Anti-Trump organizers are buried under a flood of death threats
At St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church, where activists are organizing for Inauguration Day protests, Lacy MacAuley can't get through a conversation without her phone buzzing. She's constantly getting calls and text messages. She reads them off:
"I hope you get corn-holed by a group of bikers."
"People are coming there to beat up protestors."
"Your group is not safe."
This litany of threats, insults and ill-wishes has been MacAuley's life for the past week.
"Then there are the photoshopped images of me which are ... very offensive," she said in an interview at St. Stephen. "If it doesn't die down, I'm going to change my number."
Multiple organizers told Mic on Wednesday that threats are quickly becoming a rite of passage for those organizing protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. Various organizers putting together peaceful demonstrators are under a deluge of hateful messages and threats of violence. The intent, according to the organizers being targeted, is to get them to back down, hide away and fear for their safety.
There's no mystery about how these harassers got MacAuley's phone number — it's easy to find. She's been handling most of the press and communications for the Inauguration Day protest group DisruptJ20, so her number's been published publicly online. But it's not just her and other organizers whose phones are exploding with threats. Even the church where the protestors are holding legal training and press conferences is inundated with calls, as is the nearby All Souls Church, which is holding a counter-inaugural event over the weekend.
"They're people of faith," MacAuley said. "It's hard to fluster them with hateful speech."
The harassment takes the lead from conservative news outlets like Fox News and Breitbart, who've spent the past week portraying the protestors as paid domestic terrorists bent on causing violence on Inauguration Day. The DisruptJ20 team has fended off numerous infiltrators — right-wing provocateurs trying to budge into meetings and private conversations to record and expose their organizing.
These infiltrators, largely under the auspices of right-wing provocateur James O'Keefe, are the ones who initially doxxed some members of DisruptJ20 and published their information in online videos.
"We have no intentions of violence toward anyone," DisruptJ20 representative Samantha Miller said at St. Stephens on Wednesday. "We're the ones getting an insane amount of death threats toward us."
The right-wing fear mongering, though, is working. Bikers For Trump, an ultra-nationalist bike gang that began as a protest suppression group, has promised to be present on Inauguration Day. They're operating under the presumption that protestors will attack inauguration attendees — and promising to disrupt the disruptions.
The protest organizers, though, remain resolute.
"The threats are really dramatic, but don't make me want to back down at all," MacAuley said. "They make me aware of just how much work we have to do."