Earlier this spring, Florida middle school teacher Dayanna Volitich was exposed as “Talia Dalichov,” the hostess of the viciously racist podcast “Unapologetic.” Incredibly, several of the alt-right’s leading ladies wrung their hands at the prospect of the librul media bullying an innocent woman. It’s very telling that anyone would be okay with a far-right troll teaching their kids.
On Thursday, HuffPost’s Luke O’Brien revealed the results of an exhaustive effort to unmask a particularly noxious far-right troll. For five years, “@AmyMek” merrily spewed far-right, racist, and white nationalist agitprop. Her main stake in trade, however, was Islamophobia. She spewed out all manner of hateful memes and tweets attacking Muslims. Take this, for example.
Trump promoted her on Twitter shortly after getting into the race, and her following skyrocketed after The New York Times profiled her as part of a piece on female Trump supporters. By 2018, she had over 200,000 followers–including Roseanne Barr, Sean Hannity, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Mek fired off as many as 25 tweets per day, leading to speculation that she was a Russian bot. Political consultant and San Francisco Examiner columnist Maureen Erwin tried to find out who she really was last year, to no avail.
O’Brien had better luck. He discovered that in 2014, Mek asked for help in locating her cousin, who had gone missing in Pennsylvania. By following local stories about the missing cousin, O’Brien concluded that Mek was really Amy Mekelburg of Fishkill, New York, halfway between New York City and Albany.
According to several of her neighbors and now-former friends, Mekelburg made no effort to hide her Islamophobia. Whenever she saw someone who appeared to be Muslim, she would shoot them nasty looks or call them dirty. As one of those former friends, Tina Galasso, put it, Mekelburg was “cruel in every form.”
One of her efforts went beyond mere cruelty. She tried to create an anti-Muslim organization called “Resistance Against Islamic Radicals,” and actively encouraged her followers to doxx anyone suspected of collaborating with jihadists. According to Galasso, her criteria for inclusion were so low that “if the local garbage man was seen going into a mosque,” he could end up listed on the RAIR site.
Mekelburg had two very good reasons to keep her cover. In 2017, her husband, Sal Siino, took a job as a global content executive at WWE–where, among other things, he helped hammer out promotional deals with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, she has been passing herself off as a psychotherapist with the New York state prison system. Siino was pushed out of WWE after two HuffPost inquiries, while officials with both the New York State Office of Mental Health and the Department of Corrections have no record of Mekelburg ever working for them.
As the walls began closing in on Mekelburg, she sounded the alarm on Twitter.
Far-right Twitter responded in force. Fellow Islamophobes Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer called O’Brien a fascist.
Other Trumpkins claimed HuffPost had doxxed Mekelburg.
Never mind that Mekelburg identified herself in the stories about her search for her cousin. As O’Brien put it, “anyone paying attention to @AmyMek would have made the connection to ‘Amy Mekelburg.'” O’Brien told People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch that he has been bombarded with threatening phone calls, many of which came before his story went live.
So the Trump diehards are going to the mattresses for a noxious troll who has no qualms about doxxing innocent people, and is misrepresenting herself as a psychotherapist. And they wonder why we call them deplorable?
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