On 18 September 2018, a thread was started on the “pol” section of 4chan imageboard website asking users to dig up dirt on Christine Blasey Ford (a psychology professor at Palo Alto University who accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of having sexually assaulted her while they were in high school) in order to “prove (that) she is a liar” and to “save MAGA”:
4chan let’s use the Power of Autism to discredit Ford and prove she is a liar. Let’s search the web for every bit of true dirt we can find on this witch and post it here. GO!
The thread quickly filled up with unfounded accusations and derogatory and sexist comments. While some participants attempted to paint Ford as an alcoholic or a criminal, one user shared an image which purportedly showed Ford holding a “Not My President” sign at an anti-Trump rally. A few hours later, that image was turned into a meme and shared on the “Overpass for America” Facebook page in a post attempting to “introduce” their fans to Kavanaugh’s accuser:
The claim that the pictured woman is Christine Blasey Ford was made up out of whole cloth, however.
This photograph was taken on 12 November 2016 at a protest against President Trump in New York City by photographer Christopher Penler. The image is available on a variety of stock photograph websites, where it is consistently presented as an image of an anonymous woman with a “Not My President” sign. It wasn’t until Christine Blasey Ford came forward with an allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in September 2018 that the picture started circulating with Ford’s name attached to it.
We compared an image of Ford (right) with the woman in this meme (left) and found that other than both pictures’ showing blonde white women wearing sunglasses, they don’t have much resemblance:
Furthermore, the same user who posted the above-displayed photograph also posted a second picture in the same 4chan thread which supposedly showed Ford at another Trump protest. But the second photograph also featured an entirely different woman:
Life News used this “Facts Matter” image to illustrate their story about Christine Blasey Ford, despite the fact (facts do matter, after all) that the picture was actually one of a woman named Liz Darner taken at the March for Science in April 2017 and not a picture of Ford.
It appears that those who were attempting to smear Ford as some sort of unreliable partisan were simply searching for images of any woman at a Trump protest who bore a passing resemblance to Kavanaugh’s accuser. This same tactic — purposefully misidentifying a face in the crowd in order to apply a political ideology to a known individual — was employed by conspiracy theorists in October 2017 to falsely link the man who killed nearly 60 people at a concert in Las Vegas to the Democratic party.
Brown, Emma. “California Professor, Writer of Confidential Brett Kavanaugh Letter, Speaks Out About Her Allegation of Sexual Assault.”
The Washington Post. 16 September 2018.