On 7 October 2016, the alt-right web site InfoWars published a race-baiting article claiming that supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement were planning a looting spree in the wake of Hurricane Matthew:
The extreme weather event is hours away from launching a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 siege on Florida’s east coast before stretching into Georgia and South Carolina, but some are more concerned about how they can hijack the chaos to commit criminal acts.
A quick Twitter search reveals dozens of messages posted by Americans living in or near the affected areas that brazenly talk about the opportunity for looting that the hurricane will provide.
An analysis of the Twitter accounts shows that many of them are sympathetic towards ‘Black Lives Matter’ — supporters of which have used BLM protests as an excuse to carry out mass looting in Ferguson, Baltimore and most recently Charlotte.
Some of the accounts also featured anti-Donald Trump posts as well tweets complaining about racism and “cultural appropriation”.
It goes without saying that these kind of tweets are an absolute disgrace — over a hundred people have already died in Haiti as a result of the hurricane — but they are par for the course when it comes to BLM supporters and leftists in general.
The article included a series of screenshots purportedly showing tweets from various people claiming that they were going to loot stores and homes after the Hurricane. Author Paul Joseph Watson claimed that an "analysis of the Twitter accounts" showed that these people were Black Lives Matter supporters who were also "anti-Trump":
It's unclear how much "analysis" (if any) InforWars actually undertook, however, as our investigation turned up quite a few discrepancies with their narrative. For instance, a look at "Toby Flenderson's" Twitter account shows tweets indicating that he is both white and a Trump supporter:
InfoWars purposefully selected inflammatory messages that included avatars of black people (or people who looked black) in order to support their claim that "BLM supporters were planning to loot" after the hurricane. However, our search of Twitter uncovered multiple white people who made similar jokes or threats:
These messages, of course, were omitted from the InfoWars piece as not supportive of the clickbait tale they wish to spread.
It should be noted that the people featured in these screenshots are not necessarily planning to loot after the hurricane — most of these tweets were likely posted in jest.
Furthermore, none of the aforementioned Twitter accounts speaks for all members of the Black Lives Matter movement (or all Trump supporters), nor has #BLM announced any organized looting plan.
Originally published: 07 October 2016