An ad seeking PFT counter protesters. Credit: PhillyDeclaration.org
A "gorilla marketing agency" reportedly paid by a conservative think tank is hiring 12 people to stage a counter-protest of a planned Philadelphia Federation of Teachers protest Thursday.
"It's interesting that their cause is so just they have to pay people to come spread their message," said Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) spokesman George Jackson. "We'll have thousands of people coming out tomorrow for free because they want to hear the truth."
The Declaration posted screenshots of an ad posted to a Facebook group called "Brand Ambassadors of Philadelphia" seeking people to stage a "counter protest" of a PFT demonstration scheduled for Thursday afternoon outside of School District of Philadelphia headquarters.
The ad was reportedly posted by GoGorilla Marketing and lists the name of the organization as PFT Fails.
The ad lists 12 positions, paying $120 for two team leads, $100 for eight brand ambassadors and $40 for two back-ups. Participants are instructed in the ad to wear street clothes and told they will be provided with signs upon arrival.
PFTFails.com is registered to Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy analysis at the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank that has posted articles and analyses critical of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers in the past, according to web host GoDaddy.com.
The Commonwealth Foundation did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but BillyPenn.com tweeted that they had confirmed the group posted the ad.
"Astroturf" groups are corporate-sponsored counter-protest groups intended to resemble grassroots organizations.