FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats took to Twitter on Monday to refute claims they have ties to the Ku Klux Klan after their names were among those on a list of “known adherents” to the Klan released by an activist group.
Henry said he was shocked to hear about the claims.
“Very, very surprised and really discouraged and upset because if anybody is known for trying to have a diverse community I think it’s me,” Henry said.
Internet hacktivist group Anonymous announced an event called “HoodsOff2015” with a promise to expose members and affiliates of the KKK. The group said it intends to release the list on Nov. 4. Anonymous tweeted Monday that it is in no way involved with the information released Monday, which the group said incorrectly outed several politicians including Senator Dan Coats and Mayor Tom Henry. The list, which named the two among dozen other politicians, was allegedly posted online by a man going by the pseudonym Amped Attacks. Lists of those alleged members were published in four posts to the text-sharing website Pastebin.
The posts names “officials that have political power in the usa that are associated with either kkk or racist related.”
Among the names are Henry and Coats. The unconfirmed, anonymous accusations claim both are known affiliates of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Within hours of the release, though, Henry and Coats tweeted about the claims, both fiercely denied any purported link between themselves and the white supremacy group, as found in the Anonymous-related documents.
NewsChannel 15 asked Henry why he responded at all the claims now being described as false.
“I think we have to. If you don’t combat lies then people take them as truths, so the Senator and I both came out immediately and tried to bring a sort of truth to this,” Henry said.
With Election Day nearly here, Henry said he isn’t giving any credit to the rumors.
“It’s either a very sick joke or someone is making a futile attempt to pull something desperate to try to win in the election,” Henry said.
Coats’ press secretary, Matt Lahr, called the claims “completely false”.