After a tweet with over 3,200 likes and retweets about suspected sex trafficking flyers in West Campus raised alarm over the weekend, the UT Police Department said the rumors were unfounded.
The bright yellow flyers advertised auditions for a fried chicken commercial. The Stuart Stone Casting Company was looking for college-aged groups of friends, middle-aged married couples and big rig truck drivers, according to the flyer.
The rumors started to circulate on social media Saturday night following a tweet by psychology sophomore Cara Coligan.
“There’s been people posting bright yellow flyers/handing them out around West Campus, saying they’re looking for 19–25 (year-old) women for a commercial that will pay like $1500 or something like that,” Coligan tweeted. “It’s part of a sex trafficking ring. (Please) be careful and aware.”
Noelle Newton, director of campus safety communications, said UTPD called Monday morning and confirmed that Stuart Stone Casting company is legitimate and not related to sex trafficking.
Coligan later clarified her original tweet after learning that the rumors were false, stressing that students “should always be very careful in these kinds of situations and always always do your research before showing up to something on a (suspicious) flyer or letter you receive.”
Stuart Stone Casting Company has offices in Los Angeles and Denver. The company has operated for more than 20 years and has casted spots for companies such as Nike, Hyundai and AT&T.
“We were planning a shoot in Texas,” the company’s president Stuart Stone said. “I’m completely transparent, and we had someone go to the (Kappa Delta) house in person to pass out the flyers.”
Stone said he was outraged when he received a call from UTPD Lieutenant Greg Stephenson Monday morning.
“In advertising, we never tell anyone what the commercial is about,” Stone said. “If we had disclosed what the commercial was about, other fried chicken companies, our competition, would find out … No one did their due diligence to check out my company.”