A Washington Free Beacon reporter is taking heat on Twitter after he recommended young conservatives “avoid group chats that use the N-word or otherwise blur the line between edgelording and earnest bigotry.”
“Whenever I’m on a career advice panel for young conservatives, I tell them to avoid group chats that use the N-word or otherwise blur the line between edgelording and earnest bigotry,” reporter Aaron Sibarium wrote on Monday.
“I’m often asked afterwards why I made a point of saying so. This is why,” he added, along with a link to a scoop published by the Free Beacon detailing more antisemitic and problematic text messages sent by right-wing influencer Pedro Gonzalez.
Gonzalez’s years-old texts reported by the Free Beacon include the incorrect assertion that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is Jewish (she’s Catholic) and thus “can’t be criticized.” The Free Beacon‘s report followed an extensive takedown of Gonzalez by Breitbart in late June.
The Daily Dot also recently reported on the leaked chats of far-right outlet the Liberty Conservative that included racial slurs.
While Gonzalez—a vocal ally of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)—has slammed the reports as a “smear campaign” by Trump supporters, he has apologized for his past remarks and attributed his comments to a “different, dumb season of my life.”
“What starts off as joking can very quickly become unironically internalized as an actual belief,” he told the Free Beacon in an interview, adding that, “I said those things, and I take responsibility for them, and I apologize for them, and, ultimately, it’s on me.”
He also said he is “ashamed” and “embarrassed” by his past comments.
Reporting on Gonzalez’s old messages divided some conservative circles, with some defending the influencer as being a target of cancel culture for “old texts from when he was a dumb college student” and others arguing that leaking private messages is a wrong move.
Sibarium’s response to the unfolding drama gets at the heart of the discussion about the ethics of leaking others’ texts by putting the onus on the individual to avoid getting into a situation where problematic texts could be sent in the first place.
But his advice came under fire, mainly from the left, with many saying that avoiding groups that use the N-word and make bigoted remarks is not advice that should need to be given.
“I’m a basic lib and I have never had to tell this to anyone. Something to consider,” responded one user.
“You have to TELL PEOPLE to avoid group chats that use the N-word? They can’t figure this out by themselves?” wrote another person.
“Like ‘“’don’t engage in cannibalism,’ this is sound enough advice, but if you routinely find yourself in company that requires it, maybe it’s a sign of deeper problems,” summed up one user.