Politics & Policy

Jacob Wohl’s Lying Hurts Real Victims

Jacob Wohl, an internet political activist and supporter of President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference in Arlington, Va., November 1, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/REUTERS)
Liberal or conservative, it’s important for all of us to unite and condemn Wohl’s actions.

Since-banned right-wing Twitter troll Jacob Wohl reportedly faked death threats against himself and reported them to the police — which is disgusting because it hurts real victims.

According to an article in The Daily Beast, Wohl and fellow since-banned troll Laura Loomer took a trip to Minneapolis last month to look for evidence of a weird, since-disproven theory that Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) married her brother.

Wohl’s videos of the trip were meant to send the message that Minneapolis was very dangerous, and often showed him wearing a bulletproof vest. In one of the videos, he goes to a police station to report death threats against him and his team.

One of these threats had come from a Twitter account with the handle “@Drakehomes612” — an account that has since been suspended, but at the time was described as having belonged to a local “diversity coordinator.”

“I hope you f***** know that if [I] bump into you in Dinkytown or anywhere else in my city I’m going shoot you and s*** on your f****** bodies,” the account stated in a direct message to Wohl’s team. “Get that f*** out of my city you piece of s***. Now.”

No doubt, receiving a message like that would be incredibly scary, and definitely something worth reporting to the police. There was just one problem: Wohl had apparently sent that message himself.

Yep. Journalist Tony Webster reported that @Drakehomes612 was actually not a “diversity coordinator,” as the account had claimed, but an entirely fake account created by Wohl himself. A source described as being “familiar with Wohl’s fake accounts” confirmed this fact to The Beast.

According to The Beast, “it’s not clear yet whether Wohl actually reported those fake threats to the Minneapolis police, or whether he just created the account to put the threats in the video later,” but a police report obtained by the news organization does describe Wohl bringing some printed tweets as evidence of the threats — it just doesn’t say exactly which ones.

I said it about Jussie Smollett, and I’ll say it again now: Faking any kind of violence — verbal or physical — against yourself just to get attention or clicks is not only pathetic, but it also hurts real victims. After all, racism and homophobia (which were apparently faked in the case of Smollett) and harassment of right-wing people for their political beliefs (which was apparently faked in the case of Wohl) are very real things. I’m libertarian, not right-wing, but I unfortunately have experienced some of this sort of harassment myself, presumably for my professional association with right-wing outlets. What’s more, I’m far from alone. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) and one of his neighbors, Representative Thomas A. Garrett Jr. (R., Va.), both received apparently politically motivated death threats last year. Oh, and let’s also not forget James T. Hodgkinson, who took things many steps further by attempting to assassinate Republican lawmakers as they practiced for the Congressional Baseball Game in 2017 — severely wounding Representative Steve Scalise (R., La.). If there are, God forbid, future victims of this kind of harassment or violence, what Wohl has done here has made people less likely to believe their stories. His self-serving lies have given people a reason to offer doubt rather than support in these situations.

In a climate where political harassment is a real problem, the actions of Wohl have hurt real victims. Wohl should be prosecuted for this reason, as well as because he clearly wasted the valuable time of Minneapolis law enforcement. Liberal or conservative, it’s important for all of us to unite and condemn Wohl’s actions. That way, the next time some idiotic narcissist is tempted to fake an attack for attention, maybe he or she will decide against it and just post a selfie on Instagram like a normal person instead.

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