Local Politics

Candidate 'duped' by promise of famous voice

Posted November 1, 2010 5:09 p.m. EDT
Updated November 2, 2010 6:49 a.m. EDT

A local Congressional candidate was disappointed Monday to find that a high-profile voice-over he paid for was not the real thing.

Republican congressional candidate B.J. Lawson's campaign touted the use of Morgan Freeman's distinctive voice in an e-mail to supporters Monday morning.

"The Lawson for Congress campaign confirms that its latest radio and TV ad is indeed narrated by actor Morgan Freeman," campaign manager Martin Avila wrote.

By 5 p.m., after a withering statement of denial from Morgan, Avila backed away from that statement.

"These people are lying," Freeman said through his publicist. "I have never recorded any campaign ads for B.J. Lawson, and I do not support his candidacy. 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."

Lawson's opponent in the race to represent North Carolina's Fourth District, Democratic incumbent David Price, saw through the ad right away.

"Everything we know about Morgan Freeman suggests he is a strong supporter of the president," Price said. He said his campaign contacted Freeman's people to see if the ad was real.

After the discrepancy came to light, Avila produced a signed contract for "one Morgan Freeman radio commercial" signed by Benjamin Mathis of MEI Political. The document shows the campaign paid $4,500 for the ad.

“The Lawson campaign was shocked about what has happened and operated under the pretense that the ad was legitimate. Until today, we had no reason to believe the ad was not narrated by Morgan Freeman,” Avila said.

"I am going to honest and say I got duped," Lawson said.

Calls to Mathis and to MEI Monday night were not returned.

The Lawson campaign called media outlets to ask them not to run the ad, Avila said.

Price was not impressed. "Mr. Lawson needs to deal with this. (He) needs to apologize to the man," he said.