UPDATE, April 30: Sometime after this post was published, the troll’s racist, slur-festooned message was deleted from the Lost Coast Populist’s online petition, where it had remained for nearly a week. Early Saturday afternoon, that website’s creator, Donnie Creekmore, responded to the email I sent him yesterday.

His email reads, in part:

This, like about 15 other fake signatures we’ve deleted due to user tips or our own discovery, is clearly not real as has been defined [?] by the signee himself, who is CC’d on this email as I figure you’d likely have questions for them as well if you take yourself seriously as a journalist. I hold my reservations.

Obviously, we did not put this [message] on the website; this is not our comment, and nowhere on our website will you find language that says we automatically support the messages sent from the community to the Board of Supervisors concerning this matter.

Creekmore goes on to directly address “William,” the petition “signee” and alleged real person who supposedly posted the offending message, only to later take credit, admit it was an empty provocation and apologize to all involved.

Creekmore thanks “William” for “providing direct evidence that the boogie man you portrayed doesn’t actually exist.”

You don’t say.

Like so much else in this painfully stupid and time-wasting episode, the email address that Creekmore provides for “William” is — you guessed it — fake. Emails sent there Friday and Saturday bounced back.


Over on the drag-show-obsessed (formerly anti-vax-obsessed) fringe blog Lost Coast Populist, founder Donnie Creekmore has launched a petition calling to “End Drag Events for Kids in Humboldt County, CA,” and evidently he rigged it so that each time someone “signs” the thing (anonymously, providing only a first name), his website sends an email to each of the county supervisors with the “name” of the signatory and a message they’ve written.

As such, all 66 signatories (as of this writing) have had their messages automatically entered into the public record. The messages mostly repeat buzzwords from the current right-wing freakout over drag performances: “groomers,” “pedophiles,” “gender confusion,” etc.

But on Saturday evening, someone using the name “William” and claiming to be from Eureka left a real doozy of a message, one so replete with hate speech it’s like a royal flush of bigotry. 

“White pride world wide!” is what “William” wrote in the petition’s “Subject” field. In the “Message” field, he (or she but let’s be honest, probably he) added, “It’s time to take our culture back! Don’t stop until every [gay smear], [n-word], and [lesbian smear] is dead!!! And we’ll start here in Humboldt!”

Now, obviously, such a hate-filled and explicit call to violence is repugnant, no matter the venue or context. But it was also obvious to me at first glance — when a screenshot of the message was first sent to me six days ago — that there’s ample reason not to take this particular message at face value. 

Given the anonymous format of the petition, the incendiary topic at hand and the very nature of internet discourse, this thing has “troll” written all over it. Whether it was typed by an angry teenager in his basement or a “false flag” agitator aiming to discredit the Lost Coast Populist, the rhetoric amounts to the digital equivalent of a turd in a flaming paper bag. Unless that thing lands at your doorway, best just to ignore it.

Anyway, that was our thinking here in the Outpost newsroom: Reporting on this vile message would only serve to legitimize it, emboldening both the troll who wrote it and the troll whose website hosts it. (Worth noting that, as of Friday evening, the loathsome message was still up at lostcoastpopulist.com. There sits the flaming shit bag, stinking up Creekmore’s internet doorway. He did not immediately respond to an email Friday afternoon seeking comment.)

Local officials, on the other hand, are taking the comment quite seriously. The top-listed department report on Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors agenda concerns this troll’s blog comment, which the attached staff report describes as “a vicious and hateful message that threatened the lives of members of the Black and 2S/LGBTQIA+ communities.”

County staff has also prepared a letter, entitled “Affirming Our Stance Against Hate,” that does just that, earnestly and at length. It has been signed — or is slated to be signed before it’s presented Tuesday — by nearly four dozen community leaders, including all five county supervisors, Sheriff William Honsal, department heads, tribal leaders, educators, local city officials, nonprofit leaders and more.

An excerpt:

We are committed to protect and preserve the values of democracy and freedom for all Humboldt County residents including, but not limited to, Tribal communities, people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQIA2S+ community, people of all religions, individuals with disabilities, and all vulnerable and historically excluded populations. Throughout history, and in many cases for generations, these communities have experienced trauma due to acts of violence, hate, and discrimination.

It reads as an impassioned and unequivocal condemnation of some truly hateful rhetoric, which is commendable! Except that the rhetoric in question appears to be bogus. 

On Friday afternoon, just as this letter was being finalized for posting to the county’s website, a new Populist petition-triggered message landed in supervisors’ inboxes.

“I am the person who left the racially motivated comment a few days ago,” the message reads. It continues:

My expectation was that it would be deleted quickly before anyone else in the public saw it, and this site would *hopefully* put out a statement reaffirming their commitment against violence. Queer people are terrified of them, and these concerned parents are worried about violent retaliation or doxxing from the “Rainbow Coalition,” so it seemed necessary to force [Lost Coast Populist’s] hand in this way. Get both sides to start a conversation about avoiding violence. However, it’s been several days, and they’ve left the comment up and haven’t addressed it, which almost seems negligent. My sincerest apologies to anyone who saw it and became concerned, offended, or fearful. My apologies to the queer community. And my apologies to Lostcoastpopulist staff themselves. 

Be kind. And do better. I will try to be better myself.

This, too, is clearly bullshit, to a large degree. Or are we to accept that the still-unidentified author earnestly believed that his original message “would be deleted quickly before anyone else in the public saw it”? And that his bouquet of hate speech was actually designed to “Get both sides to start a conversation about avoiding violence”?

Please. His apologies — including one to Lostcoastpopulist staff, for some reason — are just another facade donned by a classic internet troll. It might not even be the same one who wrote the original message.

Nevertheless, I do like his closing imperative, which is good advice for everybody these days: Be kind. And do better.


DOCUMENT: Letter Against Hate + Signatures