The 2016 US presidential election campaign will not be forgotten for a long while. Reality star vs massively dodgy Democrat.
It was essentially a late Rocky film, only without Rocky. Just two bad guys fighting it out and the millions of spectators in the crowd all hating one another to the point of civil war.
There were scandals. ‘Grab em by the p*ssy’ and the less catchy Clinton email controversy – against a backdrop of potential Russian involvement in the build up to the big day.
Now, according to The Daily Beast, a former employee of a Russian troll factory (yeah, we’re not making this up, imagine that on your CV) has made the gripping claim that a Hillary Clinton lookalike and a Barack Obama lookalike were hired to make a sex-tape which was to be leaked online, shaming the presidential hopeful in a totally made up smear campaign.
The troll factory, which ran dozens of popular pro-Trump Twitter accounts, some of which had tweets retweeted by Trump and Twitter CEO Jack Dorey, posted countless tweets and images convincing people to vote for The Donald – however the fake sex tape was intended to the absolute jackpot. The mother of all smear campaigns.
Russian troll factories only came to light recently after a self-confessed former employee, Alan Baskaev, came out with the revelations.
Mr Baskaev, who now works in Thailand, said his bosses ‘thought they hit the sensation jackpot’ with the bizarre video.
Baskaev worked at the troll factory from November 2014 to April 2015 and claimed he would imitate ‘Kentucky redknecks’ on the accounts.
Speaking to an independent Russian network, TV Rain, Baskaev added:
You know, there’s this meme about the troll factory, people sitting in black caps, masks, behind them there’s a photo of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and a Russian flag. They’re so intense.
I don’t know what happened on the day shift, but the night shift was a bacchanal. We did the most ridiculous things we could think of.
Amazingly, Baskaev said he doesn’t fear retribution from his former employers – even after making the damning claim that Yevgeny Prigozhin, a known associate of Putin’s, was paying them.
I can’t say I’d be so confident in Baskaev’s shoes.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.