South Carolina debate crowd's support of Bloomberg leads some to wonder if they were being paid

Jeva Lange

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have been pummeled at a Democratic debate less than a week ago, but the crowd in South Carolina sounded surprisingly sympathetic to the billionaire candidate on Tuesday night. Attacks on Bloomberg often spurred the audience to loudly boo, while his attacks on his opponents would receive enthusiastic cheers:



The tone was so markedly different from that of the debate in Nevada that many viewers were suspicious of the authenticity of the hecklers:



Tickets to attend the South Carolina debate were prohibitively expensive, some have pointed out; the only way to obtain a ticket was to sponsor the debate, with such sponsorships ranging from $1,750 to $3,200 each. Whether that meant the demographic of the attendees naturally skewed toward a group that was more tolerant of billionaires — or if the hecklers' seats were being paid for by someone else — wasn't immediately clear.

More stories from theweek.com
Israel is the first country to warn its citizens not to travel abroad over coronavirus fears
HHS Secretary Alex Azar reportedly blindsided by Trump putting Pence in charge of coronavirus response
Harvard scientist predicts coronavirus will infect up to 70 percent of humanity