Mockumentary Anti-Gun Agitprop Scam Revealed! Too Late?


Gun guru Rob Pincus writes: Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. has shared his experience with a production company [First Freedom Television] that has been found out to be running a scam on The Firearms Community. [Click here for Mr. Van Cleave’s post on how he got punked into demonstrating gun training four-year-olds.] Here are the highlights of my experience . . .

I was actually flown out to this taping that was going on in PA a couple of weeks ago.

The production team figured out pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to go along with the shenanigans and then proceeded to come up with every version of excuse for why they “went ready for me” or “there were delays” when I repeatedly tried to make contact with the supposed “Trainers” that were involved.

At one point I actually got in a car and was heading over to the taping location in Harrisburg from the Great American Outdoors Show and they had the driver turn around and take me back to the hotel. The production staffer was in a panic on the phone, which she obviously didn’t know was on speaker. She insisted that I be taken to my hotel and that the car return for someone else that why were ready for.

Mockumentary description (courtesy

One of the production staff members showed up there to cover my associated expenses and have me sign a receipt (I never signed a release of agreement to be part of the production). Throughout this time I had been in contact with two different women: Ashley Winthrop and Alexis Rothe. I was also forwarded an email from a “Julia” who arranged my flight.

I later heard from a gun rights activist, Jan, who was also invited to participate. I had met her the night before, as we both flew in on the same flight and had given her my contact information.

They actually put her in front of the camera that day and manipulated her into playing along with the some extraordinarily ridiculous things like a gun disguised as a stuffed animal so that young kids could keep at the ready in the classroom with them and killers wouldn’t immediately target the kids with the guns. One of the guns was actually named “Uzi-Corn”…. you get the idea.

Her story was very similar to Philip’s that is related above in the story at Ammoland Shooting Sports News. She was mortified at having been duped into participating and was very concerned about how she was going to look if the footage were ever released. She was concerned about the production embarrassing gun owners.

Fake documentary? (courtesy

I’ll admit that when I first heard her story, I didn’t believe that it was actually a set-up. It was easier to believe that there were just some really well-intentioned but horribly misguided people who were being strung along by a LA Production company looking to make a few bucks. My assumption at that point was that they didn’t let me in to keep their production moving forward without disruption… but, I didn’t clearly see the reason behind their fear of that disruption.

I did counsel Jan in regard to the next steps she should take to prevent her participation from being part of any video that might eventually be released and I am still in contact with her as she is working with lawyers to try to protect her reputation.

First Freedom Television cv (courtesy

While at the GAO show, I bumped into a friend who is sponsored shooter and learned that she was also invited to participate. I learned the next day that they ended up not sending a car at the agreed upon time and she did not participate either.

My last communication with the “Alexis” from the Production Company was on March 12th:

“So, I’ve heard a few others involved in your production. It sounds like you’ve got a real disaster on your hands… one full of reckless negligence in regard to kids and firearms. I’m inclined to put the word out to everyone in the industry. Possibly even coming by today to speak with the guys behind this to try to keep them from embarrassing themselves and the firearms community…. or maybe just to get pictures of the stuffed animals.”

First Freedom Television's bold claims (courtesy

I actually posted a warning to the CFS Instructor Team in our discussion group on March 13th that included:

“Beware of this outfit and media project. I don’t know if it is a well-funded scam to embarrass gun people or a well-funded shit show…. but, it should be avoided.”

Over the past few days, the truth behind the craziness has been revealed.

I have been (and remain) an advocate for “always saying yes” to media invitations so that we can present our views as responsible gun owners and Second Amendment Advocates. That said, we must not be so anxious to participate in front of the camera that we go along with whatever is being said… even if it means risking offending someone or insulting them by requesting to record the event ourselves or vet the claims of the other people involved.

I am standing by to assist anyone who might be impugned by this well-funded scam.

– Rob Pincus


  1. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    Well done sir!

  2. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Knowing their (utter lack of) mentality, they will attempt to salvage what they can with the video they they have and thoroughly embarrass the woman they conned into participating.

