The reporter who received an excerpt from President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax documents is being harassed by Trump supporters after his home phone number and address were posted on the anonymous forum 8chan. Forums like 8chan, 4chan, and Reddit are home to many in the “alt-right” and have been the base for many other harassment campaigns.
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston revealed on March 14 that he received two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax forms in the mail, unsolicited. According to The Associated Press, the documents showed that Trump “earned $153 million and paid $36.5 million in income taxes in 2005, paying a roughly 25 percent effective tax rate thanks to a tax he has since sought to eliminate.” The White House confirmed the veracity of the documents and publicly released Trump’s 2005 tax details before Johnston explained the findings on the March 14 edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.
On March 15, Johnston wrote on Twitter that “Trump fans” were calling and harassing his wife and one of his children because of the story.
Trump fans call & harass my wife & 1 of my children after I break story White House confirmed. Sad! Let's have open debate, not threats.
— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) March 15, 2017
Some of the threats appeared to have originated from 8chan's "/pol/" message board, which Mic has described as “one of the nexuses of the alternative right.” A thread on the message board included Johnston’s home address and home phone number, asking if users were “BRAVE ENOUGH TO CALL THAT NUMBER??” Others said they called the number, and they posted tips for those who also intended to call.
Forums like 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit are hotbeds of harassment by those in the so-called “alt-right,” a self-designated term for a faction of the white nationalist movement. The forums have been used by Trump supporters to launch harassment campaigns against anti-Trump individuals, as well as to troll Jews, Muslims, African-Americans, and undocumented immigrants. 8chan was also one of the forums used by those involved in the Gamergate movement to harass those who, according to The Washington Post, advocated “for greater inclusion in [video] gaming.”