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Accused #MAGAbomber’s Twitter account was a smorgasbord of hate and violent threats. Twitter, what gives?

Accused #MAGAbomber Cesar Sayoc: Not shy about expressing his opinions (Pic adapted from photo posted to one of his now-deleted Twitter accounts.)

By David Futrelle

I spent some time this afternoon going through one of accused #MAGAbomber Cesar Sayoc’s apparent Twitter accounts, one specifically devoted to trolling and threatening his assorted political enemies, screenshotting and archiving what I could before Twitter took it down. He was a prolific tweeter. I got through two months of it.

If you’ve seen pictures of this his van — plastered not only with photos of his hero Donald Trump but also with photos of some of the very Democrats he allegedly targeted with bombs — you will not be shocked to learn that the Twitter account (which hasn’t been confirmed as his, as far as I know, but which looks plenty authentic to me) he devoted to attacking his political opponents was a smorgasbord of boomer memes, screenshots of articles from right-wing media like Breitbart and Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire and graphics from astroturfy right-wing student group Turning Point USA.  He posted memes vilifying financier and liberal donor George Sorosafter he allegedly sent Soros a bomb in the mail.

His recent feed was filled with memes and other graphics targeting Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida; indeed, Sayoc posted so obsessively about Gillum that I would be frankly surprised if he didn’t send a bomb to him alongside the targets that we know about so far.

And then there were the death threats. Lots of death threats, some of them quite gruesome. (Click on images to see archived versions of the tweets.)

Julus Cesar Milan ‏ @hardrockintlent Follow Follow @hardrockintlent More We Unconquered Seminole Tribe For see destiny of David Hoggs . See him very soon like many before him that mysteriously vanish silence no shots , gone

Julus Cesar Milan ‏ @hardrockintlent Follow Follow @hardrockintlent More Replying to @CNN Shut your hole Eric Criminal Holder that was responsible for our friend of Unconquered Seminole Tribe Brain Terry. Your threats BS we have a place for u and anyone wants to try stop us from enforcing justice once 4 all.We have nice Air Boat ride on our Swamp Everglades.See u soon

Here’s his response to a USA Today article about Elizabeth Warren; clearly this threat is aimed at her.

Julus Cesar Milan ‏ @hardrockintlent Follow Follow @hardrockintlent More Replying to @USATODAY So you like use our Brothers Tribe for your personal scam . One word death

This Tweet (which I wasn’t able to archive before the account went away) was directed at comedian Kathy Griffin, another regular target of right-wing hate mobs. (Characteristically, he spelled her name wrong in two different ways in the tweet itself.)

Julus Cesar Milan ‏ @hardrockintlent Sep 29 More Replying to @kathygriffin Proud of rip your ft American tax payers to pay Obama mother in law $250,000.00 for life . For what . Arrested Grand Larceny feel Proud Cathy Griffim your end coming a promise from we Unconquered Seminole Tribe you will just vanish

Alongside his liberal and Democratic targets, Sayoc also threatened people and publications on the right that he felt stood in the way of Trump’s agenda. This ominously worded threat was aimed at America Magazine, published by the Jesuits, after it ran an editorial opposing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Julus Cesar Milan ‏ @hardrockintlent Follow Follow @hardrockintlent More Replying to @americamag Hey American garbage magazine go screw yourself. We Unconquered Seminole Tribe, Seminoke Hard Rock ,Millions of our customers, Seminole American atop Team MMA confirmed period . We see into future for American Magazine very easy to enter your building. It coming your Nxt

He also aimed a series of sometimes gruesome death threats at Republican Senator Jeff Flake, reviled on the right for his occasional criticisms of Trump, and his family.

He accompanied these with exceedingly graphic photos of dead bodies and body parts partially eaten by alligators, suggesting that Flake’s dead body could easily be dropped off in the Florida swamps and never found, at least not in once piece. (He made similar insinuations about Holder.) Sayoc also suggested that Flake could be literally fed to a giant python.

Julus Cesar Milan ‏ @hardrockintlent Follow Follow @hardrockintlent More @JeffFlake hey piece garbage fake Republican that will be gone on 2 http://ways.You make threats we Unconquered Seminole Tribe will answer them and all.We will see u and Cheryl soon .We have real nice air Boat tour lined up for U.Not option way out.

