Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, shared a link on Sunday to an article containing false claims about the attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Early Friday morning, Paul Pelosi was attacked inside his San Francisco home by a man with a hammer, police said. The suspect has been identified as David DePape, 42, who reportedly asked, "Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?" once he got inside the house. During the attack, Paul Pelosi suffered a skull fracture and injuries to his hands and right arm; he underwent surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
Hillary Clinton tweeted on Saturday that by spreading "hate and deranged conspiracy theories," Republicans are emboldening people to attack politicians and their loved ones. Musk responded on Sunday, replying, "There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye." He included a link to an article from a website called the Santa Monica Observer, which baselessly claimed the suspect was a prostitute. The link was later deleted.
Brooke Jenkins, the San Francisco district attorney, told The New York Times on Sunday she has not seen any evidence to support the idea that the suspect and Paul Pelosi knew each other.
The Los Angeles Times wrote about the Santa Monica Observer in 2021, describing it as "notorious for publishing fake news." It has published claims that a Clinton body double debated Donald Trump in 2016, sunlight cures COVID-19, and during his presidency, Trump appointed Kanye West to a role in the Interior Department.
Anita Chabria, an opinion columnist at the Los Angeles Times, called Musk out on Sunday for spreading the "vicious and false conspiracy theory to his 112 million followers on his new toy, Twitter." The claim was "ugly, anti-LGBTQ garbage," Chabria stated, adding that "when the rich, powerful, and influential become peddlers of anti-democratic ammunition, they become dangerous to democracy. Musk, in a note to advertisers last week, wrote, 'Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences.' But then he made it just that. If we don't hold Musk and others like him accountable now, we may not have the chance."