No, The National’s Aaron Dessner Has Not Been Inciting Riots

A bizarre conspiracy theory about The National's Aaron Dessner has been making the rounds

Aaron Dessner of The National performs at Campo Pequeno on December 12, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Pedro Gomes/Redferns)
Aaron Dessner of The National performs at Campo Pequeno on December 12, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Pedro Gomes/Redferns)
Redferns
By Bonnie Stiernberg / June 1, 2020 5:09 pm

The news from the protests and riots nationwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd has largely been heartbreaking, but this story is downright weird: The National’s Aaron Dessner was recently forced to clarify on social media that no, he has not been secretly funding and inciting riots in Ohio, despite reports to the contrary from a number of internet conspiracy theorists.

It all began on Saturday when a YouTuber named Steve Kirsch posted a 19-second video in which a man who vaguely resembles Dessner (but again, to be clear, is not him) is seen speaking to protestors in Columbus and handing something to one of them. Then a Twitter user who has since been suspended claimed the person in the video was Dessner, adding, “He’s an Antifa organizer paying people to riot!! He needs to be arrested NOW!!”

On Sunday, Dessner took to Instagram to clear things up, writing, “I’m very fortunate and grateful to wake up every morning in the rural countryside I live in, looking at farmland and these beautiful mountains. I’ve been here for three months now isolating with my wife and young children. This morning I’ve woken up to the unpleasant and surprising news that I’ve been misindentified by some social media users as someone seen encouraging rioting in Columbus, Ohio — I am not the person some are suggesting I am. Nor have I been in Ohio since June 2019.”

“However I do FULLY support peaceful protests and activism against endemic racism and racially motivated violence in this country, which somehow continues generation after generation after generation,” he added. “Like so many, I’m hoping for peaceful resolution and actual progress addressing these persistent issues in our society.”

View this post on Instagram

I'm very fortunate and grateful to wake up every morning in the rural countryside I live in, looking at farmland and these beautiful mountains. I've been here for three months now isolating with my wife and young children. This morning I've woken up to the unpleasant and surprising news that I've been misindentified by some social media users as someone seen encouraging rioting in Columbus, Ohio — I am not the person some are suggesting I am. Nor have I been in Ohio since June 2019. However I do FULLY support peaceful protests and activism against endemic racism and racially motivated violence in this country, which somehow continues generation after generation after generation. Like so many, I'm hoping for peaceful resolution and actual progress addressing these persistent issues in our society.

A post shared by Aaron Dessner (@aarondessner) on

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

Daily Brief

News From Around the Web

July 4, 2020 July 3, 2020 July 2, 2020