Crisis Actor? What Crisis Actor?

Like “false flag”, the term “crisis actor” has recently become a concept that conspiracy theorists love to throw around when trying to prove that some atrocity is actually a fake, planned by the government as an excuse to strip us of our rights.

I’ve already examined the difference between a real false flag and something that an Alex Jones acolyte decided “didn’t make sense.” But what about crisis actors? Who are they? What do they do? And are they really hired stooges, doled out by the government in order to lend veracity to their fake crimes by pretending to be victims?

At the risk of sending you off to the kitchen to make a tinfoil helmet, it’s important to note that crisis actors are real. They’ve been used in disaster preparedness drills for years, simulating victims of incidents ranging from earthquakes to tornadoes. Some are on the payroll of various governments. There are even real companies that hire and train them.

One firm that’s become particularly caught-up in the controversy is a Denver-based nonprofit called, unsurprisingly, Crisis Actors. They send out people who are just what the name says they are: actors who play the roles of victims and bystanders during traumatic events. But the difference between real crisis actors and the nonexistent ones on the payroll of Big False Flag is that while actors are real, the crisis isn’t.

The Crisis Actors Facebook page describes their work like this:

We are specially trained actors helping first responders create realistic drills, full-scale exercises, high-fidelity simulations, and interactive 3D films.

[…]

The members of Crisis Actors are experienced, passionate actors committed to creating superior training events and programs for professional and non-traditional first responders. They deliver intense, realistic performances of people under stress – on location, in the studio, or in a 3D motion-capture lab – while response agencies work to improve their ability to manage life-threatening incidents large and small.

Our actors have tackled difficult topics on stage, such as domestic violence, community turmoil, and risk behaviors. […]

After weeks of training with safety experts and first responders, the members of Crisis Actors can take on the role of frantic parents, nosey neighbors, aggressive reporters, injured victims, victims in shock, hecklers in the crowd, motorists blocking traffic, bystanders giving wrong information, victims suddenly fighting those saving them, online conspiracy-mongers, and more.

So how did the crisis actor phenomenon become the hot new thing in conspiracy theory circles?

Until the Sandy Hook shooting, the idea of actors playing pretend roles in real tragedies had been confined mostly to the fringes of the 9/11 “no plane” movement. Then came a December 24th blog post from Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy, entitled “The Sandy Hook Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information.” The long, highly speculative, rant-ish post alludes that the shooting may not have taken place, and instead was a drill that “went live.” He then attempts to prove it through a plethora of circumstantial evidence, errors in early reporting, uneducated guesses and unsatisfactory “performances” by various officials when answering questions from reporters.

Tracy singles out an awkward interview by Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver as evidence that he’s an imposter of the “real” Dr. Carver, sent to feed disinformation to reporters. While Tracy never uses the phrase “crisis actor” in his manifesto, his accusation is clear: Sandy Hook was staged, there never was a shooting and the people involved were actors playing parts.

The fact there was no evidence to support Tracy’s theory didn’t matter at all, and the crisis actor meme took hold. Soon there was a wave of blog posts and YouTube videos noting similarities in the way people involved in various tragedies looked (most of which were entirely superficial), pointing out “discrepancies” in the “official story” (most of which were based on already admitted errors in early reporting) and singling out parents whose reactions to the death of their children didn’t seem quite tearful enough. The “actors” became targets of harassment, ridicule and even death threats.

When pictures and video of the Boston Marathon bombing made their way online, so too did the crisis actor accusations. And because there was far more visual evidence, including nauseating pictures of victims just moments after they’d had their limbs blown off, the cries of fakery were much louder. It takes both a special kind of paranoia and a complete lack of shame to call a bombing victim a paid government shill for somehow not looking enough like a bombing victim. But just hours after the bombing, the requisite message board posts, blog rants and YouTube videos appeared. Most are incoherent, full of ludicrous accusations and backed up by circles and lines drawn around seemingly random objects and people. The majority of it is either completely unprovable or just made up, and as such, isn’t worth examining in detail. What would be the point?

