The New York man accused by an American news website of being responsible for a doctored video of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday the reporter who outed him broke the law in doing so.
“A crime has been committed here. Question now is who else is responsible,” Shawn Brooks tweeted, claiming a reporter from the Daily Beast news website had obtained his private banking information.
Brooks said he was ” looking at my options for possible legal action” and set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for his legal costs after denying the Daily Beast report Saturday naming him as the person behind the viral video.
A doctored recording of Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi was posted last week on social media with its speed purposefully reduced to make Pelosi appear to be slurring her words. The Daily Beast fingered Brooks, saying “we found the guy behind the viral ‘drunk Pelosi’ video.”
The Daily Beast described Brooks as a “Donald Trump superfan and occasional sports blogger…currently on probation for domestic battery,” saying he posted the video May 22 showing Pelosi at a press conference commenting on a meeting with US President Donald Trump with the comment: “Is Pelosi drunk?”
According to the report, Brooks uploaded several versions to Facebook pages he had access to with a later clip slowed down to change Pelosi’s voice. The resulting audio sounded as if Pelosi was drunk and slurring her words while criticizing Trump.
The video went viral, quickly getting more than 60,000 shares on Facebook, accumulating 4 million page views and spreading to YouTube and Twitter, where US President Donald Trump also retweeted the faked clip.
YouTube took the video down after it was shown to be fake, but Facebook left it up and it can still be found on Twitter.
Brooks said on his Facebook page that he was of the administrators of a Facebook page involved, but insisted “I did not create the video.”
“They need a fall guy and they choose me because of my background.” Brooks changed his Twitter account description to read “Framed And Lied On by Facebook And The Daily Beast.”
Last week Pelosi lashed out at Facebook for refusing to block sharing of the video.
“Facebook knows that this is false,” Pelosi said in a transcript of an interview with the KQED public broadcaster, which her office provided in response to questions from AFP.
“They’re lying to the public,” she said. “I don’t even drink.”
Interviewed on CNN, a senior Facebook official said the social media giant would remove information created by fake accounts as well as information it deemed a threat to public safety, but its policy is to leave other information from real accounts for users to decide, even if it was shown to be faked.
“When we’re talking about political discourse and misinformation around that, we think the right approach is to let people make an informed choice,” said Monica Bickert, Facebook Vice president for product policy and counter-terrorism.
AFP contributed to this report