    This is *war* they are in, they will do anything, say anything, nothing is too low for them to stoop down to…

    1. avatar ColdNorth says:

      The only thing that surprises me is that they are trying to fool real people. I still can’t figure out why they don’t just outright lie- make everything up from start to finish, hire actors to pretend to be gun rights activists, etc. It’s not like anyone important will challenge them. Let’s say Fox News points out how it’s all fake- they can just get their friends in the media to call Fox News liars, and put up “evidence” showing that it’s all real. Just go pay some content farms to shout down anyone who disagrees online, and brigade them to get them kicked off twitter, fb, etc.

      I suppose I should be grateful they’re sticking to half-measures.

      1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

        To make a lie more beleiveable they sprinkle a little truth in to try to look legitimate. They can dupe people into participating in this farce then give the name and background of the individual.

  3. I just sent these fake journalists a message on their website (which has a convenient “Contact Us” form at the bottom of the web page). Here is the message I sent them:

    “I hear you’re fake journalists who have been running scams on the firearms community, mockumentaries set up to endanger children just to embarrass pro-gun people, just like the anti-abortion people ran scams to embarrass Planned Parenthood with alleged selling of fetus parts. Isn’t there a law against posing as journalists and then endangering children?”

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      Kudos on employing reason, but the time for gentility has passed. O’Keeffe’s getting sued. What these clowns are doing is far more deceptive and complex. Sue them into the next century, maybe bring some criminal charges, too. If they’ve hired a bunch of young SJWs, a prosecutor could flip them with her pinky.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        Anyone can get sued, for anything, at any time. Doesn’t mean the suits are right or valid. The law suits are over invasion of privacy and use of public image without release issues, not that there was any doctoring of the audio/video, or that the Planned Parenthood people were duped into saying the things that they did.

        And Planned Parenthood does sell aborted baby parts.

    2. avatar Jb says:

      That’s a good argument except planned parenthood was selling baby parts for profit and was proven so. Might want to get the facts before you present the “facts”.

      1. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

        See, that’s the problem with you retards. Your relationship with the truth has been so damaged that you no longer understand the concept of ‘fact’. Even Republicans champing at the bit to shut down or at the very least damage the reputation of PP found absolutely no wrongdoing. The only people who were charged with anything were with the CMP, because they very clearly broke the law.

        1. avatar n64456 says:

          I just don’t want a single dollar of taxpayer (MY!!) money funding their operations. If they want to murder babies; let them do it on their own dime… As a matter of fact; every time a Democrat woman aborts her male baby; that’s one less violent felon on our streets in 15-20 years from now… Its a “win-win” for everyone in this country…

          So… GFY…

        2. avatar BaconLovingInfidel says:

          “VerendusAudeo says:
          February 21, 2018 at 18:33
          See, that’s the problem with you retards. Your relationship with the truth has been so damaged that you no longer understand the concept of ‘fact’. Even Republicans champing at the bit to shut down or at the very least damage the reputation of PP found absolutely no wrongdoing. The only people who were charged with anything were with the CMP, because they very clearly broke the law.”

          Typical lying half-wit leftist.

          You do realize these are public matters or which anyone can examine the public record and see that the “retard” is you, and that you’re simply lying?

          The Senate Judiciary Committee made criminal referrals to FBI. FBI conformed receipt of them here:

          ‘“We can confirm the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of FBI Headquarters received your referrals and sent them to the relevant FBI field offices for review and whatever action is deemed appropriate,” the FBI’s Gregory Brower writes to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

          The letter, dated June 19, 2017, was never publicized by the Judiciary Committee and is located in the correspondence section of its website:

          In his correspondence, Brower apologizes to Grassley “for the delay in responding to your inquiry” and indicates receipt of the chairman’s letter, dated April 24, to both former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “concerning criminal referrals you made on December 13, 2016, to the FBI and Department of Justice.”

          “These referrals were accompanied by a Majority Staff Report to the Committee, Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy, which detailed allegations of paid fetal tissue transfers and criminal conspiracy made against eight organizations,” Brower continues.’

          Here’s the Majority Staff Report detailing the criminal for profit sale of butchered fetal parts:

          “The Majority Staff Report concludes:
          • Despite the clear legislative history of the 1993 NIH Revitalization Act, the executive branch across multiple administrations has failed to enforce the law’s safeguards.

