Sports | August 22, 2020 1:13 pm

LeBron James Calls Out Voter Suppression Campaign for Misconstruing His Tweet in Ad

Protect My Vote used James's tweet to try to push voter suppression messaging

LeBron James Voting
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers walks onto the court before playing the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 18, 2020.
Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

On Friday, Facebook removed a political page that was using a LeBron James tweet, among other tactics, to spread mail-in voting misinformation and engage in voter suppression. The page, Protect My Vote, was promoted extensively by FreedomWorks, a right-wing non-profit that seeks to promote President Trump-approved causes, according to The Washington Post.

The LeBron James tweet used by Protect My Vote is from June 20, and was originally intended to call the closing of polling places in Kentucky “SYSTEMIC RACISM and OPPRESSION.” However, Protect My Vote linked the closing of polling places as described by James’s tweet with the expansion of mail-in voting, which the page has consistently said would have a slew of problems.

James took to Twitter on Friday to condemn the page, saying that “Nobody should be able to use my name (or anyone else name) to lie and deceive about the election.” He also said he and his team were exploring legal actions before the page was eventually taken down by Facebook:

Speaking to The Washington Post, Adam Mendelsohn, a “longtime adviser” to James, called the ads “shameless” and “reprehensible,” echoing the Lakers star’s public denouncement of Protect My Vote. James, alongside other athletes, started his own voting-rights initiative, More Than a Vote, earlier this summer.

FreedomWorks, the non-profit behind the Protect My Vote boosting, denied in a comment to The Post that these were their ads. However, as found in the original story that brought the misinformation to light, FreedomWorks is the only group to promote the now-deleted consistently since it launched in July:

The FreedomWorks page on Facebook has shared links to the site in at least five organic posts in the past two weeks. FreedomWorks tweeted a link to the site five days in a row in early August. It also purchased a Facebook ad promoting the site earlier this month, spending as much as $1,500, and gaining as many as 500,000 impressions.

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Read the full story at The Washington Post