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Republican candidate pulls ad featuring voice of "Morgan Freeman"

BJ Lawson insisted that WAS the voice of the Hollywood actor… and then had to come clean.

Morgan Freeman: star of Red, but probably more likely to vote Democratic blue.
Morgan Freeman: star of Red, but probably more likely to vote Democratic blue.
Image: Gregg DeGuire/PictureGroup/EMPICS Entertainment

A REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE running for the US House of Representatives in the mid-term elections today has been forced to backtrack on a claimed celebrity endorsement, admitting that a TV advertisement did not include the voice of actor Morgan Freeman.

BJ Lawson, running for Congress in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District, had aired a television ad attacking incumbent Democrat David Price, and claiming that Price – who the ad claims has voted in the same way as soon-to-be-deposed House speaker Nancy Pelosi more often than any other member of Congress – had aired no positive issued-based advertisement of his own.

Narrated by a voice sounding remarkably similar to that of Hollywood actor Freeman, best known for his roles in Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus, Lawson’s campaign manager Martin Avila told website Politico that the actor himself had lent his voice to the advertisement.

“We have a contract saying it’s Morgan Freeman,” Avila said, adding:

Barbra Streisand wouldn’t do this, but Morgan Freeman doesn’t have a problem cutting ads against Washington insiders or he wouldn’t do it. People shouldn’t be so shocked that someone like Mr. Freeman would think outside of the left-right, red-versus-blue dynamic. This election is about regular people asking basic questions.


Freeman himself – who supported Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2008 – was said to be upset with the reported connection between himself and Lawson’s campaign, issuing a statement saying:

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.

Avila thereafter conceded that he had been approached by entertainment magnate Ben Mathis who had offered to cut an ad with Freeman, who had apparently misled them into thinking that Freeman himself had voiced the recording.

Mathis himself says he had made it clear he was offering a voice double, and he had not understand why Lawson’s campaign had interpreted the work he had organised as a campaign voiceover.

Mathis also told Politico that he had arranged the voiceover to be used in a so-called ‘robocall’, where voters in each district are called by an answering machine that plays the message down to them – raising the possibility that the recording may have been used to deliberately mislead constituents.

Lawson was thought to be a long-shot to take the seat over Price, who beat Lawson 63%-37% two years ago, though more recent polls have showed the gap narrowing somewhat.

Freeman’s voice has over 1.17 million fans on Facebook.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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