Racist meme posted by hacker on Facebook, Delta Republicans say
An overtly racist Internet meme — comparing President Barack Obama to 1950s movie chimpanzee Bonzo — that appeared to be shared on the personal Facebook page of the chairwoman of the Delta County Republican Central Committee was the result of hacking, committee members said last week.
The photo, allegedly posted to the Facebook timeline for committee chairwoman Linda Sorenson, shows former President Ronald Reagan bottle-feeding the chimp in a movie still. The accompanying text says, “I’ll be damned … Reagan used to babysit Obama.”
“This whole thing is a hoax. Someone got into the Facebook somehow,” said Vic Ullrey, vice chairman of the committee. “It was hacked and somebody got into it, definitely.”
When asked why Sorenson was the specific target of the alleged hacking — possibly a federal crime, if true — Ullrey said, “I have no idea,” later adding, “Just to damage the Republican Party, no doubt. … Just to make us look bad,”
Sue Whittlesey, DCRCC treasurer, said, “That whole thing is bogus. Somebody hacked Linda Sorenson’s Facebook page, and posted that out there.”
“We believe it has something to do with (conservative-media watchdog) Media Matters. They’ve been harassing her the last few weeks,” Whittlesey said.
Sorenson herself, though, told a different story to Jason Salzman, who broke the story of the shared meme on his blog, Bigmedia.org, last week.
Sorenson told Salzman in a brief phone call that the post was a joke, and, “I really don’t care if people are offended by it.”
Sorenson didn’t return a call seeking to explain the discrepancy.
A post to Sorenson’s Twitter feed earlier in the week took a decidedly less aggressive racial tone: “@meetthepress stop the racist comments black vs. white. We’re Americans.”
When asked directly if Sorenson is a racist, Ullrey said, “Absolutely not.” When asked if he’s ever heard Sorenson say anything racist, he said, “Never.”
Ullrey said that Sorenson has been the chairwoman of the central committee for about four years. The organization is a collection of two members from each county precinct, and is mainly tasked with coordinating the activities of the Delta County Republican Party in advance of general elections.