Charles C. Johnson

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Charles C. Johnson
Born Charles Carlisle Johnson
(1988-10-22) October 22, 1988 (age 30)
Milton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Claremont McKenna College
Occupation author
Years active 2013 – present
Website GotNews
Personal website

Charles Carlisle Johnson (born October 22, 1988)[1] is the owner of the websites GotNews.com and WeSearchr.com. He has written two books.[2] Johnson is frequently described as an internet troll.[3][4][5][6]

Education

Johnson graduated from Milton Academy in 2006. He then attended Claremont McKenna College, graduating in 2010.[7][self-published source] During his college years he was awarded the Eric Breindel Collegiate Journalism Award and the Publius Fellowship at the Claremont Institute.[8][9]

Controversies

Bob Menendez

Johnson was involved in the creation of a Daily Caller story that accused U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) of soliciting underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.[10] A criminal investigation of the case found no evidence, and the women making the allegations later admitted they had been paid by a local lawyer to make the claims.[11][12]

Cory Booker

On October 14, 2013, Johnson published an article on The Daily Caller claiming that Newark mayor and senatorial candidate Cory Booker never lived in Newark, citing neighbors of Booker's alleged address as evidence.[13] Booker's campaign provided a reporter from Buzzfeed with rental checks and other documents for the address going back several years, and Booker's communication director dismissed Johnson's allegations as "laughable". According to Booker's campaign he lived there from late 2006 to shortly before he was elected Senator in 2013. Johnson stands by his reporting, claiming that Booker may well have paid rent but did not live in Newark.[14][15]

David D. Kirkpatrick

In January 2014, Johnson published an article reporting that New York Times reporter David D. Kirkpatrick was arrested for exhibitionism and posing for Playgirl.[16] Johnson's source for the Playgirl claim was a January 22, 1990, article in The Daily Princetonian, which was later revealed to be satirical.[17] Johnson apologized to Kirkpatrick.

2014 Mississippi Republican primary election

On June 30, 2014, Johnson published a story on GotNews accusing Mississippi senator Thad Cochran of bribing African-Americans to vote for him in the Mississippi Senate Republican primary.[18] The story came days after Cochran had defeated Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in a run-off election. Johnson claimed that a Black pastor named Stevie Fielder had told him he was paid by Cochran's campaign to bribe Black Democrats into voting for Cochran. Johnson paid the pastor for his statements, a controversial practice sometimes known as "checkbook journalism".[18] Fielder later partially recanted his story, saying that he had been speaking hypothetically, that he had turned down the offer, and that Johnson's recording of his interview had been selectively edited, a claim Johnson denies.[19]

During the election, Johnson also accused the Cochran campaign of being responsible for Mississippi Tea Party leader Mark Mayfield's suicide and encouraged his Twitter followers to flood a Cochran campaign conference call.[18][20]

Ferguson

During the Ferguson unrest, Johnson published the Instagram account of shooting victim Michael Brown and stated that the account "shows a violent streak that may help explain what led to a violent confrontation with Police officer Darren Wilson".[21] Johnson also filed a lawsuit to have Brown's juvenile records released. In Brown's home state of Missouri, the records of minors are private, but Johnson argued that the matter was of pressing public interest under the state's sunshine law. The county court disagreed.[22] Further appeal attempts by Johnson to unseal the records went as far as the State Supreme Court of Missouri, which denied his request.

In a separate incident during the unrest, Johnson published the addresses of two New York Times reporters, claiming that they published the known addresses of Darren Wilson.[23] The New York Times has said the reporters only revealed the street on which Wilson once lived.[23]

University of Virginia rape article

In December 2014, Rolling Stone columnist Sabrina Erdely published an article entitled "A Rape on Campus" about the alleged gang rape of a University of Virginia (UVA) student named "Jackie" in 2012 at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at UVA. The article was later found to be fabricated.[23] Johnson publicly identified a woman he thought was Jackie,[24] which has since been proven to be false.[6]

Banning from Twitter

On May 24, 2015, Johnson sent a tweet asking his followers for donations to help him "take out" Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson. McKesson shared the tweet and took the tweet as a threat. Johnson was permanently banned from Twitter after several users reported him for harassment.[3]