Julus Cesar Milan‏ @hardrockintlent  More @JeffFlake We Unconquered Seminole Tribe see you real soon U Jeff Flake,Cheryl and family.

Julus Cesar Milan ‏ @hardrockintlent Follow Follow @hardrockintlent More @JeffFlake welcome Flake to our world Unconquered Seminole Tribe Swamp Everglades. We just released 5,700 of our human eaters Burmese Pythons into our Evergpades Swamp

I was only able to go through two months worth of Sayoc’s tweets before the account was shut down. The Daily Beast reports that he also directly threatened Soros, comedian and noted Trump-disliker Jim Carrey, and New York Times columnist Sarah Jeong, who was famously smeared by right-wing trolls as an “anti-white” bigot. Who knows how many more threats there were on this account?

But perhaps a more important question is why these threats, some of them nearly two months old, managed to stay up at all — and why an account that sent so many explicit death threats wasn’t itself suspended months ago? Many of these threats were sent directly to the threatened parties, and I find it hard to believe that none of them were reported to Twitter support.

Indeed, at least one person I’ve seen on Twitter — Democratic strategist Rochelle Ritchie — says that she reported the threats Sayoc sent her to Twitter support, and they did nothing.

Twitter, what the hell. You’re a huge company. You have the ability to shut down hate on your platform. You have simply chosen not to — by making excuses for high-profile violators of your hate and harassment rules and by not devoting the necessary resources to make sure that reports of abuse are handled quickly and competently.

There have been (last I checked) 736,914 comments posted on my blog right here  — not including those posted on its original incarnation on Blogspot. At one point I had moderators, now it’s just me. Yet somehow I manage to keep hate speech out of the comments. Yeah, there’s a lot more stuff posted on Twitter. But Twitter also has more than one employee.

Facebook has similarly failed to contain Sayoc’s hate. He was evidently the moderator of pages called Killgeorge Soros and Killall Socialist. The first has been taken down (you can see a screenshot here); the second is (at least at the moment) still up. Apparently Sayoc managed to sneak past whatever hate speech filters Facebook has by using the incredibly sophisticated technique of smooshing the word “kill” and the name “George” together.

Facebook has a current market cap of $420.75 billion. I think they could probably afford to spend a little bit of money to upgrade whatever needs to be upgraded to make sure no one can make Facebook pages that are themselves literal death threats.

Sending bombs through the mail is terrorism. But sending death threats is also a kind of terrorism. Twitter and Facebook aren’t common carriers like phone companies or internet service providers. They are social media companies. They restrict what appears on their platforms in all sorts of ways every minute of every day.

It shouldn’t take the arrest of a suspected mail-bomber, a would-be assassin of roughly a dozen top Democrats and media figures, to get Twitter to pull down an account that had been posting gruesome death threats for months. The Killgeorge Soros and Killall Socialist Facebook pages should never have been allowed up in the first place.

Get your acts together, social media companies. Lives are at stake.

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Moggie
Moggie
2 years ago

NPR report on the guy. According to his family, his claim to be Seminole is pure fantasy. The way his former lawyer describes him, he sounds unmoored from reality.

So, get ready for the right to dismiss any suggestion that Trump or others have any responsibility for radicalising him: “he’s just a crazy guy”, they’ll say.

Abe
Abe
2 years ago

@Moggie

Well they were most likely going to say that any ways

Fabe
Fabe
2 years ago

@Moggie

Well they were most likely going to say that any ways

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
2 years ago

I am happy that he is getting 50 years in prison. Not so much that because he’s coded white he gets to not have multiple lifetime sentences for targeting multiple politicians, some of which are persons of color. Also lol at fox news literally blurring out his trashy van full of their propaganda and Trump denying it all despite this literally being because of him and what he represents.

Shalimar
Shalimar
2 years ago

@Moggie

Sure. He’s clearly a crazy guy. Who liked to attend Trump rallies. Where there are literally hundreds more just as radical and unhinged. He was apparently a minor Trump-world celebrity because they thought his vicious rhetoric was funny. Trump-inspired violence is just beginning, because the whole movement lacks any morality.

reggie, the neighbour's cat
reggie, the neighbour's cat
2 years ago

@Moggie

Yep. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few who say he only had all the pro-Trump memes because Trump won the election, and if Hillary had won he’d have had pro-Hillary memes and instead would have targeted republicans with homemade nuclear missiles so really Trump made everything better because the guy only made crappy pipe bombs.

