Student says conservative activists recruited him for Buttigieg smear


In this April 29, 2019, photo, Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, from South Bend, Ind.,, listens during a lunch meeting with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem neighborhood of New York. Buttigieg is making a new, concerted effort to appeal to African American voters and put behind him criticism […]

A Michigan college student says pro-Trump agitators recruited him to falsely claim he was raped by Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, then published the smear without his permission.

Hunter Kelly, a 21-year-old gay Trump supporter, says conservative activists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman sought to use him for the “despicable scheme” they concocted to blunt Buttigieg’s momentum and help the president’s reelection bid.

The incident may offer a glimpse into disinformation tactics, powered by fake social media accounts and partisan news sites, that could become a staple of the 2020 campaign.

Wohl denied Kelly’s accusation, saying the student had reached out to him.

Invoking the powerful #MeToo movement against a pioneering gay candidate, the anti-Buttigieg smear started Sunday when a post appeared on the publishing platform Medium under Kelly’s name.

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