Just like the sad story of Sandy Hook hero turned conspiracy theorist target Gene Rosen, one particular victim was singled out: Jeff Baumann, a runner who lost both of his legs in the bombing. The iconic picture of Baumann being carried to safety just after the blast became a key image in the days after the attack, but it was quickly by jumped on by crisis actor believers. They determined that Baumann was actually Nick Vogt, a US Army veteran and double-amputee who had the misfortune of losing both legs in Afghanistan. And why did they think these two people be the same people? Because there was no blood on Baumann, of course. His facial expressions and posture didn’t “seem” like those of a bombing victim. And because Vogt and Baumann looked exactly alike.

Of course, there is absolutely no evidence that Baumann and Vogt are the same people, and a huge amount of evidence that they aren’t. For one thing, they had different injuries, with Vogt losing his legs above the knee, and Baumann below the knee. Also, a cursory visual comparison of the two men confirms they look almost nothing like each other, other than both being Caucasian and dark-haired. But to crisis actor believers, those facts do nothing other than lend confirmation to the conspiracy. To them, Vogt was pretending to be Baumann, taking on a lead role in the government’s latest false flag – a pernicious fake designed to take away our rights and heap the abuse of restrictive laws upon us.

The beauty of the crisis actor meme is that it can be used on anyone involved in any aspect of any tragedy. Conspiracy theorists love to point out things they just know are fake, and a crisis actor is the ultimate form of fakery. People grieving in a way you don’t think they should be grieving? Crisis actor. Victim not displaying the appropriate level of trauma or injury? Crisis actor. Interviewed bystander not flailing about in panic and anguish? Crisis actor. Government official acting as a shill to advance the “official story?” Crisis actor.

Conspiracy theorists also love to accuse the “sheeple” of being gullible and trusting to the point of naiveté. But thinking that crisis actors were participating in faked bombings requires a level of blind belief far beyond trusting in any “official story.”

It requires a buy-in on an operation so massive that it would involve hiring thousands of people, deploying all of them without a hitch and leaving no evidence of their fakery behind. And paradoxically, it demands the government be so evil it that it would plan a fake terrorist attack, but also so cheap and stupid that it would hire the same crisis actors used in previous faked terrorist attacks and plan an operation in such a slipshod manner that it can be uncovered by amateurs in a matter of hours.

So without solid, verifiable evidence otherwise, we can only reach one logical conclusion: crisis actors are real, and the incidents they perform in are not.

About Mike Rothschild

Mike Rothschild is a writer and editor based in Pasadena. He writes about scams, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and pop culture fads. He's also a playwright and screenwriter. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rothschildmd.
This entry was posted in Conspiracy Theories and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Crisis Actor? What Crisis Actor?

  1. Øyvind says:

    Conspiracy theorists have been reaching new lows latelly. Throwing speculations and wild theories around is bad enough, but actually stating, with no evidence whatsoever, that victims of atrocities are actually paid actors… that’s just a new kind of… I can’t even think of a word for it. It’s just vile.

  2. Vanda says:

    But why? Why do they do this? Conspiracy theorists have always been pretty vocal, but it seems since 9/11 they have become very cruel and careless of who they hurt and defame. I wonder if it’s the advent of the internet? Whilst I used to find them amusing and sometimes interesting, I now just see conspiracy theorists as lunatics with spittle running down their chins. And yes, vile, vile people.

    As for a professor putting forward that theory – has that university no standards? Any professor who did that here in Australia would find themselves out of a job pretty quickly, even if they had tenure, I’m sure.

  3. Doug Mathias says:

    Mike, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that you are the first wave of what I hereby dub “crisis-actor skeptic-actor” or “CSA2″. Obviously, a “real” skeptical commentator would not use such sophisticated grammatical structures as are found in the penultimate paragraph of your nauseating rant. I mean a “not only . . . but also” sentence construction? Obviously faked up in some large government phoneme & syntax studio hidden in the scrubland behind Area 51 — incidentally, the real reason the government keeps us real folks from ATVing in that area.

  4. Rob Struble says:

    “It takes both a special kind of paranoia and a complete lack of shame to call a bombing victim a paid government shill for somehow not looking enough like a bombing victim.”