Catalpa
Catalpa
2 years ago

@Shalimar

Hey, don’t do that. It’s against the comments policy. Asshole is not a mental illness.

Bina
2 years ago

I do hope that the real Seminole Tribe can sue him for defamation. His repeated use of their name in his hate-spewage is a manner of defamation, because there are bound to be gullible souls out there who think he really is one of them, or really speaks for them, when in fact neither is the case. Just because he (currently) lives on Seminole land — or claims to — doesn’t make him one of them, any more than being born in a barn would make him a horse. He’s actually Filipino and originally from New York, as I understand. No sense permitting the good name of an indigenous people to be tarnished by association with this buffoon.

(On the other hand, all the usual Florida Man jokes apply, since unhealthy politics would appear to be more endemic in the water there than snakes and crocodiles. Plus, the place is a kook magnet if ever there was one.)

flexitarian haruspex
flexitarian haruspex
2 years ago

You know, I find it very bitterly funny that this guy went out of his way to try and do exactly the kind of violence that the right so blatantly craves, carrying on the whole time about exactly who and what inspired him – and he’s been thrown under the bus by the right. I think to a guy like this, the kind who wants to make a name for himself by being the next Timothy McVeigh or Ted Kaczynski, to be denounced by his own idols is probably something he expected – unlike him, they have to maintain a veneer of humanity to be electable.

But that he’s not denounced as a violent extremist but rather as a ‘false flag’ has to hurt. I hope it does. What a bastard.

Notorious DBT
Notorious DBT
2 years ago

NPR was reporting that his former attorney believes he is intellectually limited. He’s been living in his van for years. He has claimed Native American ancestry but his mother says that’s not true- she’s Italian and his father is Filipino.

I was disappointed to hear that he’s more than a right wing nut because Trumpians will be able to disavow more easily.

Gijoel
Gijoel
2 years ago

You know, whenever I see one of these stories about Twitter shitposters I can’t help but think of the climax of Forbidden Planet. If we ever make Star Trek replicators and hook them up to the internet we’re doomed. Spoilers for those who haven’t seen the film.

Bogdan Cvetkovic
Bogdan Cvetkovic
2 years ago

Wow. I never saw someone take shit tier memes that seriously. For God’s sake, at least get brainwashed by good propaganda.

Skylalalalalalala
Skylalalalalalala
2 years ago

@Bina I immediately had the same thought about the Seminole Tribe. Like Native Americans don’t get enough hatred aimed at them without this douchcanoe using their name like that. He probably doesn’t have much, but I hope they take him for everything he has.

Dr. Thang
Dr. Thang
2 years ago

@Shalimar

Just beginning? Oh, no, Trump inspired violence began a long time ago, even before he became the illegitimate popular vote losing participation medal president, his campaign caused a spike in hate crimes. This isn’t the beginning, just an inevitable escalation, and it will continue to get worse, because that’s how fascism works. Also, he’s not crazy, that’s just what the right will say to paint this as some unavoidable tragedy that can’t be blamed on anyone like they do with every mass shooting, this hateful scumbag was perfectly sane, Cheeto Benito and his fascist cult are responsible for this.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago

The Seminoles are right to be worried about this guy. Did the Seminoles ever operate something similar to the Scottish clan system ? As I understand it, families in Scotland not related to the chiefly house could (under certain circumstances) claim clan membership by being their tenants/working for them. The guy could be staking his spurious allegiance to the Seminoles this way, and if I were in their position, I’d certainly be considering looking for recompense for potential reputational damage.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
2 years ago

Help, his swollen muscles and the contorted way he often poses in his photographs remind me of that Chad meme

Shadowplay
2 years ago

Help, his swollen muscles and the contorted way he often poses in his photographs remind me of that Chad meme

He’s a roider

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
2 years ago

The obsessive repetition of “We Unconquered Seminole Tribe” just screams sovereign citizen.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago

Distressing news just picked up from the BBC, active shooter incident at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago

Latest report from Pittsburgh is that a suspect has surrendered to the police.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
2 years ago

@Kevin

All of these shootings have begun to blur together in my mind.
After Sandy Hook, I remember thinking to myself “This can’t get any worse, can it? The next thing that’ll happen will be a shooting at a church.”.