          • Since 2010, three companies – Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc.; StemExpress, LLC; and Novogenix Laboratories, LLC (Novogenix has since gone out of business) – have paid affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America to acquire aborted fetuses, and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs.

          • The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) initially had a policy in place to ensure its affiliates were complying with the law, but the affiliates failed to follow its fetal tissue reimbursement policy. When PPFA learned in 2011 of this situation, PPFA cancelled the policy rather than exercise oversight to bring the affiliates back into compliance. Thus, PPFA not only turned a blind eye to the affiliates’ violations of its fetal tissue policy, but also altered its own oversight procedures enabling those affiliates’ practices to continue unimpeded.

          • The cost analyses provided by affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America lack sufficient documentation and rely on unreasonably broad and vague claims of costs for “the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control or storage of” fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood attorneys acknowledge that the affiliates had failed to follow procedures put in place to ensure compliance with the law. In addition, the cost analyses were only performed long after the fact and at the insistence of the committee.

          The full report details the long history of the controversy surrounding human fetal tissue research and the bipartisan legislative approach taken to resolve the issue at the time, as well as the subsequent lack of enforcement. As the report explains, “Support for the 1993 NIH Revitalization Act was premised on the idea that the ban on buying or selling fetal tissue would be a safeguard against the development for a market for human fetuses. Tragically, the executive branch has either failed or simply refused to enforce that safeguard. As a result, contrary to the intent of the law, companies have charged thousands of dollars for specimens removed from a single aborted fetus; they have claimed the fees they charged only recovered acceptable costs when they had not, in fact, conducted any analysis of their costs when setting the fees; and their post hoc accounting rationalizations invoked indirect and tenuously-related costs in an attempt to justify their fees.”

          The House Panel report also found clear violations and made criminal referrals:

          It was discovered that Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast broke the law when it sold aborted baby remains for profit to the University of Texas. Operation Rescue’s Texas attorney, Briscoe Cain, received evidence of this illegal conduct through a FOIA request and referred the evidence on to investigators. The Select Panel referred the case to the Texas Attorney General. Referral letter here.

          The Panel found that at least four Planned Parenthood facilities in California and Novogenix, a tissue procurement company, violated the law by profiting off of the sale of baby body parts and referred them for criminal prosecution to the U.S. Department of Justice. Referral letter here.

          DV Biologics, a tissue procurement company who had contracts to do business with Planned Parenthood, was found to have been illegally trafficking aborted baby remains for profit and had failed to collect California sales taxes. The Orange County District Attorney has sued and the Select Panel made a supplemental referral. (Operation Rescue uncovered a quid pro quo relationship between the owners of DV Biologics and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who granted special favors to them.) Referral letter here.

          Advanced Bioscience Resources, another tissue procurement company who had contracts with Planned Parenthood, was found to have profited from the sale of aborted baby remains to “various universities.” A referral was made to the Riverside, CA District Attorney. Referral letter here.

          After conducting a forensic analysis of the limited financial data submitted by StemExpress, another tissue procurement business with Planned Parenthood contracts, the Select Panel found that it was violating federal law by profiting from the sale of aborted baby remains. Referrals were sent to the El Dorado, CA District Attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice. Referral letter here.

          The Panel found that StemExpress likely destroyed documents key to fetal tissue transfer and referred the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice. Referral letter here.

          It was discovered that an abortion facility in Arkansas violated the law by selling aborted baby remains to StemExpress for profit. A referral was made to the Arkansas District Attorney. Referral letter here.

          The Panel’s investigation revealed that StemExpress and “certain abortion clinics” were violating patient privacy rights under HIPAA for financial gain. A referral was made to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Referral letter here.

          The Panel also referred StemExpress to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for using invalid consent forms. Also, StemExpress was attempting to interest their customers in fetal baby body parts before the abortion had taken place, which raise “serious concerns that there may have been coercion or undue influence upon the patient to consent to procurement.” Referral letter here.

          The University of New Mexico was found to have violated their state’s Anatomical Gift Act by receiving tissue from a late-term abortion facility, Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, NM. The matter was referred to the New Mexico Attorney General for further investigation and prosecution. Referral letter here.

