Andy Ngo: “the number of alleged hate attacks ballooned through uncorroborated and vague online rumors”
Independent journalist and Quillette editor Andy Ngo, whose work you may recall from Mary’s post in which she shares Ngo’s documentation of hate crime hoaxes perpetrated by the left, has published an article about “the suspicious rise of gay hate crimes in Portland.”
The article provides a detailed and seemingly well-documented review of the shocking rise in alleged hate crimes in Portland, Oregon. Ngo notes some troubling issues like the fact that few of these hate crimes can be found in police reports and that there is some sort of vigilante LGBT group forming online to combat the supposed anti-LGBT hate crime spree.
Last month, Sophia Gabrielle Stanford was at the center of a fundraising campaign. The GoFundMe page described the trans activist as a victim of a “brutal and aggressively blatant hate crime” in which assailants had beaten her unconscious with a bat in southeast Portland.
The campaign and shocking story went viral. However, the police reports raise questions about what happened that night.
. . . . The case was investigated by the bias-crimes unit but was suspended due to the lack of tangible leads. Although it is impossible to know what exactly happened, nothing in the police reports indicate that Stanford told police she was attacked with a bat by multiple assailants in a hate crime.
The next day, however, the sensational and detailed story emerged in the fundraising appeal. Over $10,000 was raised.
Sophia Stanford blocked me across several social media accounts after I sent a request for comment.
In progressive Portland where the “#Resistance” is mainstream, stories like Stanford’s feed into a whisper campaign of violent homophobes, transphobes and racists lurking on every corner. A moral panic had now been ignited.
Within days, the number of alleged hate attacks ballooned through uncorroborated and vague online rumors. These stories were then amplified by progressive media, nonprofit groups, businesses and politicians. Activists, driven by their own personal grievances, then launched a crusade to find the phantom suspects, doxing and targeting innocent people in the process.
From there, Ngo recounts numerous examples of unsubstantiated hate crimes against various members of the LGBT community in Portland and details how these rumors became amplified on social media, including by people who admitted they were just passing on rumors and irresponsibly implicating anti-antifa Proud Boys members in crimes as serious as murder.
The city was in a panic, and it focused its energy on one main antagonist: the Proud Boys, a right-wing, pro-Trump fraternity and drinking club. They were blamed for the indiscriminate violence.
The group has infamously been involved in bloody street brawls against Antifa. Members of the group are currently facing charges for a 2018 fight in the Portland area.
“These are the faces of the attackers that have been terrorizing the queer/trans community lately. If you see any of these faces in public, hit them with a brick, because the police don’t do anything to stop it,” read one widely shared post on Instagram. It included a group photo of the men and names.
As the number of shares and retweets increased on this post and similar posts, so too did the number of alleged attacks. What started off as two stories of hate crimes grew to 15. The claims grew wilder. The Proud Boys were accused of now using hammers and wooden planks as weapons. Also alleged: an attempted kidnapping.
“Red pickup with a black cover and 3 white guys hollering at a woman I know outside a gay bar and while she walked home one got out and pulled her in by her collar,” wrote user “Siggitrue” on the Portland subreddit.
The user told me the alleged robbery and kidnapping was reported to cops, but Portland police said it did not receive any report matching this description. When I followed up with “Siggitrue,” the user said that they were unwilling to reveal the woman’s identity out of fear for her safety and wrote: “I’m also not obligated to provide you with any information, so the trail ends here.”
Most social media users who shared stories refused to comment. Others admitted to repeating uncorroborated rumors. Andrew Lucht, a Portland resident who wrote a viral Facebook post releasing names and photos of accused attackers, told me he was not a witness to any attacks and did not know any of the victims. His post had accused the Proud Boys of being involved in murders.
“I’m surprised the post took off the way it did,” Lucht told me. “I heard all of this initially from a friend who was very upset.” That friend is neither a witness or victim, he said. “I believe I heard [about a] murder in one of their messages, but in hindsight, I could be wrong.” Lucht took down his viral post after one of the accused men threatened legal action for libel.
According to Ngo, even Portland’s mayor got in on the rumor mongering and alarmism.