I was hoping I would be wrong, of course. Well, houses of worship have been the scene of two mass shootings since then: Dylan Roof’s, and then the one in rural Texas. And now there’s this one, at a synagogue.

It seems almost inevitable, these days. It no longer shocks me. I find it disturbing, how I’ve become somewhat desensitized to these events.

Moggie
Moggie
2 years ago

@Dormousing_it, don’t forget that the Kentucky Kroger shooter of a few days ago reportedly tried to get into a predominantly black church, but gave up because he couldn’t open the doors. It’s not definite that he wanted to shoot up the church, but that seems likely.

Moggie
Moggie
2 years ago

Now Trump has said that it would have been better if the synagogue had had guns.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago

@Moggie That man has an infinite capacity to cause embarrassment. I’ve been in places where churches routinely have armed guards. It’s not conducive to a prayerful frame of mind.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
2 years ago

Three police officers shot, but Trump claims an armed guard would’ve made a difference.

Whiny little goblin.

Moggie
Moggie
2 years ago

Shooter identified as Robert Bowers, 48 years old. He’s apparently an active Gab user and holocaust denier.

Moggie
Moggie
2 years ago

Not a Trump supporter, apparently, because Trump is controlled by Jews, or something.

Aleph
Aleph
2 years ago

Ah, so this is the only thing Gab is good for, hosting terrorists. If it was ISIS it’d have been banned long ago, but since it’s mostly whites it’s all about “muh free speechz” or something.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
2 years ago

I have friends who were in the area. They’re safe but ugh. Too mad to type well on my phone. More later.

Catalpa
Catalpa
2 years ago

@Dormousing_it

There was also a mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City in early 2017. North of the border from the States, but the fanatical hatred has been bubbling up here too.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
2 years ago

So yeah Trump’s gross comment about having armed guards inside. That really pisses me off, not just on a callousness level. Historically, relying on armed men of the “secular” Christian authorities for protection is… about as workable as asking a gang of convicted child rapists to guard a kindergarten class. That masculinity, that religion, that firepower, will turn against us so easily when the patriarchal Christian power structures wish it to.

I never, ever want to see armed men in a synagogue.

Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack

the only way any social media site will actually change is if there’s actual concequences for them hosting hateful content which i don’t see happening anytime soon, especially since laws are still catching up to technology.

Podkayne Lives
Podkayne Lives
2 years ago

@Kevin, The only thing I really know about the Seminole and non-Seminole is that a lot of escaped slaves running from Georgia and the Carolinas made their way into Spanish Florida in the 17 and 1800s, and a lot of them found refuge with the Seminole, and married in. Still a lot of people of mixed African and Seminole heritage. They raided the Georgia farms and plantations periodically, and of course “those are the guys who enslaved me/my dad/my grandma’ added a bit of ‘so eff them’ to the whole thing.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

@Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack

Exactly as I mentioned before on a couple other threads. These people are much too greedy to allow those precious hits to slip through their fingers, regardless of how criminally insane they might be. At this point the best solution is to have them charged as accomplices in propagating hate speech and worse and shut their websites down until they can learn that “free speech” doesn’t give you the right to be an utter asshole.

Totalitarian? Perhaps. But they’ve demonstrated too many times that they need to learn the hard way.

Katamount
Katamount
2 years ago

I really really reeeeaally wish the media would start connecting the views to the actions rather than just assuming that people can just internalize conspiracy theories that purport to threaten life and limb without acting accordingly.

While the majority may just “take him seriously, but not literally,” it just takes one to take Trump literally to commit violent acts against the cited enemy.

Kiwiwriter
Kiwiwriter
2 years ago

This series of Tweets by this guy is so upsetting.

And someone explain to me why Twitter didn’t notice that he was threatening people’s lives. Answer: they didn’t care.

We live in a nation where violence is the solution to all of our ills, it would seem.

As for releasing 5,700 Burmese Pythons in Florida…they should do well there, but they are not poisonous or particularly dangerous. Captive-bred Burmese Pythons make excellent pets, even growing 12 feet long.

