Russian propaganda officials deceived several American celebrities into recording personalized videos on Cameo that were later edited to falsely present Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a drug addict, according to a report from the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center. Since July 2023, analysts found that Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood, Elvis Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley, Breaking Bad actor Dean Norris, The Office actor Kate Flannery, Scrubs actor John McGinley, and System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian were targeted. They were paid to send a message to someone named “Vladimir,” asking him to find help for substance abuse. The videos were then altered to include links, emojis, and logos to make them look authentic and shared on social media. NBC News reported that the videos were covered by Russian state-owned news agencies, including RIA Novosti, Sputnik, and Russia-24. The drug abuse claim has been disproved by multiple outlets. Representatives for Wood, Flannery, and Presley told the news website that the actors believed they were talking to a fan and did not want to spread disinformation about Zelensky. A Cameo spokesperson did not disclose to NBC News whether it was investigating the practice but said that fooling content creators violated its community guidelines.
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