Katie Walsh

In February 2017, Johnson's website GotNews.com claimed that deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh was “the source behind a bunch of leaks” in the White House without offering any concrete evidence.[25]

Charlottesville Rally

In August 2017, Johnson's website GotNews falsely accused a Michigan man of being responsible for the car attack on 12 August 2017 that killed and injured anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.[26] The Michigan man was subsequently harassed, and had to make his Facebook page private.[26] Together with his father, the Michigan man has filed a large defamation lawsuit against twenty-two corporate and individual defendants, including Johnson.[27]

Trump campaign WikiLeaks liaison

In September 2016, Johnson published a story on GotNews about a soon-to-launch anti-Trump website called PutinTrump.org.[28] WikiLeaks forwarded the story in private to Donald Trump Jr. before publicly tweeting it. Business Insider speculated that Johnson's story in September on GotNews may have marked the beginning of Donald Trump Jr.'s—and the Trump campaign's—back-channel contact with Julian Assange and Wikileaks. (Johnson wrote after Wikileaks tweeted the story, "About 2 hours after our original article, Julian Assange's WikiLeaks repeated our discoveries. Guess which big leaks organization reads GotNews & WeSearchr on the downlow! Come on Julian, let's work together. WikiLeaks & WeSearchr is a match made in heaven. We can take down Hillary together.")[29] In August 2017, Johnson brokered and attended a meeting in London between GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Julian Assange to discuss a presidential pardon for Assange.[30]

Fraudulent sexual harassment claim against Senator Charles Schumer

On December 11, 2017 Johnson wrote on his Facebook page, “Michael Cernovich & I are going to end the career of a U.S. Senator.” Johnson claimed to have uncovered a sexual harassment lawsuit against Senator Charles Schumer. The lawsuit, however, turned out to be a forgery. Moreover, language in the forged lawsuit was copied verbatim from a real sexual-harassment complaint filed against Rep. John Conyers. Schumer referred the matter to Capitol police for investigation.[31][32]

Denunciation by Anti-Defamation League

Johnson attended President Donald Trump's 2018 State of the Union Address as a guest of Rep. Matthew Gaetz of Florida. In a letter to Gaetz, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League urged Gaetz to "discontinue any association with Johnson and to publicly repudiate his views immediately." The letter noted that Johnson's website WeSearchr raised more than $150,000 for the legal defense of neo-Nazi propagandist Andrew Anglin and that Johnson has written that he agrees with notorious Holocaust denier David Cole "about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real."[33][34]

Gawker lawsuit

In June 2015, Johnson sued Gawker for defamation in Missouri for $66 million for Gawker's publication of rumours that Johnson defecated on the floor while a student at Claremont McKenna College, and filed a similar suit in California in December.[35] In January 2016, the Missouri suit was dismissed.[36]

Founding of WeSearchr

In 2015, Johnson created a crowd-funding website called WeSearchr. The site has become a fundraising platform for alt-right causes, though Johnson says that was not his intention. Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, founder of The Daily Stormer, used the website to raise money to defend himself against a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of a woman trolled by followers of Anglin.[37]

