A “progressive media company” is calling out former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign for struggling to fill 100-seat venues, and using seat fillers to pack the house when folks neglect to show.
Status Coup, which bills itself as a progressive media company focused on investigative reporting, posted a video to Twitter Monday that shows how the Biden campaign set the stage at the IBEW Local 396 in Las Vegas.
At a @JoeBiden campaign event in Nevada, Status Coup caught on video an attendee saying he was asked to be a seat filler.
“They said we need seat fillers. What is this the Oscars?”
— Status Coup (@StatusCoup) July 22, 2019
“At a @JoeBiden campaign event in Nevada, Status Coup caught on video an attendee saying he was asked to be a seat filler,” Status Coup posed with the video. “’They said we need seat filler. What is this the Oscars?’”
The video shows a Hispanic man in conversation with someone off camera shortly before the event was set to begin.
“The event was held at IBEW Local 396 (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers),” Status Coup tweeted. “We believe this gentleman was a union worker.”
“I noticed about five minutes ago, oh it filled up. Then I looked over there and thought that was quick,” the man off camera said in the video.
“They say we need seat fillers. I was like ‘What is this, the Oscars?’” the Hispanic man replied with a hardy laugh.
Status Coup’s Marquis Ealy, who was recording, then followed up with the gentleman to discuss the situation.
“They told you to be a seat filler?” Ealy questioned.
“Ya,” the Hispanic man said. “Well, not really. It’s just they have more people coming, it’s just for now in case he does come in, you know, so it will be full.”
“Ya, because the seats were pretty empty huh?” Ealy goaded.
“Well ya, not anymore,” the man replied.
“Ya, well I guess you guys got so many seat fillers to fill the seats,” Ealy said.
“Actually no, these people are all their invited guests,” the Hispanic man replied, gazing down at the camera.
Status Coup posted a longer video to Periscope and YouTube that shows the size of the crowd in the minutes leading up to Biden’s visit. The footage shows that 14 minutes before the event was set to start, more than 40 of the venue’s 98 seats remained open.
The layout included four rows of three rectangle folding tables each at the front of the room, followed by three rows of folding chairs, which included a row for the media behind a partisan.
Status Coup contacted an unidentified Joe Biden campaign spokesperson who reportedly denied that the campaign uses “seat fillers” to artificially inflate crowd sizes. The political bias against Biden by the “investigative reporters” with Status Coup is obvious on the group’s Twitter page, with is dedicated to promoting Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders and attacking his opponents, as well as the “corporate media.”
Regardless, the group certainly isn’t the first to expose the paltry turnout at Biden’s events.
— 8_Shan 17:45 ⭐⭐⭐ (@shanna_fe) July 17, 2019
“@JoeBiden can’t fill an elementary school gym in Council Bluffs,” one Twitter user noted earlier this month.
The max capacity of The Grass Wagon is 300 people. pic.twitter.com/ty1RsyIsdD
— The American Mirror (@American_Mirror) July 17, 2019
Even Biden himself has expressed surprise when his followers swell into the hundreds. At The Grass Wagon in Iowa July 17, Biden stepped on stage and exclaimed “My lord, what a nice crowd” as he scanned roughly 300 in attendance, The American Mirror reports.
By comparison, President Trump packed the Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum during his most recent rally in North Carolina, where between 8,000 and 20,000 showed up to MAGA, depending on the source.
Another historic turnout in Greenville North Carolina! Capacity record inside and overflow is huge! Over 20,000 here to see @realDonaldTrump
He just keeps setting records. Bigly! pic.twitter.com/PL97Ii2B2N
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) July 17, 2019
According to The Reflector, a local news site, there were more Trump supporters turned away from the packed stadium than typically show up at a Biden event.
“Hundreds of ticket holders were denied entry Wednesday to President Donald Trump’s ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Greenville – many stayed on to view the event on an outdoor screen, others left frustrated after hours in the heat,” the news site reported.
“It’s kind of distracting when you see all the supporters walking away because they can’t get in,” David Nelson, from New Bern, told the Reflector. “I saw a thousand people it seemed like, walking away.”
Nelson said he thinks the massive turnout for Trump bodes well for 2020.
“I just think it shows (Trump) is going to win,” he said. “I’ve gone to all his rallies (in North Carolina) since he started and I’ll go to the next one.”