Raise your hand if you were surprised to learn that Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) was an investor in Gab, the white supremacist social-media platform where Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers telegraphed his plans to commit mass murder.
Previously, Bishop’s greatest claim to fame was sponsoring HB 2, the North Carolina law hatched in special session in early 2016 that jeopardized the safety of transgender people by forcing them to use the bathroom opposite their gender. It was Bishop who initially picked a fight with the Charlotte City Council, when the governing body began considering an ordinance to protect transgender people.
From one abomination to another.
While Bishop didn’t have any problem dictating which bathroom North Carolinians used, he couldn’t abide by tech companies exercising discretion about the content they provide on their platform. An infringement on free speech and liberty!
It’s not as though Bishop was uninformed: The state lawmaker made his $500 investment in Gab soon after the Aug. 12, 2017 Unite the Right rally in reaction to learning about “a company refusing to host a neo-Nazi website, platforms like Paypal canceling accounts used to fund the Charlottesville rally, and Facebook banning organizers of the violent gathering, as well as a ‘Nazi-obsessed social media personality,’” according to a recent article by Billy Corriher for Facing South. After big players started suspending extremists’ accounts, Gab was happy to pick up the slack.
Bishop tweeted on Aug. 17, 2017: “So, I’m about done with SF thought police tech giants, and so… I just invested in a free-speech social network startup mentioned in a Washington Post article today, Gab.ai. Free markets are the answer to many kinds of tyranny.”
A day after the Pittsburgh massacre, Bishop was playing the victim rather than taking responsibility for the inevitable result of bankrolling hate.
“I made a $500 crowdfunding investment 14 months ago in a startup called Gab, which promoted itself as a new, unbiased social-media platform,” he wrote. “I don’t use Gab, but if its management allows its users to promote violence, anti-Semitism and racism on the platform, they certainly have misled investors and they will be gone quickly, and rightly so.”
Regretfully, after a weeklong suspension, Gab is back.