If you search Google for my name and “deep state,” you get a raft of accusations that I’m an operative with an agenda — with a few even claiming I helped organize genocide. My professional and personal lives have been irreparably harmed by these blatant falsehoods and targeted character assassination. Business colleagues willing to discuss the allegations with me have described their shock on reading the conspiracies — it is anyone’s guess how many others have read similar smears and avoided contact altogether. I’m a musician, and fellow musicians whom I know, and looked up to growing up, have fallen prey to lies about me, joining those tarnishing my name online. I find myself constantly looking over my shoulder and have had to beef up my personal security after consulting with law enforcement professionals.
I’m far from their only victim. From Charlottesville to Sandy Hook to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the playbook is easy to follow: After national tragedies, faceless Internet trolls push baseless, dangerous accusations that are magnified by outlets such as InfoWars in an attempt to turn villains into victims and vice versa.