The voice of Morgan Freeman—which should only be employed as a stand-in for God, or to relay in a soothing, paternal manner the ugly facts of life, such as penguin deaths and prison rape—was recently knocked off for a political ad for North Carolina congressional candidate B.J. Lawson, much to the actor’s dismay. Lawson initially claimed that Freeman was the voice of his campaign on his Facebook page and website, believing that the company he’d hired, MEI Political, had, in fact, somehow convinced Freeman to put his gently authoritative tones to work for a Republican candidate in a state he’s never lived in. After Freeman became aware of the ads, he issued a statement saying, “These people are lying. I have never recorded any campaign ads for B.J. Lawson, and I do not support his candidacy.” Lawson’s opponent, in turn, gave him a lot of shit for it because—come on. Morgan Freeman? Doing your state Senate campaign ad? Come on, dude.
As a result, both parties have become embroiled in a public argument over who misled whom, with Lawson’s campaign threatening legal action against MEI for falsely promising to deliver Morgan Freeman. MEI, however, claims it only suggested it could provide a Morgan Freeman “voice double”—and in fact, it produced an e-mail saying that it would also “have the personal voice doubles for Morgan Freeman, William Shatner, Donald Sutherland, Sam Elliott, Queen Latifah, John Goodman, and Ray Romano in studio cutting ads for us.” (Wait: William Shatner, Donald Sutherland, Queen Latifah, and Ray Romano? These are voices people would trust to recommend a political candidate?) Now three other candidates have come forward to say they were also taken advantage of by “Freemangate,” claiming that the same company misled them by promising Morgan Freeman, who supposedly does it as a “favor” because he is a “friend” of MEI consultant Ben Mathis. I wish I could tell you that Ben Mathis fought the good fight, and is indeed friends with Morgan Freeman. I wish... I could tell you that.
Anyway, B.J. Lawson lost. Here's the ad that didn't help. To be fair, that's a pretty solid Morgan Freeman impression.
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