all press is good press?
A California congressional hopeful with designs on ousting one of President Trump's biggest critics in the House has been using a social media platform frequented by white supremacists to promote his campaign, ThinkProgress reports. Edwin Duterte, a Republican with no prior political experience, announced in August that he would challenge Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for her congressional seat.
Two months later, Duterte had created a paid account to promote his campaign on Gab, a social media platform whose logo bears a striking resemblance to the alt-right's beloved Pepe the Frog. Duterte has used the platform to ask users which policies he should advocate for and promote within his campaign, ThinkProgress notes, but he has also declined to specifically condemn objectionable stances.
When a Gab user mocked Duterte for saying he was accepting of all races, for example, the aspiring congressman replied, "This isn't some statement saying you should do this or you shouldn't do that. If you want to only be with people you identify with, go ahead. None of my business." ThinkProgress reports that Duterte has posted more than 200 times since mid-October.
When ThinkProgress reached Duterte about his use of Gab, he defended the platform and said that to attack Gab while ignoring that "terrible people" exist on other platforms is "fake news." "I am a firm believer in free speech and intend to communicate across all forms of media," he said. "Gab is a neutral and free platform. Anyone can sign up and hit 'compose.'"
In August, Gab was removed from the Google Play Store for violating Google's hate speech policy. Slate wrote of the platform in August that "if an anti-Semitic or racist or sexist remark isn't the first post you come across, it's likely the second, third, or fourth."