The anti-Muslim activist in Arizona who recently held a protest and “draw Muhammad” cartoon contest outside of a Phoenix mosque said Friday that a $10 million fundraising campaign that was posted on his Facebook page was a fake.
“My Facebook was hacked numerous times. A fake Gofundme account was set up to make it look like I was asking for $10,000,000.00 and further gave the media more ammunition to slander my name,” activist Jon Ritzheimer wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “My social security number and all of my credit cards were exposed and posted on multiple websites and my family was forced into hiding considering all the threats that were made.”
The anti-Muslim rally was held May 29 and drew hundreds of supporters and counter-protesters. Afterward, Ritzheimer announced that he planned to go into hiding.
The crowdfunding GoFundMe account first appeared on May 31 and reportedly asked for the money to help Ritzheimer “protect his family or run against” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
TPM got a screenshot of the post on Ritzheimer’s Facebook page in which the campaign was first announced:
That was followed by another post on Ritzheimer’s Facebook page on June 1 that said the GoFundMe campaign had been suspended. The post said hopefully the crowdfunding service would “free it up soon.”
By Wednesday, both posts had been deleted and Ritzheimer had posted a video alluding to “fake GoFundMe accounts” and hackers. In the video Ritzheimer didn’t specifically address the $10 million campaign.
In his post on Friday, he was more explicit and said he’d never set it up.
Ritzheimer also said he would “forever be a Patriot and an Oath Keeper,” and detailed the ramifications of organizing the rally and his resolve to keep his protest peaceful.
“My life has been shattered and I am being dropped to my knees asking for guidance and support,” Ritzheimer wrote. “My message was peaceful from the start and if I truly wanted more bloodshed I could have easily had it that night. But as A Marine who has been to war, I assure you that I only want peace. Islam claims to have the same intentions but only peace through submission. The spartan in me won’t let that happen!”
The event was a response to a similar cartoon contest held May 3 in Garland, Texas. That “draw Muhammad” event, hosted by anti-Muslim activist Pam Geller, was disrupted by two gunmen who attempted to attack the contest. The men, alleged Islamic State sympathizers, were killed outside of the event.
Ritzheimer’s Friday post included a photo he said he’d taken for the Veteran Vision Project, a privately funded organization that, according to its website, seeks to “help veterans heal by providing them with a voice.”