Entertainer Harry Belafonte released a statement after a senior aide to Donald Trump posted a doctored video in which it was made to appear as if Joe Biden was fast asleep when a local news anchor attempted to interview him via satellite.
In fact, the video was from 2011, when Belafonte was doing a series of press junket interviews and lost audio contact with the local station in Bakersfield, CA.
“They keep stooping lower and lower,” Belafonte said in a statement. “A technical glitch in an interview I did nine years ago now becomes another one of their lies, more of their fake news. I beg every sane American: please vote them out. I knew many who gave their life for the right to vote. Never has it been so vital to exercise that right.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dan Scavino, a senior aide to Trump and White House director of social media, tweeted the video out on Sunday from his private account. It was made to look like a news anchor was trying to interview Biden, trying to wake him up. The sound of snoring also was added to the video. The video has received 2.1 million views.
Twitter labeled the video as “manipulated media.”
In fact, the anchor was trying to interview Belafonte, but a glitch cut off audio communication, making him appear to be unresponsive as she cut to him. John Dabkovich, who was coanchor at the time, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that the Biden video was “Fake.” “I was the coanchor in the studio. We were interviewing Harry Belafonte.”
Belafonte has long been an influential activist in addition to his entertainment career. A friend of civil rights figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., he helped organize the entertainment contingent that participated in the 1963 March on Washington.
Ken Sunshine, Belafonte’s spokesman, said, “Do they really want to caricature a 93-year-old civil rights icon in the entertainment business? Do they know who they are messing with?”