Two election workers in Georgia are suing a website that disseminates conspiracy theories about them and their role in the 2020 election.
Far-right website The Gateway Pundit reportedly shared inaccurate information about election workers to make voters doubt the results.
NBC News reported that Ruby Freeman, retired 911 call center member, and her daughter Shaye Moss claim in the legal file that Jim and Joe Hoft, operators and editors of The Gateway Pundit, have produced “a campaign of lies. Which “caused a deluge of intimidation, harassment and threats that forced them to change their phone number, delete their online accounts and fear for their physical safety.”
It has been claimed that Ms Freeman and Ms Moss played pivotal roles in several conspiracy theories shared and consumed by Tories following President Joe Biden’s election victory over former President Donald Trump.
Companies that make voting machines, such as Dominion Voting Systems, have also sued media companies that made deceptive or directly false statements about their election work.
Articles appearing on The Gateway Pundit that implicated Ms Freeman were drawn into a loop of accusations that also included other conservative media as well as Mr Trump.
Mr Trump named Ms Freeman during his call with Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, in which the then president asked Mr Raffensperger to “find” nearly 12,000 more votes in Mr. Trump’s favor to enable him to achieve a victory in the state.
The call came a month after a Gateway Pundit article accused Ms Freeman of “counting illegal ballots in a suitcase hidden under a table.”
Mr Trump, who is not named in the lawsuit, called Ms Freeman a “vote con artist, professional vote con artist and con artist” on the call.
Ms Freeman said strangers made two attempts to enter her home to “effect a citizen arrest,” according to the lawsuit. He adds that Ms Freeman, after receiving advice from the FBI, had to shut down her business and leave her home for two months.
“People have said the most vile, violent and racist things about me and my family – on the phone, on my social media accounts, by email and in person. Things you wouldn’t believe, ”Ms. Freeman, who is black, said in a statement, according to NBC News.
“The toll of all this on your life, day after day, weighs on you,” she added. “I go to church and I know God is my keeper, so I keep my head up. But the impact is still there. For example, when I’m in public and hear someone calling me, I jump. Just hearing my name scares me.
Ms Freeman was first mentioned by The Gateway Pundit after Jacki Pick, a Trump campaign lawyer, presented surveillance footage of a polling center where Ms Freeman worked in the Georgia State Senate on December 3 of last year.
Ms Pick said someone who “had the name Ruby on his shirt somewhere” discovered a “suitcase” full of ballots “under a table”.
The State Bureau of Investigation and the Secretary of State said there was no such suitcase. Election workers were ordered to leave for the night, but were then told they would have to start counting the votes again. Ms. Freeman had just restarted her count.
But conspiracy theory had power on websites supporting Mr. Trump and on social media with QAnon influencers. Mr Trump then tweeted a video from OANN, the conservative cable news channel, which included claims made by The Gateway Pundit, which continued to make claims about the plaintiffs through the spring and summer.
The legal team representing Ms Freeman and Ms Moss is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and the deletion of the sections. They also want statements that the information on the site was false.
Ms Freeman said she “can’t imagine ever going back to election work.”
“The times I decided to work for the county, I did it because I thought I could help and because I knew I could do the job well,” she added. “What I didn’t know was that it would turn out like this.”
The independent has contacted The Gateway Pundit for comment.
The Independent Gt