#deathsantis: Florida politicians, Twitter blue checks spread dangerous disinformation
June 21, 2021
In a tragic incident at a Pride Parade in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday, one person was killed, and another was injured after being struck by a vehicle. The person responsible was discovered to be a part of a men’s chorus attending the pride parade.
But, shortly after the accident, politicians and Twitter blue-checks somehow recklessly linked Florida’s Republican Governor to the accident. Ultimately having the hashtag “DeathSantis” trend on Twitter.
Politicians jumped at the opportunity to see the incident for more than it was. The Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Dean Trantalis, immediately declared the incident a “terrorist attack against the LGBTQ community” stating the driver “came here to destroy people” and that “this was clearly no accident” reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Influential figures jumped to the conclusion that this event was a homophobic “terrorist” attack, despite no evidence. Twitter allowed the spread of this dangerous misinformation for at least 15 hours.
Possibly reaching millions, these tweets spread the assumed narrative that it was an attack on the LGBT community.
Democrat Representative Ted Deutch of Florida’s 22nd congressional district, linked to the now corrected article, stating “I’m so sorry, Wilton Manors. I’m sorry, my friends”.
Democratic Candidate for representative Adam Gentle stated that this was an “intentional act” and people needed to “connect the dots” on what happened. Then claimed the fault lies directly on Governor DeSantis. The tweets are not deleted.
Lesley Abravanel from the Miami Herald, also verified on Twitter, tweeted,
“2 hit by truck, 1 killed at #Pride parade in Wilton Manors narrowly missing ?@DWStweets?. Domestic terrorism made legal by bigot #KimJongRon #DeathSantis. Charlottesville part 2. #RemoveRon #Florida #Floriduh”
When called out for the inaccuracy, Abravanel doubled down on her attack on DeSantis,
“Update to extinguish the swarm of bots: was not domestic terrorism made legal by Trump afterbirth #KimJongRon #DeathSantis, but Florida is on edge because of that law and other divisive DuhSantis disasters. May the life lost Rest In Peace and may Floridians feel safe despite Ron”
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis later admitted that the accident was not a terrorist act. Others need to do the same. Now.