North Carolina state Sen. Dan Bishop has complained he is being “smeared” for his single donation to a social media platform increasingly home to white supremacists, including the alleged synagogue shooter in Pittsburg, according to the News & Observer.
> Republican Sen. Dan Bishop said he invested $500 in Gab, which billed itself as a free speech platform. It later became popular with white supremacists and Robert Bowers, the alleged killer of 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.
> “I made a $500 crowdfunding investment 14 months ago in a startup called Gab, which promoted itself as a new, unbiased social media platform,” he tweeted. “I don’t use Gab, but if its management allows its users to promote violence, anti-Semitism, and racism on the platform they have misled investors and they will be gone quickly, and rightfully so.
> “Why I’m being targeted and smeared by a British tabloid for a $500 investment in the final days of a campaign, I have no clue.”
The Daily Mail first reported Bishop’s investment on Tuesday, citing an August 2017 Facebook post by Bishop.
> “I’m about done with SF thought police tech giants’ Big Brother routine, and so ... I just invested in a free-speech social network startup mentioned in a Washington Post article today, Gab.ai,” he wrote. “Free markets are the answer to many kinds of tyranny.”
The post came just days after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of a counterprotester and involved some of the very neo-Nazi and far-right figures who found their way to Gab.
> The site was coming under fire after Charlottesville. Google barred the site from its Google Play Store.
> In a subsequent lawsuit against Google, Gab said it had 268,000 users a year after opening to the public in 2016. It billed itself as a free speech platform.
> Accused Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers posted on gab shortly before going to the synagogue, according to The New York Times.
Bishop’s opponent, Democrat Chad Stachowicz, called upon the Republican to disavow the website:
> “Our community deserves to know why Dan Bishop was funding a platform for hate speech,” said Chad Stachowisz, his Democratic opponent. “His investment helped spread white nationalist content, so we deserve to know if he holds these views. Dan Bishop should have known he was playing with fire.”