References

  1. "Charles Johnson Threatens To Sue Man Who Called Him A Child Molester". The Daily Caller. 2014-09-04. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. https://www.encounterbooks.com/authors/charles-c-johnson/
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hess, Amanda (2015-05-28). "Chuck C. Johnson suspended from Twitter: Why?". Slate.com. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Christian Dem in NC (2015-05-25). "Charles C. Johnson gets booted off Twitter for wanting to "take out" Deray McKesson". Dailykos.com. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Wicentowski, Danny (2015-06-08). "St. Louis Lawyer Fighting to Reinstate Troll King Charles Johnson on Twitter | News Blog | St. Louis News and Events". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mac, Ryan (2017-01-09). "A Troll Outside Trump Tower Is Helping To Pick Your Next Government". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2017-01-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Charles Johnson". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Eric Breindel Collegiate Journalism Award - American Media Institute". American Media Institute. 2012-04-27. Archived from the original on 2017-05-20. Retrieved 2017-05-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Publius Alumni". The Claremont Institute. Archived from the original on 2014-08-20. Retrieved 2017-05-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Women: Sen. Bob Menendez paid us for sex in the Dominican Republic". The Daily Caller. 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Bump, Philip (March 8, 2013). "Daily Caller's Prostitution 'Scoop' Was So Thin Even the "New York Post" Passed". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Lazo, Luz (March 18, 2013). "Dominican police: 3 women paid to make false claims about Menendez". "Washington Post". Retrieved March 19, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Charles C. JohnsonContributor (2013-10-14). "Neighbors: Cory Booker never lived in Newark". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Cramer, Ruby (October 14, 2013). "Cory Booker: Yes, I Live In Newark". Buzzfeed. Retrieved June 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Weigel, David (2013-10-15). "Birther director claims Cory Booker does not live in Newark". Slate.com. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Charles C. JohnsonContributor. "Benghazi reporter Kirkpatrick went nude constantly". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Weigel, David (2014-01-06). "Daily Caller's Charles C. Johnson cites 24-year-old fake Princeton newspaper to attack the David D. Kirkpatrick, the New York Times' Benghazi reporter". Slate.com. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Politics (2014-07-11). "Charles Johnson And The Mississippi Senate Race". Business Insider. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Pender, Geoff (July 11, 2014). "Meridian man dials back vote-buying claim". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved September 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Cogan, Marin (June 16, 2015). "Ugly: The aftershocks of a tea-party suicide". New York Magazine. Retrieved September 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Wilstein, Matt (September 5, 2014). "Conservative Blogger Tries to Prove 'Violent Streak' with Michael Brown's Photos". Mediaite. Retrieved September 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Zara, Christopher (August 28, 2014). "Mike Brown Juvenile Record? Lawsuit Seeks Alleged Arrest History Of Slain Missouri Teen". International Business Times. Retrieved September 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/business/media/sowing-mayhem-one-click-at-a-time.html
  24. Howell, Patrick (2014-12-07). "Journalist publishes alleged name and photo of UVA rape victim". Dailydot.com. Retrieved 2015-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "How Trump gets his fake news". POLITICO. Retrieved 2017-05-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. 26.0 26.1 Collins, Ben (2017-08-13). "Alt-Right Media Framed Wrong Person in Car Attack, Labeled Him 'Anti-Trump Druggie'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2017-08-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/CharlottesvilleGotNews.pdf
  28. Johnson, Charles C. (September 21, 2016) "BREAKING: George Soros-Tied Group Launching Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theory Website." GotNews. (Retrieved November 12, 2017.)
  29. Bertrand, Natasha (November 15, 2017) "A notorious far-right blogger may have provoked WikiLeaks' outreach to Donald Trump Jr." Business Insider. (Retrieved November 11, 2017.)
  30. Mai-Duc, Christine (August 17, 2017) "Rohrabacher on meeting with WikiLeaks’ Assange: We talked about 'what might be necessary to get him out.'" Los Angeles Times. (Retrieved November 16, 2017.)
  31. Sullivan, Eileen (December 13, 2017) “Schumer Files Police Report After Fraudulent Document Emerges.” New York Times. (Retrieved March 6, 2018.)
  32. Weill, Kelly (December 13, 2017) “Alt-Right Hyped Sexual Harassment Hoax to Attach Schumer.” The Daily Beast. (Retrieved March 6, 2018.)
  33. Greenblatt, Jonathan A. (February 1, 2018) "ADL Letter to Congressman Matthew Gaetz Regarding Charles Johnson." Anti-Defamation League.org. (Retrieved March 2, 2018.)
  34. Delk, Josh (January 31, 2018). "GOP rep invited alt-right activist to the State of the Union". The Hill. Retrieved 2018-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Sola, Katie (June 19, 2015). "Conservative Blogger Sues Gawker For $66 Million Over Public Pooping Rumors". Huffington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. Patrick, Robert (January 15, 2016). "Blogger's defamation lawsuit tossed out — of Missouri". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Castillo, Michelle (June 24, 2017) “The far right uses this site to fund its favorite causes—and its founder hopes to build a 'very profitable business.’” CNBC.com. (Retrieved 11 November 2017.)

External links