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Morgan Freeman denounces sound-alike GOP campaign ad

Morgan Freeman, 2010. (David Livingston/Getty)

Morgan Freeman has one of those instantly-recognizable voices: deep, wise, trustworthy. Which is why a L.A. political firm thought the Oscar-winning actor -- who's portrayed God, the president, and the smartest guy in the room -- was the perfect choice to narrate an ad for B.J. Lawson, a Republican running for Congress in North Carolina.

One small problem: Freeman's a Democrat and unlikely to work for a GOP candidate. So MEI Political hired a "voice double" to do the ad, which debuted Friday. "The audience never notices the difference," wrote a company consultant in an e-mail to Lawson. "It's one of those little secrets of Hollywood. We've used them with great success in political ads. We of course never say that they are the actual celebrity, but voters recogniz[e] their voice and trust it." (Don't want Freeman? They also offer voice doubles for William Shatner, Donald Sutherland, Sam Elliott, Queen Latifah, John Goodman, and Ray Romano.)

You know what happened next: Freeman was furious when he heard the ad and denied doing it. "These people are lying," he said in a statement. "I have never recorded any campaign ads for B. J. Lawson and I do not support his candidacy. And, no one who represents me has ever authorized the use of my name, voice or any other likeness in support of Mr. Lawson or his candidacy."

Lawson's campaign, which originally bragged about Freeman doing the voiceover, apologized Monday, reports the Associated Press, and claimed it genuinely believed he had done the work. MEI released a statement saying it disclosed, verbally and in writing, that it was using a voice double.

By The Reliable Source  | November 2, 2010; 12:39 PM ET
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First off, that's amazing. You'd swear it was Freeman

Second, someone call the whaaaaaaambulance!! Sorry Morggy, you don't get the intellectual property rights to "voice inflection"

Posted by: vtcrusade | November 2, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Guess Republicans didn't want the old has-been Hollywood burnouts that actually support them...that's too embarrassingly they had to pretend an intelligent liberal does.

Everybody knows that the REAL thing...Morgan Freeman...hates everything Republicans stand for.

Posted by: wilder5121 | November 2, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, vtcrusade, you are WRONG!

Posted by: mukazzi | November 2, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@vtcrusade: Actually, someone with a famously recognizable voice has a right to prevent impersonators from making advertisements or endorsements in a manner that would be falsely recognized as the celebrity.

Tom Waits successfully sued Frito-Lay for a commercial in the 90s.

Posted by: Snafoo | November 2, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

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