    This is indeed the “cutting edge” of tinfoil hat conspiracism. A completely subjective opinion about a situation they have never actually encountered in real life, based on nothing other than what they’ve seen on TV shows or imagined, is objective “evidence” of a massive government conspiracy.

  5. JB says:

    Sadly, the author of this post’s last name is going to be enough for conspiracy theorists to ignore his writings.

  6. Steve says:

    Just to confuse things still further in the Facebook entry fro the Crisis Actors company they list ‘Online Conspiracy Mongers’ as one of their disciplines. So now we can’t even believe that all the conspiracy theorists are real. How do we know for instance that Professor Tracy isn’t in the Employ of Crisis Actors and his entire commentary about Sandy Hook isn’t just him doing his job.

    Of course it works both ways as any conspiracy theorist can now be accused of working for the company and being a Crisis Actor themselves and that any theory they come out with has been scripted by the company’s employers and it’s up to them to prove that they aren’t.

  7. ponder says:

    I do not believe the government is competent enought to engineer the various crisis’s and atrocities that abound but I fully believe the government will always attempt to use the incidents to increase the government’s control. They always have and they always will. All governments, not just ours.

    • That’s one of my favorite paradoxes about conspiracy theories: that the government has just enough skill to pull off these complex false flag operations, but not enough to keep them from being discovered right away.

      • Trevor Wilson says:

        i personally don’t believe they are crisis actors i was a combat medic in Iraq and i have seen major trauma even worse the Baumans, but to say the united states government wouldn’t do something like this is ridiculous. The gulf of tanken incident which has been proven to be a false flag from documents the government released. The amount of death and strife caused by these lies shows that there are some in the government who have no regard for human life. I also know from personal experience that people will do horrible things when they are ordered to do it. Either way the evidence that the government is not only capable but willing to kill people for political reason is beyond question. Your belief that everyone in the government is incompetent, and that a team couldn’t be brought together to perform an operation like this ludicrous. Here is some reference material for you to read up on your innocent government, yes it is from Wikipedia but look it has source material in its links who would have thought. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Tonkin_incident
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Rothschild”

    • Rich says:

      Hey good point!

    • Why does WordPress not have a “Like” button for comments? I seriously spit wine out my nose when I read this.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure if this is a good thing or not Brian, but I’m not sure most people have any idea why that’s hilarious.

        Maybe the conspiracy proliferators are losing ground?

      • Magnanamous Dinoflagellate says:

        Spit wine from your nose? The Dr who writers need a hot tub lurking, alien hunting, nose wine spitting villain.

        They have done Australians to death (so to speak)..

        Hang on, Brian, can you out do Captain Jack Harkness? I think he can spit a gorilla over 6 feet

        To an above comment that governments aren’t competent enough to do dastardly things…Only an incompetent government would allow such a thing.

        This weeks news had a moron blow his cover in Russia. Think about how conspiracists would view this in their “anti authoritarian” dreams.

        • Magnanamous Dinoflagellate says:

          BTW..
          What a superb comment and riposte.

          Thanks for the massive chuckle and “beer blow”.Anonymous and Brian.

  9. Justin Nnoix says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsutomu_Yamaguchi

    obviously a crisis actor right???? afterall, no one can possibly be at two disasters, that’s UNPOSSIBLE!!!! Rofl

    [ps, i’m in agreement with this article, justincase anyone thinks i’m actually serious)

  10. Dcembre says:

    There are no actors, no conspiracy, everything is fine in the usa.

  11. You’re missing the deeper conspiracy:

    The government plants people who make these extreme conspiracy theories that are obviously nutty. This serves to discredit any conspiracy theories, even ones that make sense.

    Think I’m crazy? Ask Cass Sunstein (an Obama adviser) about “cognitive infiltration”.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585

    What are the more sensible conspiracy theories? How about this one:

    Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been in contact with the FBI (at least twice) before the Boston Marathon incident. Was there an FBI effort to radicalize Tsarnaev in order to entrap him? We know that the FBI actually does try to infiltrate Muslim communities, and this comes not from right-wing extremists but the ACLU:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/20/fbi-informant
    http://www.aclu-sc.org/fazaga/

    Maybe (??) the FBI was trying to radicalize Tsarnaev but they lost control of him (like they lost track of the guns in Fast & Furious).

