US mayors, senators deny KKK ties after being allegedly outed by Anonymous leak
Four US Senators and five mayors found their names sitting next to other KKK members when the list was leaked on Sunday, six days before the Anonymous group planned to start its “Operation KKK.”
Nevertheless, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry rushed to deny any connection to the white supremacist group. The politicians immediately took to Twitter and Facebook to distance themselves from the KKK, labeling the allegations as “completely false,”“garbage,” and “baseless.”
Mayor Jim Gray from Kentucky wrote on Twitter that he had “no idea where this information came from,” but regardless of its source, he said it was “wrong.”
Knoxville, Tennessee, Mayor Madeline Rogero said allegations of her having ties with the KKK were “ridiculous.” Rogero posted her opinion on Twitter and made a longer statement on Facebook.
“In short, I don’t think the KKK would want anything to do with me,” the mayor concluded, writing at length about her “background, my interracial family, my public record and my personal beliefs.”
Mayor Paul Fraim of Norfolk, Virginia, called “a report from Internet” a “hoax,” saying that he was “offended by any suggestion that I ever had anything to do with the KKK,” according to The Virginian-Pilot news.
The “accused” mayor Tom Henry of Fort Wayne, Indiana called the claims “irresponsible,” adding that there was no place for racism either in the city or his life.
Other officials who spoke out against the accusations after being named in the data dump included Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), and Dan Coats (R-Indiana).
For its part, Anonymous plans to start its #OpKKK on November 5 and has denied being involved in leaking the list, which contained 57 phone numbers and 23 email addresses of alleged Klan members.
Anonymous initially planned to kick off its own operation on November 24, the one-year anniversary of a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The hacktivist group later moved it to November 5 so that it would coincide with the worldwide Million Mask March.