A video conference on Tuesday evening with Congressmen Dan Bishop (R), Ted Budd (R), Patrick McHenry (R), and Richard Hudson (R) to give updates on the Coronavirus and answer constituents questions was interrupted by two anonymous protestors who got into a verbal altercation with the host and began showing images of hardcore child pornography before they were kicked from the call.
The video conference was a joint effort by several Republican women’s groups and the North Carolina Young Republicans. The conference itself was emceed by the Chair of the North Carolina Young Republicans, with the intent of providing the Congressmen with the opportunity to speak to their constituents about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to also field general questions.
The conference initially got off to a smooth start but was interrupted by two men hiding their faces, who began to verbally abuse the Chair of the North Carolina Young Republicans. The men went by the usernames “Blaine Stevens” and “Boggie FN” and made numerous sexually explicit comments, including sexually explicit threats at the NCYR Chair. They also used the n-word repeatedly in the video and in the chat that accompanied it.
Initially it was believed only one man was involved, leading to confusion as the host of the video searched to have the man kicked from the call. In that interval, the men showed multiple sexually explicit images of minors over the video feed before they were eventually kicked from the video conference.
One attendee told The Cycle, “It probably felt longer than it was to get rid of him.[sic] You’re not on [a video conference] to kick people.”
It’s unclear if this was a targeted attack, but current evidence suggests it was a random intrusion. A Professor of Computer Information Systems has told The Cycle that incidents like this are on the rise globally, and are referred to as “Zoom Bombing.” “Zoom Bombing” is where individuals search for open video conferences (usually using the Zoom software) that aren’t secured then join the call to disrupt it.
The FBI in Pittsburg has issued a warning related to “Zoom Bombing,” saying over 200 incidents have been reported to them so far, with many others also involving explicit child pornography. The FBI considers each broadcast of the image as a separate violent crime committed against the children involved.
Other notable attendees besides the Congressmen were the Chair of the Mecklenberg Republicans, the Chair of the 8th District Republican Party—Kelsey Brown, several State Senate candidates, and the Clerk of Superior Court from Union County.
A source indicated to The Cycle that law enforcement has been made aware of the incident, and charges will be pursued.