Tim Ballard and Sean Reyes Unhinged

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Sean Reyes, 51, advanced his political career by touting what he calls his warrior heritage, a legacy bestowed by his father, Norberto, who Reyes claims escaped his Philippine homeland to avoid execution by its president, Ferdinand Marcos. When Reyes took the main stage at the August 2020 Republican National Convention in support of Donald Trump’s nomination, he highlighted his father’s story:

“My father demonstrated his warrior spirit over 50 years fighting a dictator in his homeland — the Philippines. Barely escaping with his life, he started anew in America.”

That claim, among others Reyes makes about his father, is not true.  Yet for years he has told and retold his father’s success story, a story never fact-checked by Utah’s mainstream news outlets but reported as factual. The truth, however, is Reyes’ father did not escape to the United States in 1967 under death threat by the Marcos regime but emigrated illegally under the guise of a tourist visa. Further, Reye’s father—also an Elvis impersonator who usually went by the name “Buddy”—was not, as his son Sean has repeatedly claimed, once Pope John Paul VI’s personal artist, a former member of Bob Hope’s USO troupe, or a producer of blockbuster movies for MGM. The 1991 movie his father did produce and direct, Night of the Kickfighters, was panned by one critic as the worst movie he ever reviewed.

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