Pennsylvania Republican Dean Browning got blasted online Tuesday afternoon after he was caught pretending to be a Black person on Twitter.
The white, conservative politician previously served as Lehigh County Commissioner and lost the Republican primary in June for the U.S. House seat in Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District. He lost the race by just 2,400 votes, according to Ballotpedia.
But on Tuesday, he was going back and forth with another Twitter user when it appeared that he forgot to switch to his alleged Black burner account.
Browning tweeted about his dislike of president-elect Joe Biden and his belief that he would "destroy" the work of President Donald Trump. Someone commented under his post about how great former President Barack Obama was and how Trump was simply taking credit for his work.
In response, Browning decided to write from the perspective of a Black person.
"I'm a black gay guy and I can personally say that Obama did nothing for me, my life only changed a little bit and it was for the worse. Everything is so much better under Trump though. I feel respected – which I never do when democrats are involved," he wrote on Twitter.
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) November 10, 2020
Despite suspicion surrounding his tweet, it has not been confirmed that Browning has a burner account. Nevertheless, that didn't stop Twitter from swooping in and calling the politician out.
Dean Browning, former Lehigh County comissioner who seems to have forgotten to log into his burner account, was about 2,500 votes away from being the GOP's nominee in Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional district this year. pic.twitter.com/ftiY68wae6
— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) November 10, 2020
Y'all, this Dean Browning KKK (GOP) dude forgot to log into his fake Twitter account where he pretends to be a Black queer person bashing Democrats. This is hilarious. Twitter be giving blue checks to Blackface, huh? https://t.co/pGWZWgqaoH
— Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.) (@SonofBaldwin) November 10, 2020
Man, Jordan Peele’s GET OUT was great but what a wild premise! White people being so obsessed with black people that they want to BECOME them?
Anyway, time to take a big sip of coffee to check out what former Lehigh County Commissioner Dean Browning thinks about the election. pic.twitter.com/fHih5tx19G
— David Chen (@davechensky) November 10, 2020
Browning has since commented on the situation, denying that he has a fake Black burner account.
"Regarding the tweet that is going viral from my account — I was quoting a message that I received earlier this week from a follower.Sorry if context was not clear.Trump received record minority votes & record LGBTQ votes.Many people won’t say it vocally, but do in private," he wrote.
Regarding the tweet that is going viral from my account — I was quoting a message that I received earlier this week from a follower.
Sorry if context was not clear.
Trump received record minority votes & record LGBTQ votes.
Many people won’t say it vocally, but do in private.
— Dean Browning (@DeanBrowningPA) November 10, 2020
The use of fake accounts has become a widespread problem on multiple social media sites, particularly with white people posing as Black people.
The Conversation published a lengthy article from Clarkson University Computer Science professor Jeanna Matthews about burner accounts, known as "sock puppet accounts" that are routinely used to spread misinformation and fake news while promoting certain views and content.
"As a social media researcher, I’ve seen thousands of accounts with the same profile picture “like” posts in unison. I’ve seen an account claiming to be an 'All-American patriotic army wife' from Florida post obsessively about immigrants in English, but whose account history showed it used to post in Ukranian," she wrote.
"For example, Jenna Abrams, an account with 70,000 followers, was quoted by mainstream media outlets like The New York Times for her xenophobic and far-right opinions, but was actually an invention controlled by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian government-funded troll farm and not a living, breathing person," she added.