tricked the celebrities on the service.

The doctored videos have flourished on Russian social media since this summer. NBC News found them repeatedly uploaded to VK, Russia’s counterpart to Facebook, and Telegram, a Dubai-based social media platform popular in Russia. The originally purchased videos do not appear to be viewable on the public Cameo pages belonging to the celebrities, but Woods’ representative confirmed that the source of the doctored videos of the star was a Cameo request.

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