Jonathan Choe, a veteran reporter for the ABC affiliateKOMO in Seattle, has claimed that he was fired for live tweeting a rally by the controversial Proud Boys group.
While covering the rally in Olympia earlier this month, Chloe said that he tweeted a photo montage with controversial music, drawing outrage from Twitter users, who allegedly accused him of “intentionally creating a propaganda video”.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Proud Boys an “extremist hate group, known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric”. Some of their members are now facing charges in relation to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol last year. “That is exactly why I wanted to be an observer at Saturday’s Proud Boys’ event,” Chloe, a reporter with a 20-year work experience, wrote on Medium.
“In a Tweet recapping the day, I decided to create a photo montage…one of my videos picked up music blasting from a speaker strapped over the shoulder of one of the protesters…Hours later, the critics started pouncing on this final Tweet, accusing me of intentionally creating ‘white supremacist propaganda’.”
Chloe said that he “later learned the song is called ‘we’ll have our home again,’ and is sometimes played at white nationalist rallies”. “This piece was never meant to air on KOMO News and it never did. I wanted it to be a conversation starter…before I could clarify or respond to the criticism, my news director told me to take down all my social media related to the Proud Boys march. I was also told by my boss not to speak to any outside media. The following day, I was fired.”
Chloe wrote, “Let me start off by saying I am not a neo-Nazi, fascist, or white supremacist…I may have missed the mark with my on-line coverage. But please know, it was never intended to amplify or legitimize any ideology or worldview.”
Media-linked news website Deadline reached out to KOMO for comment but was yet to receive a response.
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