The anti-Muslim activist in Arizona who apparently tried to raise $10 million this week after organizing a protest outside a Phoenix mosque said on Tuesday that he’s been the victim of hackers who “have ruined my life.”
Jon Ritzheimer posted a video to Facebook in which he lamented how complicated his life had become since the mosque protest on Friday. He also made a reference to what he said were “fake” accounts that hackers set up on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, the same site that briefly hosted the $10 million campaign.
“Hackers have ruined my life,” Ritzheimer said on the video, in which he was shirtless and prominently showing off a red-white-and-blue chest tattoo with the words “Hard Knock Life.”
“They’ve made fake Facebook accounts, fake GoFundMe accounts, fake — just all kinds of stuff,” he said. “They’ve exposed my social. They’ve exposed everything about me, credit cards — you name it. They’re playing dirty.”
Ritzheimer had organized a “draw Muhammad” cartoon contest and protest at the mosque attended by at least one of the Islamic State sympathizers who tried to attack a similar cartoon contest last month in Garland, Texas.
After the protest, which drew hundreds of people including counter-protesters, Ritzheimer said he was going into hiding. The fundraising campaign quickly popped up on GoFundMe, asking for money to protect his family.
It was unclear from his video whether Ritzheimer was trying to say the fundraising campaign was fake. He did not respond to an email TPM sent seeking comment on Wednesday. But he also appeared to have deleted at least two references to the campaign that previously appeared on his Facebook page.
On Monday, TPM got screenshots of those two posts. The first one, which was published on Sunday, contained a link directly to the GoFundMe page.
“Here we go. Thank you all in advance,” it said.
The screenshot is below:
The second post, made on Monday, had a photo that showed the GoFundMe account had been suspended and was under review.
“Let’s hope they free it up soon,” the post said:
During his nearly five-minute video on Tuesday, Ritzheimer described the toll the rally and cartoon contest had taken on his family.
“I’m extremely malnutritioned (sic) myself,” Ritzheimer said. “It’s killing me. I hate seeing my family going through this distress. It’s killing them. They just want their normal lives back. You know, this whole thing did blow up in my face — I was ill-prepared. And the media is one, they’re the reasons (sic) for all this. They’ve taken it and they have twisted it and they have put lies. It’s ridiculous.”
Ritzheimer said he believed he was going to die at the rally.
“I went there that night with a gun on my hip, fully thinking that I was going to die, that a terrorist was going to try to kill me for exercising my First Amendment,” he said.
Ritzheimer also addressed criticism he said he’d received from fellow Marines for comments he’d made saying he was going into hiding.
“I’ll admit that was a piss-poor choice of words on my part,” Ritzheimer said. “It would better be described that I’m taking cover right now during a verbal fire fight. But you can bet I’m gonna be returning fire. I am a pissed off fucking Marine.”
Ritzheimer said he didn’t really care about the cartoon contest but had merely wanted to speak out. He also addressed a shirt he and other protestors had worn which said “Fuck Islam.”
“I know my shirt was distasteful. It was stupid. But I wore it ‘cause I’m sick of seeing what’s going on,” Ritzheimer said. “The cartoon contest. Stupid. I don’t even care about it. But it’s when you tell me that ‘Don’t do that or I will kill you.’ That’s when I draw the line. I’m not gonna stand for that in this country.”
Ritzheimer said he was “gonna be taking a break from the social media” and thanked his supporters before ending the video.
Watch the video below, from Jon Ritzheimer’s Facebook page: