A campaign opposing a ballot measure in Newport Beach that would allow voters to elect their mayor released a fictional “godfather” style video over the weekend on social media in which an actor playing a mayor of Newport Beach and supporter of the measure is shot several times in the chest.
The “Stop the Power Grab – No on B” campaign quickly removed the video from its social media platforms.
“The video is disgusting and incredibly tone deaf, especially for the times we are going through right now in our country,” said Will O’Neill, Newport Beach City Councilman and former mayor who is pushing Measure B. It’s a very real phenomenon for unstable individuals to fixate on public figures, and they don’t need the extra motivation, like a video showing a mayor being shot.
Gary Cruz, who described himself as one of 15 people on the committee opposing the measure, said the “No on B” campaign was not involved in the creation of the video.
“It happened,” Cruz said. “We are not proud of it. We are not happy that this happened. We had nothing to do with it. It arrived on our site by mistake.
Cruz said no one in the campaign reviewed the video before it was posted on social media. He also echoed a statement ‘No on B’ posted on his Instagram and Facebook accounts saying the committee had not commissioned or paid for the video.
“We apologize to anyone who was offended or concerned by the content of this satirical video,” the committee said in a statement.
“No on B” said it paid Good Morning Newport $1,500 for the “cost of producing an episode,” according to a campaign finance disclosure form covering the period from April 24 to May 21. The campaign said the money paid for a different video that was posted on YouTube on May 9.
The May 9 video and video depicting a shooting are part of a series of three fictional ‘Godfather’ videos created by Good Morning Newport that argue against the measure, repeating the theme that it would give the mayor too much power over the rest advice. and lead to corruption.
An actor plays four different mayors from Anaheim, Irvine, Santa Ana and Newport and a Democratic Party voter in the video. None are mentioned by name, but dialogue suggests that the mayor of Newport character is based on O’Neill, who served as mayor in 2020 and is a leading proponent of the ballot measure. Using special effects, fiction the character is shot several times at the end of the video, with graphic images of fake blood gushing from his chest.
Alex Crawford, the creator of Good Morning Newport and a solo actor in the video, said in a statement posted online that it “was in no way intended to portray real people or real mayors of Newport Beach.”
“Statements saying he advocated violence, depicting real violence towards real people, anything of that nature, these statements are untrue,” he said in the statement, calling it “political satire “.
O’Neill, who believes he is depicted in the video, said he sent the video to the Newport Beach Police Department before participating in the Balboa Island Parade on Sunday morning with his family.
“My wife was worried,” O’Neill said. “It’s so beyond the pallor of what would be acceptable.”