Former U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is now selling personalized for-pay messages on the video platform Cameo, allegedly raking in enough money to dwarf his $174,000 per year salary, according to the global news website Semafor.
The openly gay former Republican congressman was expelled by the U.S. House of Representatives last week for alleged ethical and financial misdeeds, becoming only the sixth member in the chamber’s history to be ousted by their fellow lawmakers.
The House voted overwhelmingly to remove Santos following the release of a scathing report by the House Ethics Committee alleging that he defrauded donors, used donations intended for his congressional campaign for his personal enrichment, and reported fictitious loans to political committees to keep contributions flowing.
Santos, who labels himself a “former congressional Icon” and “the Expelled member of Congress from New York City” on the platform, first began offering his services on Cameo — where fans buy personalized video messages from their favorite celebrities — for $75 per video.
He later upped his fee to $150 per video… then $200 per video… then $300 per video, and, as of Wednesday morning, $400 per video. By the time you read this, the price could be even higher.
While most of the videos are less than a minute long, the demand for Santos — at least at this time — is so high that he has reportedly earned more than six figures since joining the platform.
Cameo’s founder and CEO, Steven Galanis, told Semafor that Santos “is going to be an absolute whale,” describing his launch as among the platform’s best ever.
“Sarah Jessica Parker, Bon Jovi — he’s putting numbers up like that,” Galanis said.
On Monday night, his profile was no longer offering new videos. But he began taking new orders again on Tuesday, after clearing a “backlog,” he wrote on the social media platform X.
As of noon on December 6, he had only 44 remaining slots for potential patrons.
In a bit of congressional-level trolling, U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) posted a video that he’d asked Santos to record for his fellow Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who has been indicted on federal corruption charges.
Menendez is accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, including bars of gold bullion, in exchange for using his former position as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to increase U.S. assistance to Egypt and influence criminal investigations into New Jersey businessmen, including a longtime fundraiser for the senator.
“I approached a seasoned expert on the matter to give ‘Bobby from Jersey’ some advice,” Fetterman wrote on X, alluding to Menendez’s legal troubles.
In the video, Santos urged Menendez to make his detractors “put up or shut up.”
“You stand your ground, sir, and don’t get bogged down by all the haters out there,” Santos said. “Stay strong. Merry Christmas.”
Menendez later responded to The New York Times, dismissing Fetterman’s stunt and calling him “Mr. Clickbait.”
Santos has also posted sample videos offering advice to patrons on various matters ranging from beauty treatments and gym routines to motivational messages of support to offering his congratulations to newly engaged couples.
The former congressman may need to spend some of his newfound earnings on good legal representation, as he has been charged in federal court with 23 criminal counts of credit card fraud, identity theft, wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making “materially false statements” to the U.S. House of Representatives on his financial disclosure statements.
That case remains ongoing, and isn’t expected to go to trial until next year.
Santos isn’t the first politician to sell content on the website. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who himself is under indictment for trying to help overturn the results of the 2020 election, once recited the lyrics to “I’m a Little Teapot” on the platform.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, also sells videos on the site, revealing in a congressional disclosure last year that she earned $211,529 from Cameo, exceeding her previous salary as governor.
In the United Kingdom, former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage came under criticism for reading out comments supporting the Irish Republican Army in a 2021 video message, and more recently came under fire for allegedly using a homophobic racial slur in a video.
The move to Cameo also isn’t shocking for Santos, who has become a minor celebrity and provocateur and has consistently sought out the spotlight, rather than shy away from it, even prior to being elected to Congress.
Even after being expelled from the House, he promised to file ethics complaints against several of his former congressional colleagues who voted against him, authoring a series of posts on X accusing them of ethical violations, attacking them or their family members, and even appearing to out one of them as a closeted lesbian.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!