I want to take time to dispel 3 myths about Ed Krassenstein and me that are being pushed by far-right groups, likely Russian bots & even some on the left. My followers deserve it. The 3 myths:
- We Ran Ponzi Schemes
- We were convicted of Fraud.
- We Are Paid to Tweet
Myth: We Ran Ponzi Schemes & We were convicted of Fraud.
There are graphics and memes posted saying that we ran Ponzi (or pyramid) schemes. This is a flat out lie. This rumor stems from the fact that one of our businesses was investigated because it sold banner ads to an organization which ran investment schemes. This organization marketed and disguised themselves as 17 different legitimate businesses and we believed they were. Not to mention a publisher is not responsible for vetting all ads, just like Google doesn’t vet all ads they sell.
In fact Google and Facebook sold ads to the very exact organization, and the amount spent with Google and Facebook was an order of magnitude higher than they spent for ads on our sites. Despite the investigation, we were never arrested, charged or convicted of a single crime.
We did turn over funds to the government that we received from this organization as part of a civil settlement. We could have fought it in court and won, citing CDA 230 of the communications decency act, but the cost (monetarily, emotionally, and time wise) would have been greater than simply settling. The full story about this emotional rollercoaster we went through 2 years ago can be found here. The Daily Beast wrote about this ordeal, but refused to post all the facts. Additionally, the writer for the Daily Beast, who published this article, Lachlan Markay, has a history of disgusting behavior towards both my family and myself.
Although the government, in their initial complaint for forfeiture alleged that we committed wire fraud, after the investigation they realized that we didn’t have deeper ties to this criminal organization, like they believed, and thus never filed charges. The best evidence that we did not commit a crime is the fact that after a 2 year investigation concluded, the government didn’t charge us with one.
Myth: We Are Paid to Tweet
Of course we do not get paid to tweet. A video began circulating thanks to irresponsible reporting by Alex Jones’ InfoWars and the Far-right leaning Gateway Pundit, which showed me saying something like “We get paid by the higher ups to sow division and tweet at Trump”.
It turns out that the video was a clip of a parody video we had made for the intro to a podcast we had been working on. Despite the fact that I posted the actual, unedited video, clearly showing this was a joke, InfoWars and others have continued to push this false narrative. The full video can be found here.
We also chronicled how the spread of this edited video propagated through fake news outlets like InfoWars and The Gateway Pundit here.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that those against us will continue propagating these lies. It’s to be expected and frankly I’m not too concerned about it. What does concern me is that people who trust us to cover this Trump fiasco will fall for these lies without doing the proper research. That’s what these group want to happen. They want to discredit those who speak the truth, those who speak out and those who counter their narrative.
It’s not about the truth for them. It’s about pushing forward a corrupt agenda that only suits a small portion of our population. I hope that whenever someone sees these lies posted they will counter with a link to this thread. I am an open book. Everything I say here can be backed up with evidence, documents and my past posts.