    Now, I suspect you agree this is not a crazy possibility. And perhaps you agree that the extreme conspiracy theories distract from the more sensible line of inquiry that might be pursued. With Sunstein’s “cognitive infiltration”, is it that hard to believe that Alex Jones and other extremists are actually government plants?

    Another more sensible theory that is ignored:
    Sandy Hook was real. But the reporting of what happened, both by government and by the media, might have been twisted in order to push for certain policy outcomes (i.e. gun control).

    The rush to ban semi-auto rifles … we don’t really know that the AR-15 was the primary weapon in Sandy Hook. There’s no ballistics report. Early reports, purportedly from multiple reliable sources, were that Lanza used handguns.

    Similarly, we actually know that the AR-15 was not the primary weapon in Aurora. It jammed after 30 rounds. 80 people were shot. Do the math. But the reporting and government push afterward focused on that rifle instead of on the shotgun which almost certainly did more damage.

    In other words, the crises are real, but government and the media manipulate the facts in order to take advantage. Rahm Emanuel’s “never let a crisis go to waste”.

    Is this really that hard to believe?

    And can you see how the government planting extremists, and the media giving extremists airtime (they’re more interesting and probably sell more ads), distracts from more genuine questions?

  12. Reg. says:

    Conspiracy theorists are modern day pimps who missed their chance to dob someone to the witch trials or the inquisition or the Nazi party or to the slave masters. Their drive is to inspire a return to the dark ages where ignorance was bliss. A pox upon conspiracy theorists. :-)

  13. Joe Zeph says:

    Yeah he’s a Rothschild
    ‘You’re a Rothschild…tadadadada
    He’s coming to get ya
    Yeaaaaa!

    Wrathchild
    Performed by Iron Maiden

    If people can believe Sandy Hook of being fake…what is to stop people from believing everything the Government and the media tells them to believe is real.

    For me. I just get Deja Vu, click on the next link and try my darndest to figure out if things are happening the same way again like any normal Schizoid.

  14. Anonymous says:

    21st century sucks.

  15. Mayer Amschel says:

    ROTFLMAO. Sounds like Red-Shield has all the answers at hand. Thanks Red-Shield for being the self-proclaimed authority on distinguishing the difference between a real false-flag and a false false-flag. It’s a very adept psychological maneuver you are navigating in this article. So, only those that occurred in the past and don’t have any immediate consequences in your daily life, no implications beyond being an interesting historical read, are real false-flags. Anything that is claimed today is a conspiracy theory. Got it. The logic is sound.

    In the same breath you tell us that governments do in fact have the ability to put on theater of the macabre for their citizenry, in order to push nefarious agendas, yet it is a ‘conspiracy theory’ if you believe paid crisis actors participate in real ‘terrorist’ events under government planning. That’s too 1930s, passe, outdated nonsense. Men in power now are different, more moral and ethical, more progressive in thought. Oh, how our species has advanced since then.

    “Don’t worry son, go back to sleep son, you just had a nightmare, everything will be OK. When you grow up son, you will understand that things that contradict your uninformed world-view should never be investigated or questioned. Instead they should be ridiculed, maligned and stricken from memory. Never listen to the arguments of others who disagree with you, just chide them and feel good that you don’t have to waste a minute of your time away from internet doing any real research. Nothing can prevent you from maintaining your routine with as little stress as possible. And don’t forget, there are not, and never have been, any criminals in position of authority, ever. Authority and respect is bestowed, not earned, not proven. People in power are never corruptible. Why would they ever seek to conspire with other powerful men, to preserve their power, just because they have the means, the motive and opportunity? There are never hidden agendas. Nothing in this world is planned ahead of time, everything just happens spontaneously, through random interactions of the non-planning oafs in power. What you see is what you get. Authority figures never lie, obfuscate or misdirect, to promote their agendas. How could the lie possibly be maintained? You can never hide something in plain sight. There is no such thing as compartmentalization of knowledge, no such thing as complacency, apathy amongst the ruled class. Tyrants, despots and mass-murdering thug leaders only exist in barbaric, backwards, third-world countries, not in affluent, civilized nations like ours.

