A Washington state lawmaker aimed a barrage of insults including homophobic slurs at a news reporter in late August after the reporter published a story pointing out posts she had shared from an anti-vaccine Facebook group that included misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inlander.com reported that state Rep. Jenny Graham (R) called a reporter’s personal cell phone, then unleashed a tirade against him after the reporter called back after seeing the missed call.
“You c———! You c———!” she told reporter Daniel Walters when he called, before quickly hanging up.
“Daniel, you lying piece of shit,” Graham continued on a voicemail, a recording of which Inlander published. “You’ve done it. You have started it. Don’t you ever call me again. Do you understand? Don’t you ever … and you tell your buddies not to call me either. It’s on. If you think for one minute you’re going to pull this crap and you’re going to walk away from it, you’re nuts.”
Graham did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill on her remarks. Screenshots of now-deleted Facebook posts made by Graham revealed that she posted an article claiming that hundreds of thousands of children are being kept in sex dungeons while mainstream media outlets allegedly “protect pedophiles.”
The site to which Graham linked is known for spreading wild conspiracy theories about reptilian aliens and the COVID-19 pandemic, including baseless accusations that COVID-19 was a manufactured virus created in a Chinese lab. Graham reportedly expressed no regret when asked about linking to the site, but added that she did not follow its wilder claims.
In later Facebook post screenshots obtained by Inlander, Graham would accuse Walters publicly of believing that “abductions don’t happen” and “sacrificing real victims” of human trafficking, thought Walters made no such claims in his own writing.
She also incorrectly accused him of writing that she had pushed hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19, referring to his reporting that she had been among the right-leaning figures who had posted a video containing a controversial conspiracy theorist, Stella Immanuel, who has pushed misinformation about the pandemic.
Videos featuring Immanuel were taken down by Facebook fact-checkers due to Immanuel’s claims that masks are not effective for stopping the spread of coronavirus.
Numerous right-leaning figures including President Trump have shared videos and posts containing misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic in recent months. In late August, Twitter moved to take down a tweet from the president that contained a video falsely claiming that the U.S. COVID-19 death toll was actually closer to 9,000 people.
Originally published: 2020-09-15 12:08:44