An Albino Burmese Python named Bruno I knew grew just that long, and he was very popular at kids’ parties, because he was a very warm, tame snake, as long as you didn’t breathe in his face. Then he would sense the heat of the breath and think you were a passing rabbit and lunge for lunch. He ate a rabbit once a month and snoozed it off the rest of the month.

When Bruno entertained kids at parties, it was hilarious to see the kids surrounding Bruno at one side of the room, and the adults all terrified at the other side of the room.

But getting back to this guy…I hope he gets life. Properly.

Vaiyt
Vaiyt
2 years ago

Twitter bans people for reporting death threats. It’s very clear they want to preserve the radicalization chambers because it drives up engagement.

Marshmallow Stacey Maximal (formerly bluecat)
Marshmallow Stacey Maximal (formerly bluecat)
2 years ago

Kiwiwriter

Captive-bred Burmese Pythons make excellent pets, even growing 12 feet long.

I have fond memories of two Burmese Pythons – Monty and Cleo – that a friend kept. They were beauties – iirc Monty was about 9 feet long – and Cleo was trained to drape elegantly around his shoulders while he juggled.

Slightly alarming when I held her, as, apart from the feel of solid muscle, and the weight, I could feel her gently wrapping her tail around my waist and inserting the end into the belt-loops on my jeans…

Back to the present: I hope the Kroger guy, the pipe bomb guy and the synagogue mass murderer get not only the sentences they deserve, but maximum coverage of just how poisonous and unfounded their views are.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
2 years ago

@Kiwiwriter,

Actually this guy wouldn’t need to release 5,700 pythons into the Everglades as a threat. Someone already released a few there a few decades ago (presumably these were mostly pet owners who got tired of taking care of them who did this), and the things prospered. And since there’s nothing there outside of alligators willing to eat them, it’s turned into something of an ecological problem.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_pythons_in_Florida

So yeah, empty threat on the bomber’s part there.

Kiwiwriter
Kiwiwriter
2 years ago

@Marshmallow Stacey Maximal

Great story about your snakes. They are entertaining pets.

@Redsilkphoenix

Thanks for sharing that. You should never adopt a pet you cannot care for. Cute puppies, chicks, kittens, and fish turn into daily maintenance issues. Kids especially lose interest and patience with them very quick, usually after the first time they poop.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
2 years ago

@Kiwiwriter,

I first learned about this problem a few years ago via one of PBS’ programs (I’m wanting to say it was Nova, but it could’ve been Frontline or Nature instead), and it was an interesting show. They showed the extent of the python problem in Florida, plus the steps the humans were taking to counter this invasion, like hiring snake hunters to hunt down what they can.

Plus they also showed one of the local Humane Societies doing a pet amnesty thing, where the owners of exotic pets can turn them in when they get tired of taking care of them. The HS figured that was a better solution than releasing the animals into the wild where they don’t belong.

And a quick look-over for Florida Pythons on Google reveals the problem is more complex than originally thought. A DNA investigation of some of the snakes revealed that some of them have Indian python in them, giving them a wider range of territories they can live in. (The scientists were thinking the hybridization likely occurred before the first snakes were released.)

Looked at one way, it’s a fascinating story. Looked at another…poor Everglade critters. 🙁

Kiwiwriter
Kiwiwriter
2 years ago

If you have a pet snake you can’t handle, you should turn it in, not turn it loose, unless it’s the local domestic variety, as we did when I was a kid. We’d occasionally capture a snake, and my mother put him as an exhibit in our grade school’s science lab (which she ran) for the winter). In summer, we’d have to let him go, as nobody was in the school to care for the snake.

I learned over the years that captive-bred snakes do better in captivity than ones you find in the wild — less chance of disease, they’re used to the cage, and better with people. My Ball Python used to wrap himself around my eyeglasses and take a snooze. Now, Harley the Hog-nosed Snake wraps herself around the fingers of my hand, and just sits there, sniffing the air with her tongue, keeping warm. She gets a pinky once a week or once every two weeks, and spends most of her time curled up in various places in her cage, including behind the plastic wall, where the sun hits her in the morning. She sheds her skin perfectly twice a year, a complete reverse-suit. Funny little snake.