    Remember, as soon as someone, whose history, affiliations, personal motivations and character you know nothing about becomes your authority figure, they stop being human, and become angels to be worshiped, adored and obeyed, never questioned, because, after all, they live to make you happy and secure. They have no self-interests, no conflicting, competing motivations, no fears, no anxieties, no faults whatsoever. They exist strictly with your interests at heart. Can you give me a Cumbaya, my son. Sleep tight. In fact just stay asleep your whole life.”

  16. deano says:

    A “Rothschild”, from Obomber Chicago, that does Bar Mitzvahs & paid by Skeptoid ??????

    The term “conspiracy theorist” was CIA invention to ridicule anyone doubting JFK murder.

    False flags do exist >Maine sinking, Gulf of Tonkin, WMD, Syrian chemical weapon attack,

    Crisis Actor?? Can anyone remember “Nayirah” testimony of babies from incubators to gain public outcry for 1st Gulf War. Trained Saudi ambassador daughter to promote hate for Suddam Hussein regime, which by the way, was given chemical weapons from US (Bush Snr in CIA) to use on Iran. > FACT!

    Look up “33 Conspiracies proven true”. > FACT!
    OPERATION NORTHWOODS Sec 8 a/b > Description of 9/11 planned in 60s> JFK denied R.I.P
    OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD > CIA infiltration & control of mainstream media

    Are Snowden & Assange theorists? No, they are just delivering the TRUTH. The USA lies, spies & will cover-up anything that goes against their agenda.
    Why has US quickly endorsed & produced 2 movies on Wikileaks & Assange (We steal secrets, & The fith estate).?
    To publicaly ridicule, slander & tarnish.

    Latest Crisis Actors : Obama, Boehner, Cruz, Kerry, Netanyahu, CONGRESS,NSA,DHS,TSA etc

    Latest Truth Speakers: Manning,Snowden,Assange,Pilger,R.Paul, Ventura,Putin,Assad,Abby Martin, Ben Swann,Rense & Paul Vigay(R.I.P. Killed by MI5 for work on cropcircles)

    P.S. If you want “truth” about CIA policy, Watch Jon Pilger’s “War on Democracy”. His interview with CIA (clandestine immoral americans) DUANNE CLARIDGE, shows what the US is capable of & how they implement it !!

  17. deano says:

    Dont know where you got that from Reg, but how many Nazi’s became US citizens for their Rocket Science knowledge (Operation Paperclip), Werner von Braun becoming head of NASA.
    For doubters of govt cant hide secret programs, development of atomic bomb(Project Manhattan) had 100 000 people involved, kept secret through “compartmentilization”.

    Does anyone think we would have seen “Collateral damage” video, or mass NSA spying on everyone , if it wasnt for whistle blowers Manning & Snowden ?

    As for Israel’s intentions, current attack policy on Syria & Iran, has only been emphasized by their anger towards US at not carrying out attacks.
    Putin, Assad & alternative media forced a political peaceful outcome, yet Kerry( should have SYRIA TODAY TV program) keeps banging the war drums!

  18. deano says:

    Gee Mike. Skeptics cant defend the ” Nayirah” pulling babies from incubator crisis actor incident.

    You were a baby at the time too probably. This was under G. Bush Snr to rally the war cry for the 1st Gulf War. We all know of the Bush & bin Ladin families close tie too OIL.
    Nayirah was a Saudi ambassadors daughter trained by CIA.
    This being a “recent” concept is far from the real truth as can be young one!

    AS for Alex Jones. Cult happenings at Bohemia Grove were denied as a fantasy/conspiracy theory, until he secretly smuggled himself & a camera in to blow it all out in the open!!

    I suggest you research the work of Jon Pilger & Julian Assange to find out what REAL journalism is about. There is always 2 sides to a story(possibly more), presenting all the facts on all the sides is something mainstream has lost & is the reason why more people are turning to alternative internet news.
    Even Wikipedia, with GUERILLA editing tactics by the likes of Susan Gerbic, just enforces the modis operandi of mainstream/skeptical agendas. Who PAYS you?

Leave a Reply