New HBO Documentary shares misleading image of Rep. Matt Gaetz

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Tuesday, August 4
Contact: Cory Fischer
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New HBO Documentary shares misleading image of Rep. Matt Gaetz

HBO’s new documentary ‘The Swamp’ leaves out crucial details about Rep. Gaetz’ track record of manufacturing fear through antisemitism and dangerous conspiracy theories

 

WASHINGTON – In response to HBO’s new documentary featuring Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Bend the Arc: Jewish Action released the following timeline of Gaetz’ long history of engaging in antisemitic and racist thetoric and conspiracy theories to suit his political ends and enable President Trump’s cruelty and bigotry:

On January 30, 2018, Gaetz brought Charles Johnson, a Holocaust denier, as his guest to the State of the Union address. In addition to being a Holocaust denier, Johnson was banned from Twitter after asking someone to help him “take out’” a Black Lives Matter activist.

On October 17, 2018, Gaetz posted a video on Twitter of someone supposedly handing cash to migrants to “storm the US border,” and suggested that Jewish billionaire George Soros was behind it. This was the same antisemitic conspiracy theory that, ten days later, motivated a white nationalist to commit the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history.

In April of 2019, Gaetz hired Darren Beattie to be one of his speechwriters. Beattie formerly worked at the White House but was fired after news broke that he spoke at a white nationalist conference frequented by extremists like Richard Spencer. Beattie is the subject of a new report from Political Research Associates about white nationalism.

On March 20, 2020, in response to the news that Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Jewish lawmaker in Florida, asked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to issue a stay-at-home order to defend against coronavirus, Gaetz tweeted “Apparently the last chapter of the Globalization Book is...house arrest.” When called out for the antisemitic overtones of his tweet, Gaetz replied by writing “I’m obviously attacking China,” trying to defend himself from the accusation of antisemitism by resorting to anti-Asian racism. Scapegoating Chinese people for the coronavirus pandemic led to a sharp rise in anti-Asian racism worldwide over the Spring of 2020.

In the spring of 2020, Gaetz endorsed Marjorie Taylor Greene for U.S. Congress. Greene is a QAnon believer, is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch database, and has come under fire for posing for photos with — and refusing to disavow — former KKK leader Chester Doles.

On July 11, 2020, Gaetz said on Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine: “There’s an attempted cultural genocide going on in America right now and it calls for patriots to stand up and say this is a great country, it is worthy of our pride and our defense. The left wants us to be ashamed of America so that they can replace America.” This came two weeks after Gaetz claimed that the Black Lives Matter movement “is about making us hate America so we can replace America. Because as long as we love her, we will not allow someone to replace her.” Both of Gaetz’s statements allude to Replacement Theory, a white supremacist conspiracy that alleges non-white people are coming into the United States to replace existing white populations, causing “white genocide.” For white supremacists, Jews are the supposed masterminds behind this imagined conspiracy. Multiple white supremacist shooters have cited Replacement Theory in their deadly manifestos and public comments, from Pittsburgh to Poway, El Paso, Christchurch, and Halle. 

For more examples of white nationalist rhetoric spread by Gaetz, Trump, and his GOP enablers, visit HowToFightAntisemitism.com — a resource from Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and partners for organizers, the media, and the public, that tracks the spread of deadly antisemitism and conspiracies from far-right extremists and politicians.

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Bend the Arc: Jewish Action is uniting a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews across the country who are fighting for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on social change in the United States.

In 2020, Bend the Arc is building on its reputation as a leader of the Jewish resistance through  its We Rise As One campaign, mobilizing an unprecedented movement of Jews and allies to rise up in solidarity together to defeat white nationalism at the ballot box and hold its champions accountable.