ADL Letter to Congressman Matthew Gaetz Regarding Charles Johnson

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February 01, 2018

In a letter to Florida Rep. Matthew Gaetz, ADL urged the Congressman to discontinue any association with extremist Charles Johnson and publicly repudiate his views immediately.

February 1, 2018

The Honorable Matthew Gaetz
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Gaetz,

On behalf of the Anti-Defamation League, I am writing to express deep concern about news reports that you invited Charles C. Johnson as your guest to the State of the Union earlier this week.  You have been quoted as saying you had no “preexisting relationship” with Johnson, and that you provided him with your extra ticket to the speech after Johnson “showed up” at your office the day of the speech.   But any measure of due diligence by you or your staff would have revealed that Johnson is an extremist and a Holocaust denier.  Your inattention – or uncaring attitude – about Johnson’s record of bigotry and harassment is shocking. 

On Saturday, we commemorated International Holocaust Memorial Day on the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination center at Auschwitz.  Over a million people were murdered at Auschwitz alone, including 960,000 Jews.   The man you hosted has denied the established truth that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and has written that he agrees with notorious Holocaust denier David Cole “about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real.”

Johnson has been banned from Twitter after calling for donations on the platform to “take out” a Black Lives Matter activist.  It would seem that someone who has violated Twitter's guidelines on hate speech should have been seen as too extreme to be the guest of a Member of Congress at such an august occasion as the State of the Union.

Johnson is also the founder of WeSearchr, a crowd-funding website that reportedly raised more than $150,000 in 2017 for the legal defense of neo-Nazi propagandist Andrew Anglin.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Johnson’s business was poised to pocket over $22,000 in commissions from this campaign on behalf of Anglin.

It is an insult to the memories of those killed in the Holocaust, to their families, and to the Jewish community to bring to the State of the Union as your guest a Holocaust denier whose business has reportedly profited from donations for a notorious neo-Nazi.

We urge you to discontinue any association with Johnson and to publicly repudiate his views immediately.   

We look forward to your response.


Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
Anti-Defamation League