Two Georgia women are suing rightwing disinformation factory The Gateway Pundit and its founder, Stupidest Man on the Internet Jim Hoft, as well as his twin brother Joe, who also runs the site. The Hofts and their internet filthworks were key players in publicizing baseless accusations of election fraud against the women, Shaye Moss, who works for the Fulton County elections board, and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who took a part time job processing ballots during the 2020 election. The women were simply doing their jobs, but the Trump campaign claimed that snippets of surveillance video showed them mishandling votes, a claim that was quickly debunked by Georgia election officials. The Gateway Pundit identified the women on the video, and they quickly became the villains du jour in rightwing media pumping up the Big Lie that evil Democrats stoled the election.
Multiple Gateway Pundit stories accused Moss and Freeman of stealing the election from Donald Trump pretty much all by themselves, and both women were subjected to death threats, racial slurs, and harassment after Trump named them publicly and accused them of doing foul deeds. During Trump's infamous phone call begging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to please "find 11,780 votes" to make Trump win in Georgia, the former "president" mentioned Freeman and her daughter more than 18 times. Now they're suing the Hofts and Gateway Pundit, seeking compensation and punitive damages, "to be determined at trial."
The fuckery got rolling a month after the election, on Dec. 3, 2020, when Trump campaign attorney Jacki Pick gave a presentation to Georgia lawmakers that she claimed would show "shocking" proof of "fraud" in the vote count. Using selected bits of surveillance video from Atlanta's State Farm Arena, Pick claimed that the women could be seen pulling "suitcases" full of fraudulent ballots (of unknown origin!) out from under a table after vote counting had officially ended for the night and Republican poll observers had gone home. In reality, the "suitcases" were standard bins used by the elections bureau, and the ballots were legitimate absentee ballots that election workers had earlier placed in the bins, thinking they'd return to counting them in the morning; that was a miscommunication, and the vote tally continued through the night.
Georgia election officials said that the full video of the vote count showed election workers sealing away the ballots in the bins, which were later reopened by Moss and Freeman. And no matter how many times Trumpworld insisted media and observers had been forced to leave the arena so the dirty tricks could be perpetrated, Georgia's investigation found that nobody had been told to leave and that “there were no mystery ballots that were brought in from an unknown location and hidden under tables.” The tally was observed, Reuters reports, by "an independent monitor and a state investigator, according to state and county officials and a Reuters review of the surveillance video."
Even though everything was aboveboard, the accusations of fraud started spreading; Rudy Giuliani said the women were "crooks" who had "obviously" tabulated fake votes, and the story went all over rightwing media.
The Gateway Pundit's initial contribution to the furor was identifying Moss and her mother, weirdly casting Freeman, who was only working part time, as the chief villain, in typical Gateway Pundit headline breathless style: "What’s Up, Ruby? Crooked Operative Filmed Pulling Out Suitcases of Ballots in Georgia IS IDENTIFIED." The story also identified Freeman's part-time jewelry business, which she was soon forced to close.
Since then, the site has repeated the false claim, along with embellishments like claiming the "fake" ballots were scanned into tabulation machines over and over again to put Joe Biden's total over the victory margin. (You know, because Trump obviously won by a landslide in a heavily Democratic city with very high turnout by African American voters.) The site continued to repeat the lies, even in its story yesterday begging for donations to fight the lawsuit.
"Ruby Freeman and Daughter Sue Gateway Pundit for Posting Video of Her Shoving Ballots Through Voting Machines Numerous Times – PLEASE HELP US Fight This Latest Lawsuit"
Once the women were identified and named as enemies of the Great Man, it was time for the the death threats to get rolling, as Reuters reports.
As the Trump camp spread falsehoods about the two women, Freeman told police her phone wouldn’t stop ringing with menacing messages. By Dec. 4, she had received about “300 emails, 75 text messages, a large amount of phone calls and multiple Facebook posts,” according to a police incident report.
And people kept coming to her house, she told a 911 dispatcher on Dec. 6.
“Somebody was banging on my door, and now somebody is banging on the door again,” she said.
Every time Trump or Giuliani mentioned them, Freeman would get death threats, often involving racial slurs, and a parade of assholes showing up outside their homes, because her phone number and address had been helpfully posted all over social media.
Some Trump supporters publicly called for her and her daughter’s execution or hurled racial and misogynistic slurs at them on Facebook and other online forums.
“The coon c---s should be locked up for voter fraud!!!” wrote a Parler user. “She should be shot,” said a Facebook commenter under a Dec. 7 Gateway Pundit story. “YOU SHOULD BE HUNG OR SHOT FOR YOUR CRIMES,” wrote another Facebook commenter.
Another message, left on the cell phone of Moss's son, then 14, told the kid he "should hang alongside [his] n—-r momma,” according to the complaint. We bet that one was left by Antifa to make Trump supporters look bad.
At a December 10 hearing held by Georgia lawmakers, Giuliani helped spread even more fake claims, saying that beyond the supposed fake ballots, Freeman and Moss had also hacked into Georgia election computers, handing USB thumb drives back and forth
as if they’re vials of heroin and cocaine. I mean it’s obvious to anyone who is a criminal investigator or prosecutor, they’re engaged in surreptitious illegal activity.
Good thing he's not racist or anything. We would like to know more about how criminal investigators can tell that malware is on a thumb drive just by seeing it on surveillance video.
As Wonkette's Liz Dye writes at Above the Law,
As the complaint notes, the Hofts were perfectly well aware of the harassment that would befall these women after being publicly accused of election fraud, and their only concern was that the howler monkeys hit the right target.
“Note: Please do not confuse this with a similar business in Snellville!” they cautioned readers.
The harassment even included a crowd that gathered outside Freeman's home on the day of the January 6 riot, although by then she had fled to a safe location, and didn't come back home for two months.
Moss and Freeman are being represented by the nonprofit group Protect Democracy, which has previously sued the rightwing assholes at Project Veritas on behalf of that postmaster in Pennsylvania whom the group had falsely accused of changing postmark dates on late-arriving absentee ballots. An investigation found nothing of the sort had happened. Not surprisingly, the Gateway Pundit calls Protect Democracy a "large far-left group."
We wish Moss and Freeman and their attorneys all the luck! We know how hard it can be getting Jim Hoft to pay up, fucker.
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