A writer who uncovered the racist nature of the person behind President Donald Trump’s most retweeted Twitter post has been the subject of vile antisemitic abuse.
Jared Yates Sexton was “inundated with antisemitic slurs” after he wrote about an individual who goes by the online moniker HanAssholeSolo.
Earlier this month the US President tweeted an animated GIF which presented his 2007 WrestleMania appearance as a political cartoon.
Shared more than 300,000 times, the image showed the leader of the free world beating a man with the CNN logo for a face.
While the president’s supporters mocked liberals for failing to get the joke, Mr Sexton delved a little deeper. He discovered a graphic also created by HanAssholeSolo which was a picture of CNN personalities with Stars of David next to each of them. The post was captioned: “Something Strange About CNN…can’t quite put my finger on it…”
Mr Sexton told the JC: “What I found, the further I probed into the story, was that there are subcultures on the internet where individuals are engaging in wildly racist and antisemitic behaviour. They discuss conspiracy theories as well as fantasies about killing journalists and members of the supposed Jewish conspiracy.”
Having published his findings, Mr Sexton — who is not Jewish — was bombarded by online antisemtic abuse.
In an article for Politico, he wrote: “Despite my Southern Baptist upbringing, they assumed I was Jewish because I’d uncovered antisemitism, and so the threats and memes predictably featured pictures of Adolf Hitler, scenes from the Holocaust and other antisemitic garbage.
“I was peppered with the usual slurs and insults before a user calling his or herself ‘Pepe’s Imam’ told me: ‘There’s a civil war coming, leftist. Memes are the least of your problems.’”
While Mr Sexton said that HanAssholeSolo had apologised and vowed not to post hateful rhetoric again, “there are thousands more like him — and they’re not sorry”.
Though not directly responsible, the Trump administration does little to prevent this kind of abuse.
Mr Sexton said: “There was obviously an uptick in hate and harassment following the election and what troubles me the most is that this administration does very little to speak against these forces that make up his base and are, instead, in this meme and in other situations as well, retweeting and giving a platform to these hateful voices.”