          A supplemental referral to the New Mexico Attorney General was sent after the Select Panel found that the Southwestern Women’s Options abortion facility and the University of New Mexico provided insufficient consent forms to at least one patient. Referral letter here.

          The Panel’s investigation discovered that Presidential Women’s Center in West Palm Beach, Florida violated federal and state law though their relationship with StemExpress, which allowed it to illegally profit from the sale of aborted baby remains. The matter was referred to the Florida Attorney General. Referral letter here.

          The Panel found gross violations of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act by a late-term abortionist in Texas whereby he killed babies born alive after botched abortions. The panel referred him for criminal prosecution to the Texas Attorney General (letter here) and the U.S. Department of Justice (letter here).

          Referral links here:

          Four months ago, in November 2017, FBI requested the unredacted Planned Parenthood documents the Senate Committee examined and referenced in their report and referrals suggesting they are at least making a pro forma effort to investigate further.

  4. avatar Sgt at arm's says:

    I see the slimey hand of the Bloomberg anti gun group behind this.

    1. avatar Mike Dexter's A GOD says:

      Bloomberg is way more public than this.

      I’d bet just about anything this is a George Soros operation.

      1. avatar Jim Macklin says:

        The Russians meddled in the 2016 elections and there are credible reports that those same bots are feeding propaganda on gun control.

  5. avatar Rokurota says:

    I don’t know the details and IANAL, but no doubt everyone (Van Cleave, Jan, et al) signed a written agreement releasing their likenesses, voice, etc. to the production company. Scour that release for any fraudulent misrepresentation. Also sue for fraud based on the oral agreement. C&D for all eternity, effers. Then follow the money and go after the backers. Emails and letters likely contain wire fraud.

  6. avatar dwb says:

    March 12th? march 13th? (as in “I actually posted a warning to the CFS Instructor Team in our discussion group on March 13th that included:”)

    Is this an old post, a typo, or do we have a time machine on TTAG?

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    That is a ridiculous amount of effort, time and money spent setting up a bad joke.
    No wonder comedy is dead and the left is financially ruined.

  8. avatar Esemwy says:

    I’m a VCDL member. I also think this comes under “fool me twice, shame on me.”

    Van Cleave should have known better after the Katie Couric debacle.

  9. avatar DesertDave says:

    The thing to understand about the “media” is:

    1. They are NEVER out to find the truth.
    2. They are given an assignment like “Go out and get a story on crazy gun owners”.
    3. They then go out and produce the news to the script.

    So your point “I have been (and remain) an advocate for “always saying yes” to media invitations so that we can present our views as responsible gun owners and Second Amendment Advocates.” is likely bad policy as what you do say will be edited and used in ways that are out of context and completely not your meaning (Katie Curic anyone?). their job is to get the “story” they were told to get and is never to tell the truth about anything.

    That and the other factor that controversy and blood sells and the truth doesn’t. If I were ever in a position to talk to the media I would not, at best it is a waste if time and at worst a degradation to your cause.

  10. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    If you haven’t figured out as a gun owner that the media is not your friend, then I can’t help you. And you might even harm me and other gun owners with the things you say and do, all because you want to have a camera in your face.

  11. avatar Nanashi says:

    With フフ (Laughter) as a logo, there is no way it’s a serious organization.

  12. avatar R2Hell says:

    The FaceBook page looks to have been created in about five minutes. A cursory search of the “projects” on their website reveals nothing. It’s a hoax. Using the names of Nat’l Geographic, CBS, A&E, Fox, Discovery, NBC, PBS, History Channel, and Netflix without permission about fictitious programs is tantamount to libel and fraudulent, plain and simple.

    1. avatar bobo says:

      as of right now—1:30 pm PST the facebook page is gone!

      that alone tells you —they heard and ripped it down!

  13. avatar bobo says:

    could someone “proof read this?

    the spelling mistakes are killing me—so glaring!

    1. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

      I know, right? The editing (which they have admitted is actually non-existent) on this site is embarrassing. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen 6.5 Creedmoor spelled Creedmore on this site…I could probably buy a candy bar.

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