If the above headline sounds twisted, it is.
Dean Browning, the former Lehigh County Commissioner who lost the GOP primary for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District, was ridiculed on Tuesday after going viral for tweeting something that Twitter users surmised could only have been meant for his fake trolling account.
Tweeted Browning: “I’m a gay black guy and I can personally say that Obama did nothing for me, my life only changed a little bit and it was for the worse. Everything is so much better under Trump though. I feel respected — which I never do when democrats are involved.”
The Christian conservative later clarified, tweeting: “Regarding the tweet that is going viral from my account — I was quoting a message that I received earlier this week from a follower. Sorry if context was not clear. Trump received record minority votes & record LGBTQ votes. Many people won’t say it vocally, but do in private.”
Twitter users cackled in disbelief:
But the story then got even more twisted.
Washington Post journalist Philip Bump did some investigating and found a black gay guy who replies to Browning quite a bit.
Tweeted (tweet since deleted) Bump: “You know who replies to Dean Browning a lot? ‘Dan Purdy,’ a gay black Trump supporter who joined Twitter in October.”
Dan Purdy’s Twitter count has since been deleted, but Twitter users picked up some evidence in the form of a slew of racist and misogynist tweets.
Is this your totally real black gay conservative follower? pic.twitter.com/XSxgGjjxlc— Don "Big Chooch" Moynihan (@donmoyn) November 10, 2020
Twitter users then immediately assumed that Dan Purdy was Dean Browning’s fake trolling account, until the real Dan Purdy came forward.
LoveBScott reports: “This is where things start to get weird. Dan Purdy is NOT failed GOP congressman Dean Browning, but is indeed a real person — and apparently he’s William Holte, aka Bly Holte, who was adopted by his aunt Patti LaBelle after his mom died in 1989. William/Bly’s Facebook page had the exact same profile picture as the Dan Purdy Twitter account, but Twitter has since suspended it. Another Twitter account that appeared to be owned by Byl Holte, @IncrediByl — was also suspended. Before the Dan Purdy Twitter account was taken down, a Black man who looks a lot like Patti’s son William Holte posted a video claiming he’s Dan Purdy — the owner of the account.”
Said the man purporting to be William Holte/Dan Purdy in a video, posted below: “I sent that message to Dean, Dean accidentally posted it somehow, that’s the end of the story. No, he’s not a sock puppet. No, I’m not a bot.”
LoveBScott adds: “According to Jon Hendren (better known as @fart on Twitter), ‘Dan Purdy’ was also the name listed on a suspended account that had a history of several other aliases — including ‘Pat Riarchy’ and ‘White Goodman.’ To sum it all up — Patti LaBelle’s adopted son is a major conservative Trump supporter who uses fake identities online to promote racist and sexist views along with the rest of the Republicans. Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any wilder…”