In the parlance of conspiracy theorists, a crisis actor is an actor who participates in a false flag event such as a bombing or mass shooting simulated by the conspirators—usually government or corporate forces—in order to achieve some goal such as justifying increased government surveillance, disarmament of the population, or military action against blamed nations or groups. Crisis actors are claimed in this context to play the part of bystanders or witnesses, emergency response personnel, and (with the aid of stage makeup) wounded victims of the attack.
Conspiracy theorists have claimed to have identified crisis actors at incidents including the 2012 Aurora shooting, Boston Marathon bombing, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Umpqua Community College shooting, Sydney hostage crisis, November 2015 Paris attacks, and others.
Robbie Parker, the father of Sandy Hook shooting victim Emilie Parker – after doing a CNN interview on the day after the shooting – became the target of conspiracy theorists, who claimed the interview was staged. Parker has been attacked by conspiracy theorists who believe he is a "crisis actor" and was "getting into character" before going on CNN to grieve over the loss of his child.