An openly gay state senator in California has come under attack from apparent QAnon trolls, receiving a deluge of death threats and homophobic and anti-semitic messages, after he introduced a pro-LGBT bill that’s been falsely portrayed as an effort to protect pedophiles.
The bill from Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is designed to prevent gay and bisexual teens from being treated unfairly in the criminal justice system. It would give judges the discretion to not place gay and bi teens on the sex-offender registry under certain circumstances — such as a 19-year-old having sex with a 17-year-old — if they are technically guilty of statutory rape. Currently, judges have that discretion when it comes to vaginal intercourse, but not for digital penetration, anal sex or oral sex.
According to Mother Jones, Wiener has received thousands of harassing messages related to the bill, mostly on Instagram, since last Friday. “The comments are gross,” Wiener said. “There’s a ton of them. They’re much, much nastier than what I’ve received before.”
One Instagram user wrote to Wiener: “You’re dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. I’ll publicly execute you. I’m gonna embarrass you. Pedophile.”
“I’ll come cut your head off and deliver it to your mom if you even considering introducing your ‘bill.’ Got it?” another wrote.
More from Mother Jones: The specific sources inciting harassment against Sen. Wiener are mostly unclear, but the patterns and characteristics of the harassment indicate that it’s being driven by conspiracists, including supporters of QAnon, the sprawling theory that holds that a cabal of liberal elites has been running a massive pedophile ring that Donald Trump is working to take down. … Sen. Wiener thinks it’s a serious problem that the technology companies have given conspiracy theorists and anyone willing to abuse their platforms a weapon, particularly when it is targeted to influence democracy. “Whether its QAnon or Russian troll farms, these are factories of false info designed to undermine democracy and public discourse. And also to send a message to elected officials that if you pursue unpopular progressive change to help marginalized groups like queer kids, ‘We’re going to target you,’” he said.
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