A spokesperson for the Progressive Conservative party admits paid actors were hired to support and cheer for party leader Doug Ford as he participated in a televised debate on Monday night.

“A local candidate made a decision to engage a casting agency. That was unnecessary and a mistake. It will not happen again,” PC Party spokesperson Melissa Lantsman said on Twitter.

She added that Doug has had a large number of supporters show up for him at events across Ontario.

“Doug Ford has attracted record crowds since entering the race for PC leader. This has become even stronger since winning the leadership.”

While Lantsman did not name the local candidate, the CityTV studio is located within the Toronto Centre riding, where lawyer Meredith Cartwright is the PC candidate.

“I can assure you I will be asking Meredith and ask what’s going on,” Ford told reporters Tuesday when asked about the actors. “That’s the first I’ve heard of that. We don’t need to pay anyone. When we have events, we’re packed, we’re standing room only.”

Lantsman did not say how many actors were hired to appear.

The Toronto Star reported that a casting agency was looking for 20 people to appear outside the studios between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday.

Each was reportedly offered $75.