Far-right personality Laura Loomer really wants back on Twitter. So much so, she just inadvertently cost herself $125,000 in a failed lawsuit over her Twitter ban.
If that wasn’t enough of a self-own, it appears Loomer’s lawsuit was sparked by a prank.
The Islamophobic Congressional candidate, who is also banned from platforms such as Clubhouse, Uber and Lyft, was kicked off Twitter in 2018 over anti-Muslim posts. At the time, she went so far as to lock herself to the front door of Twitter’s NYC headquarters in protest.
Following a slew of other PR stunts to protest her ban, Loomer decided to take legal action…but not against Twitter. Loomer sued the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.
According to Law & Crime, Loomer argued that CAIR conspired with Twitter to ban her, infringing on her First Amendment rights. She also claimed her Twitter ban was detrimental to her business. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, but Loomer appealed. A three-judge panel then rejected her claims late last year and said Loomer could not “provide any facts.”
“For starters, Loomer and Illoominate [Loomer’s media company] offer nothing beyond vague speculation to indicate that CAIR-Florida was involved in the alleged conspiracy,” read the decision.
Now, in a ruling this week, a judge has ordered Loomer to pay $123,761.65 plus $661.72 in costs to CAIR and its Florida chapter for court costs and legal fees, Law & Crime reports.
Why did Laura Loomer, who is currently running for U.S. Congress in Florida’s 21st District, sue CAIR in the first place?
She fell for a prank.
In early 2019, Jared Holt of Right Wing Watch spoke with two internet pranksters who had sought to fool Loomer over her Twitter ban.
Nathan Bernard and Chris Gillen provided Holt with text messages and a recorded phone call with Loomer to prove they were behind Loomer’s belief that CAIR worked with Twitter to get the far-right extremist banned from the platform.
Bernard and Gillen had pretended to be a whistleblower who worked at Twitter. They convinced Loomer that they could help reinstate her account and that Muslim groups like CAIR were responsible for her ban.
The pranksters thought Loomer would go on a conspiracy theorists Alex Jones’ InfoWars show and share the claims. Bernard and Gillen said that they would have then revealed themselves to be behind the claims, in an attempt to show that Loomer and Jones just spread unfounded claims.
“She didn’t verify who I am once. Never did she make an attempt,” Gillen told Right Wing Watch at the time. “Everything I gave her as ‘info,’ she took as gospel. She hasn’t batted an eye or questioned anything that I said, ever.”
She didn’t verify who I am once. Never did she make an attempt.
However, what the pranksters weren’t expecting was that Loomer would take her claims to the Wall Street Journal. In its story, the outlet reached out to CAIR. Zahra Billoo, the organization’s executive director told the Wall Street Journal that she had complained about Loomer’s tweets, however, CAIR didn’t have any sort of say in the matter. Billoo complained to Twitter via the same forms any user can utilize to report an account.
A Twitter spokesperson told Right Wing Watch at the time that the company’s executives had no interactions with CAIR over the matter and that the company acted on a user violating its own platform’s policies.
But, Loomer continued with her lawsuit against CAIR, which was all based on the completely made-up claims by a few internet pranksters.
Now the anti-Muslim activist owes a prominent Muslim rights organization roughly $125,000.