Edwin Duterte, the Republican challenging Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), is meeting his potential supporter base where they are — on the alt-right’s social network whose logo is meant to resemble Pepe the Frog.
First reported by ThinkProgress, the Californian real estate investor that hopes to unseat Waters set up a paid account on Gab, the ad-free social network that purports to cater to “creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online.” The network has been criticized for catering to neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
The site is also home to racists who call for the extermination of Jewish people and people of other races.
The report notes that Duterte, the child of Filipino immigrants, has yet to express any racism of his own.
In an email to ThinkProgress, Duterte defended his presence on the site, saying “the bad actors on Gab have not scared me from spreading our message to the great people on there, including healthcare workers in our district” and that “fascists and white supremacists are un-American sons of bitches and so I have debated and destroyed them first hand.”
On his Gab profile, however, he chose to use one of the alt-right’s favorite epithets when saying that “[ThinkProgress writer] Kira Lerner seems to be triggered every time I use the #GabFam [hashtag].”
Gab is among the many alternative startup social networks founded by various right-wing ideologues who’ve been banned from sites like Twitter, Facebook and Patreon for their bigotry.