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Right-wing media complain that toddler was released by Hamas due to her family’s connections to Biden

Right-wing media are attacking the Biden administration for working to negotiate the release of a 4-year-old hostage from Hamas. The toddler has dual American and Israeli citizenship and was the first American hostage released. After a fringe blog reported that the toddler’s great aunt had connections to the Biden administration and suggested her release was due to these ties, some right-wing media outlets and social media users — including on X (formerly Twitter), Gab, Truth Social, and other fringe platforms — spread the claim, with it ultimately making it onto Fox airwaves when Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo asked her guest about the connection on November 29. 

  • Reporting from far-right outlet Creative Destruction Media insinuated that the toddler was released due to her family’s donations to Biden

    • Creative Destruction Media pushed the theory that the girl was released due to her great aunt’s affiliations with Biden. Abigail Mor Edan, who was among the hostages released by Hamas this week, is the great-niece of Los Angeles real-estate investor and philanthropist Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali. Naftali has reportedly donated to the Biden campaign and bought pieces of Hunter Biden’s art, and CDM suggested that the 4-year-old’s release was related to those ties between Naftali and the Bidens. The CDM author wrote, “Abigail's Aunt is more than connected to the Bidens and perhaps explains why Abigail was the first American, although in the third wave of the hostage for prisoner swap.” [Creative Destruction Media, 11/26/23; The Daily Beast, 11/29/23]
    • CDM is a far-right outlet that has endorsed the QAnon conspiracy theory and pushed racist anti-immigrant propaganda. The website has published content claiming “Q was right” and calling Muslim and African immigrants “brown invaders.” [Media Matters, 6/20/23, 8/7/23]
    • CDM also posted the story to fringe social media platforms Gab, Telegram, and Minds. [Gab, 11/26/23; Telegram, 11/26/23; Minds, 11/26/23]
    • Users on X and fringe platforms, including Gab and Gettr, spread CDM’s story, amplifying the theory. [Twitter/X, 11/26/23; Gab, 11/30/23, 11/30/23, 11/27/23; Gettr, 11/27/23]
  • Other right-wing media outlets and fringe social media users began to mimic the reporting

    • On November 27, right-wing columnist Benjamin Weingarten spread the claim when he posted on X. He wrote, “So you're telling me that the great-aunt of the youngest American hostage -- and first American -- to be released by Hamas is a buyer of Hunter Biden's art, who was then appointed by Joe Biden to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad?” The post had over 3 million views as of November 29. [Twitter/X, 11/27/23]
    • Right-wing blog Townhall posted a piece titled “Family of the First American Released by Hamas Bought Hunter Biden's Art.” The article said the “problem” with the Biden administration celebrating the release of a hostage is that “Biden didn’t secure the release of any American hostage until now—and it’s someone whose family reportedly bought Hunter Biden’s art.” [Townhall, 11/27/23]
    • Right-wing account Matt Wallace called Joe Biden the “MOST CORRUPT PRESIDENT OF ALL TIME” because the hostage released was the “niece of a lady who overpaid for Hunter Biden's art.” The post had over 800,000 views as of November 29. [Twitter/X, 11/27/23]
    • Former Fox News producer Kyle Becker posted, “NEW: First American Hostage Released by Hamas is Tied to Hunter Biden’s Corrupt Art Peddling.” The post had over 43 thousand views as of November 29. [Twitter/X, 11/27/23]
    • A Gab user posted that a “Hunter BIDEN art fan” who purchased art from the son of “the Pervert in command” got a hostage released from Hamas. [Gab, 11/27/23]
    • A Truth Social user made no note that the hostage released was a toddler while writing, “The first American Hostage to be released by Hamas is related to a Hunter Biden Art Buyer.” The user went on to note, “No other Americans have been released yet considering they haven’t paid the Biden Crime Family any Money yet.” [Truth Social, 11/27/23]
    • On November 28, Infowars host Chase Geiser claimed the Biden administration had shown “favoritism” for the great niece of a Hunter Biden art buyer. He accused the Biden administration of saying they are going to “disregard all the other American children, adults, elderly people, whoever” because they haven’t “bought the political favoritism.” [InfoWars, American Journal, 11/28/23]
    • While talking about the toddler’s release, Newsmax’s Chris Plante said, “Biden family corruption seems to pop up pretty much everywhere these days.” Co-host Jen Pellegrino added, “It raises a lot of questions, that’s for sure.” [Newsmax, The Right Squad, 11/28/23]
    • Far-right outlet Brietbart published a piece titled “Hamas Releases American Hostage Whose Family Purchased Hunter Biden’s Art.” The article claimed, “The release of Abigail suggests that her connections to the White House may have motivated the Biden administration to lobby Hamas to prioritize her release over other American hostages.” [Breitbart, 11/28/23]
    • Right-wing blog RedState published a piece titled “Aunt of the First American Hostage Released by Hamas Was Hunter Biden Art Buyer.” [RedState, 11/28/23]
    • Right-wing Twitter aggregator Twitchy Team posted, “Ya' Don't SAY! First American Hostage Hamas Released Related to Buyer of Hunter Biden's Crap 'Artwork'” [Twitter/X, 11/28/23]
    • A Gab user included several laughing emojis while posting: “First American hostage released by Hamas is related to a Hunter Biden ‘art buyer.’” [Gab, 11/28/23]
    • Fox Business picked up the claim on November 29 when host Maria Bartiromo asked her guest, “Was she the first one because she had this connection to Biden?” After mentioning that both of the toddler’s parents were killed, Bartiromo said, “But we also learn that her family is major donors to president Biden, and that her aunt actually bought Hunter Biden's art.” [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria Bartiromo, 11/29/23]