Actor Dennis Quaid is firing back at critics angry that he agreed to participate in a coronavirus-related public service campaign created by the White House.
What is the background?
Politico reported last week that Quaid and other celebrities would participate in a White House ad blitz ahead of Election Day touting government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Politico, the ad campaign will cost at least $300 million.
The ad blitz, described in some budget documents as the "Covid-19 immediate surge public advertising and awareness campaign," is expected to lean heavily on video interviews between administration officials and celebrities, who will discuss aspects of the coronavirus outbreak and address the Trump administration's response to the crisis, according to six individuals with knowledge of the campaign who described its workings to POLITICO.
Senior administration officials have already recorded interviews with celebrities like actor Dennis Quaid and singer CeCe Winans, and the Health and Human Services Department also has pursued television host Dr. Mehmet Oz and musician Garth Brooks for roles in the campaign.
House Democrats are investigating the ad campaign, alleging the government is using taxpayer funds to boost Trump ahead of the election.
What did Quaid say?
Quaid responded to criticism on Sunday in an Instagram video titled, "NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPOLITICIZED."
In the video, Quaid hit back at what he called "cancel culture media," saying he was feeling "outrage" and "disappointment" over his involvement with the project, which amounted to an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci.
"It is being used by the cancel culture media that I was doing a campaign ad and endorsement of Donald Trump and that I was paid handsomely for this by diverted CDC funds. Nothing could be further from the truth," Quaid said.
In fact, Quaid explained that his involvement with the project focused on simply raising awareness about COVID-19 and how to stay protected from the virus. Plus, he wasn't even paid for the work.
"The interview and the PSA were about raising awareness of COVID-19 and what we can still do to prevent lives being lost by this terrible, terrible virus," Quaid said. "It was about the importance of wearing a mask, about social distancing, and it was in no way political."
"In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci and I both talked about it before that it was not to be political — this virus is not political. I was not paid one penny for doing this interview, and neither was Dr. Anthony Fauci," the actor continued.
Quaid went on to say that he was "disappointed" with the news stories surrounding his involvement, saying journalists who started rumors about him "obviously" did not sufficiently research Quaid's involvement with the project before reporting on it.