When a group called Texas Antifa planned a June 10 rally calling for the removal of the monument to "gross slave owner" Sam Houston in Hermann Park, KPRC and the Houston Chronicle were all over the story. Even Mayor Sylvester Turner commented on the controversy, saying removing the statue wasn't "even on my agenda."
On its event page, a group called This is Texas announced a counter-protest to the rally, saying:
"Antifa has come out saying they will be bringing several large (communist) groups together to host a rally around the Museum District in Houston, Texas on June 10, 2017. This list includes Black Lives Matter, Antifa & more. Their goal is to remove the Sam Houston statue. Many of these communist punks are embolden [SIC] after they lay claim to a win in New Orleans by bringing down the Confederate monuments. They have made threats toward Texas & Texans saying 'Texans better not show up or they will limp home bruised, broken, hurt, with their tail between their legs' & 'Smash the state'."
There's just one slight problem: "Texas Antifa" is an alt-right troll group that stole the name of a self-described anti-fascist group, Houston Antifa — a local chapter of a national grassroots movement — in order to... well, we're not sure, exactly, but we think it has something to do with pissing off as many people as possible.
Unfortunately, KPRC and the Chronicle failed to dig a little deeper. If they had, they might have found the real Houston Antifa page, which has warned people to "unlike and unfollow this fake ass Texas Antifa page. Do NOT attend the June 10th Rally! This account was started a month ago and is in NO way, shape, or form affiliated with any actual Antifa Organization."
A representative of Houston Antifa echoed the statement to the Houston Press via Facebook Thursday morning, saying, "We encourage folks NOT to attend this event whatsoever, on the Right or the Left."
The trolling has occurred throughout the country, as Buzzfeed reported May 30, citing "a coordinated campaign to create fake accounts in an attempt to troll and discredit anti-fascist activists."
When we asked the Texas Antifa folks if they wanted to comment on their deception, a representative told us via Facebook, "Being called fake works in our favor. It will bring down how many will go to the counter protest. No more comments, sorry."
It really hurt our feelings — we were hoping for an enlightened, intellectual discussion about the merits of their overall campaign and why they feel they're justified in misleading reporters and stoking hatred. That's when our contact said, "I'm not the person to make the decision [on further discussion], simply repeating what I was told to say. Actually, supposed to simply say no comment to any press."
So, the hack was just following orders. Learning from the best.