Far-right media figures are targeting one of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s daughters with a conspiracy theory that claims there is something untoward about her reported employment with Twitter. Misogynist far-right media figure Patrick Howley took credit for first reporting her employment, and Dr. Fauci has said that he and his daughters have been receiving death threats over his work on the coronavirus pandemic. Attacks on the daughter have been promoted on Alex Jones’ Infowars network and are circulating on far-right message board 8kun (which replaced the shuttered 8chan message board).
During an August 5 appearance on CNN, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, disclosed that he is “getting death threats for me and my family, and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security.” Media Matters is not naming any of Fauci’s family members in light of these reported threats.
Howley took credit for reporting on the daughter’s employment in a May 16 tweet and accompanying article at conspiracy theory website National File. (Her employment had been previously reported on at other outlets, but Howley’s article appears to have spurred far-right figures to start spreading conspiracy theories about her.) Howley’s article baselessly suggested a connection between the daughter’s employment and Twitter’s supposed crackdown “on so-called misinformation about the virus from truth-minded individuals who do not automatically accept what the experts like [Anthony] Fauci have to say.”
Though Howley’s article was published in May, it has received widespread attention in recent days, in part due to an Infowars episode that Media Matters reviewed. Tom Pappert, the head of National File and a guest host at Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet, promoted conspiracy theories about the daughter during the August 4 broadcast of the Infowars show War Room. Pappert suggested without evidence that the daughter “might have some say over these decisions, what content gets to go on the platform and what content does not.” Show host and far-right conspiracy theorist Owen Shroyer attacked Fauci for his role on the White House coronavirus task force and baselessly claimed that “his daughter is involved at Twitter censoring doctors who dare go against Fauci and what he’s saying.” A picture of the daughter was displayed during the segment.
According to a Media Matters scan, the daughter has been mentioned at least 20 times in the past month in posts at far-right message board site 8kun -- formerly known as 8chan -- in the site’s “/qresearch/” board dedicated to the violence-linked QAnon conspiracy theory. Howley’s National File article has also been posted in pro-Trump and QAnon Facebook pages and groups.
Right-wing figures have been reviving Howley’s article on Twitter. On August 1, former Fox News medical correspondent Dr. David Samadi garnered more than 14,000 retweets in a tweet that shared Howley’s National File article:
Right-wing comedian Tim Young raised the daughter’s employment in a tweet that was retweeted more than 15,000 times:
Occasional Fox News guest Ned Ryun jumped off Young:
Far-right radio host John Cardillo called attention to her employment in an August 1 tweet:
And BlazeTV’s Elijah Schaffer, who has used Twitter to spread viral disinformation, promoted Howley’s article on August 3: