The Trump Administration put together a $265 million effort to round up the biggest rappers, singers, and actors in the entertainment industry to appear in a failed ad campaign about Covid-19. Lil Wayne, Roddy Ricch, Cardi B, Lil Uzi Vert, Ludacris, Ice-T, and Nicki Minaj were among at least 247 celebrities vetted by the Administration, according to documents obtained by the House Oversight Committee and published by Politico on Thursday (Oct. 29).
The Department of Health and Human Services paid a contractor $256 million to complete the tax-payer funded public service campaign by Election Day. TheAdministration “vetted spokespeople based on their political positions and whether they support President Trump,” House Democrats argued.
Fors Marsh, a strategic communications firm, won a $250 million contract with HHS a week before, Atlas Research secured a $15 million contract. The campaign was the brain child of Michael R. Caputo, the department’s assistant secretary for public affairs.
The 34-page spreadsheet dubbed the, “PSA Celebrity Tracker,” includes notes on each celebrity’s political affiliation, possible comments about Trump and coronavirus, criminal history (if applicable), demographic, and whether or not they expressed interest in appearing in the PSA. The entry listed Wayne as a “maybe; follow-up” option who previously supported President Barack Obama, “doesn’t like Republicans, ” and is popular among “Black Americans,” “super spreaders,” and the “general population.” It’s unclear what transpired between Wayne and the Trump Administration in regard to the PSA. He did of course meet with Trump this week and endorsed his re-election campaign.
Jay-Z was listed under “maybe; follow-up” as well. The notes state that Hov spoke with his manager and might, “Reconsider depending on who signs.” The entry lists Jay’s criminal history, and support of President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Eminem, Lil Baby, Beyonce, Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Kerry Washington, Issa Rae, Donald Glover, Chance the Rapper, and John Legend were also on the list.
Luda, Viola Davis, Dwayne Johnson, George Lopez, Zoe Saldana, Trevor Noah, Betty White and Britney Spears were some of the celebrities who turned down the offer, and it appears that most of the people on the list simply didn’t respond.
Singer Marc Anthony accepted but did not want his coronavirus quotes used for Trump’s election campaign, CNBC reports. Gospel legend CeCe Winans recorded a PSA but pulled out after receiving backlash once the clip hit the internet late last month.