Why Emma Gonzalez stood on stage silent

"Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR-15 and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice," said Emma Gonzalez, a Parkland school shooting survivor.

Posted: Mar 26, 2018 10:48 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2018 10:53 PM

A doctored animation of Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez ripping the US Constitution in two went viral on social media after Gab, a "free speech social network," posted it on Twitter.

The tweet gathered 1,500 retweets and 2,900 likes and only after a few hours did Gab specify the fake animation was "obviously a parody/satire."

The original animation is from a Teen Vogue story released March 23 featuring Gonzalez and other teen activists, as Allure & Teen Vogue communications director Jaime Ellyn Marsanico confirmed to CNN. It shows Gonzalez ripping a target poster, not the Constitution.

Teen Vogue chief content officer, Phillip Picardi, also set the record straight on Twitter:

"The fact that we even have to clarify this is proof of how democracy continues to be fractured by people who manipulate and fabricate the truth," Picardi said.

Gab, which has gained popularity with ultra-conservative users who wanted an alternative to Twitter, uses an image of a frog in its logo. The social network's creator, Andrew Torba, denies it is a reference to Pepe the Frog -- a cartoon that has been appropriated as a mascot of the alt-right -- saying it's a biblical reference to a plague of frogs.

The most popular debunk was from Donald Moynihan, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who said: "Just a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre (real picture on the right)":

However, this series of debunks did not stop the fake image from going viral, crossing platforms, websites and blogs.

For example, actor Adam Baldwin, who has a verified account on Twitter, tweeted the doctored animation to his 270,000 followers. The tweet was still online at the time of writing.

Over the past few weeks, Gonzalez has become the face of the #NeverAgain movement that flooded Washington, D.C. and other American cities over the weekend for the March for Our Lives rally.

Her iconic speech in Washington, which included a prolonged moment of silence, is the latest in a series of appearances that made the 18-year-old a popular household name since a gunman killed 17 people on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

But her gun-control activism also attracted a smear campaign and personal attacks from conservative figures and far-right fringes.

A smear campaign

The fake animation also found new life on 4chan "politically incorrect" board (abbreviated as /pol/), as part of a campaign aimed at discrediting Gonzalez.

CNN found several posts questioning Gonzalez' real nationality, spreading conspiracy theories claiming she's an illegal immigrant and hurling anti-Semitic insults at her and her father.

Gonzalez was born in the United States. Her father sought refuge from Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba by moving to New York in 1968.

Other posts alluded to a doxing effort to leak pictures of Gonzalez on the platform.

But it's not only 4chan users who concentrated their attacks on the teen's Cuban origin. Conservative commentators and politicians pointed the finger to Gonzalez' olive-colored jacket that she wore during the speech on Saturday which had a Cuban flag sewn in it.

A meme with Gonzalez on stage and the Cuban flag on the forefront appeared on the verified Facebook page of Congressman Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

The post read: "This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don't speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense."

Several people weighed in the comment section defending Gonzalez from the attack.

In response to Brandon J. Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting who criticized the meme for "mocking a school shooting survivor for her ethnic identity," King's team said:

"Pointing out the irony of someone wearing the flag of a communist country while simultaneously calling for gun control isn't 'picking' on anyone. It's calling attention to the truth, but we understand that lefties find that offensive."

CNN has reached out to King's team for comment.

Similar memes were posted on Reddit's pro-Trump page r/The_Donald and shared on social media by other conservative figures, such as Andrew Wilkow.

Jesse Hughes, frontman of Eagles of Death Metal, also shared the photoshopped image of Gonzalez on Instagram, calling her "the Awful Face of Treason," according to the Guardian. His band was on stage during the Paris Bataclan terrorist attack in November 2015. Hughes later deleted the post.

Earlier in March, Leslie Gibson, who was running for Maine's House of Representatives, quit his race after he called Gonzalez a "skinhead lesbian."

UPDATE: This story has been updated to correctly describe Gab's logo.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 29°
Robinson
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 25°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 32°
Paris
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 26°
Mattoon/Charleston
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 26°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 29°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 29°
Snow flurries this afternoon!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1052682

Reported Deaths: 19724
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4266588889
DuPage676511129
Will57104856
Lake52264874
Kane45073662
Winnebago25854404
Madison23664449
St. Clair21597410
McHenry21132238
Champaign1514891
Peoria14655231
Sangamon14227232
McLean12931152
Rock Island11688301
Tazewell11687238
Kankakee11315175
Kendall945676
LaSalle9212247
Macon8639178
DeKalb728189
Vermilion7265107
Adams7220108
Williamson6056113
Boone547077
Whiteside5172172
Clinton491083
Coles464478
Ogle453570
Knox4507139
Grundy426154
Effingham425867
Jackson406767
Henry395875
Marion3896111
Franklin376266
Macoupin373992
Randolph364464
Livingston352466
Monroe349567
Stephenson346774
Jefferson3329100
Morgan320388
Woodford309464
Logan302856
Lee299672
Bureau296682
Montgomery294338
Christian292371
Fayette286453
Perry259160
Iroquois254554
Fulton251248
Jersey215852
Lawrence213829
McDonough210550
Saline198552
Douglas198233
Union194632
Shelby194334
Crawford172734
Cass172231
Bond171523
Warren157243
Pike152045
Richland150343
Wayne148043
Jo Daviess146724
Hancock145532
Clark143426
Washington142325
Edgar142050
Carroll141532
Ford135849
Moultrie134528
White129929
Clay129838
Greene124242
Johnson120015
Mercer115728
Wabash115714
Piatt115215
Mason115040
De Witt111226
Cumberland105927
Jasper101515
Massac99930
Menard84810
Hamilton70515
Marshall64413
Schuyler60515
Brown59811
Pulaski5953
Stark49020
Edwards4568
Henderson43916
Calhoun4304
Gallatin3784
Alexander3767
Scott3661
Putnam3451
Hardin2988
Pope2372
Unassigned1050
Out of IL340

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 578494

Reported Deaths: 9202
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion798821282
Lake43601664
Allen31380537
Hamilton27675303
St. Joseph26409369
Elkhart23873336
Vanderburgh18192211
Tippecanoe16999116
Porter14183158
Johnson14120277
Hendricks13560236
Madison10312209
Vigo10297171
Clark9952128
Monroe8933105
Delaware8638129
LaPorte8589153
Kosciusko777375
Howard7712136
Warrick624990
Hancock621995
Bartholomew616094
Floyd5971105
Wayne5811155
Grant5716108
Dubois533570
Boone523167
Morgan501485
Marshall487084
Henry483262
Cass464959
Noble453956
Dearborn443343
Jackson410145
Shelby394376
Lawrence374172
Clinton359838
Gibson348556
DeKalb333063
Montgomery329150
Knox323339
Harrison317242
Miami305043
Steuben300740
Adams291635
Ripley287145
Wabash286345
Whitley286324
Huntington278757
Putnam278046
Jasper274933
White262038
Daviess255671
Jefferson242738
Fayette239248
Decatur237382
Greene229259
Posey225626
Wells225146
LaGrange222061
Scott212837
Clay212432
Randolph204940
Jennings188635
Sullivan185831
Spencer176917
Fountain175125
Washington170216
Starke169241
Jay160521
Fulton156829
Owen155536
Carroll150115
Orange146333
Rush145618
Vermillion141633
Perry141327
Franklin139333
Parke12718
Tipton126232
Pike111325
Blackford105122
Pulaski93636
Newton87820
Brown84428
Benton83010
Crawford7229
Martin68013
Warren6427
Switzerland6035
Union6033
Ohio4547
Unassigned0372