Who contributed to the panic? @lyft. @portlandmercury. @lgbtqnation. @gaystarnews. Who else? Mayor @tedwheeler. His communications office ignored my repeated inquiries & his comm dir @eileenparkpdx hid behind security when I approached her for comment. https://t.co/UxkmKYxYEC pic.twitter.com/EGX6oo0MeO
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) March 30, 2019
Rumors of attacks did not circulate only among radical-activist networks. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler amplified the rumors on Twitter. So too did the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, which blamed “right-wing agitators” for the attacks. Car-ride company Lyft shared an advertisement aimed at Portland’s LGBT community. It repeated the rumors and offered a ride credit to encourage business. Activists organized a “safety day” training event featuring a workshop called “Local Fash 101” where attendees were taught how to spot fascists.
The Portland Mercury published multiple stories and printed a claim from a woman who alleged via email that she was the victim of a brutal gay bashing in downtown Portland. (The article does not cite any records and I could find no corroborating evidence that this happened as described.)
When I asked reporter Blair Stenvick what steps she took to independently verify that allegation, she said: “I’m not interested in discussing this with you.” Portland Mercury’s news editor, Alex Zielinski, also declined to comment on my inquiry. The paper’s reports were widely shared and used to legitimize the panic.
Those who spread the rumors were cheered for bringing “awareness” to LGBT issues. Lost in all this was any concern for the people victimized in the process.
Perhaps even more alarming than all of this—if that can be imagined—is the formation of an “extrajudicial” body comprised of members of Portland’s LGBT community. This group is targeting people, doxxing them, and posting fliers with their faces on them all over Portland.
Activists started sharing "attack alerts" & distributing flyers around Portland w/photos & names of people they blamed. Number of alleged hate attacks grew from 2 to 15. Portland was now in a moral panic about marauding right-wing gangs hunting LGBT. https://t.co/UxkmKYxYEC pic.twitter.com/sAweS9ApZu
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) March 30, 2019
Again from Ngo (you really have to read the whole thing; it’s fantastic from beginning to end):
Jussie Smollett, who is suspected of orchestrating a racist homophobic attack on himself, making wild allegations of bias-motivated assault creates hysteria, mistrust and a breakdown of law and order.
Which is a fair description of what happened on Feb. 24 at an emergency “town hall” organized by the Q Center, an LGBT organization in Portland. Executive director Cameron Whitten explained that the severity of what the community was experiencing called for extrajudicial measures.
“We have not reached out to the Portland Police Bureau,” he told the crowd of 500 people who whooped and clapped. Alleged victims were encouraged to report anonymously online to activist organizations, according to fliers handed out at the door. Portland United Against Hate is one such organization. The group did not respond when I asked what mechanisms it has in place to vet and verify anonymous online reports.
Whitten said at the town hall that there had been 10 attacks but in an interview with me admitted that he had only spoken directly with one alleged victim. That individual told him of a negative experience with police rather than experiencing a hate crime. The other person he spoke to was an “advocate” of Sophia Stanford whom he declined to name.
Outside of the initial allegation by Stanford, none of the purported incidents of beatings, killings or kidnapping were — I confirmed with Portland police — reported to authorities.
Ngo’s Twitter feed is overflowing with responses to this report.
This is a brilliant price of journalism. Andy Ngo has used classic techniques of solid, shoe-leather journalism to lay bare aspects of an hysterical witch hunt atmosphere. I’d nominate this for a Pulitzer. This is the kind of reporting we need more of nowadays. https://t.co/BfMkouOTMQ
— Bruce Hill (@BruceHillMelb) March 31, 2019
"Did these crimes really happen? Wilfred Reilly… author of the book “Hate Crime Hoax,” says the non-reporting and cinematic narrative are indications they might not have." New in @nypost from @MrAndyNgo, about troubling recent trend in PDX https://t.co/JL7le0DnvC
— Nancy Rommelmann (@NancyRomm) March 30, 2019
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) March 30, 2019
Needless to say, he’s also receiving a good number of vile, even violent, responses (many of which he’s sharing in his Twitter feed). Maybe it’s been so long since they saw investigative journalism they forgot what it looks like?
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