Madeline Rogero, the mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, has denied being a part of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) after her name turned up in a list of purported members of the white supremacist organization released by hacktivist collective Anonymous, WREG (Memphis) is reporting.
Anonymous, for those not familiar, is a loose collective of computer experts, called “hackers,” who have used their computer skills to launch cyber attacks on corporations, organizations, business, police departments, and other agencies that the collective believes has done wrong. Those attacks have ranged from Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks (which temporarily shut down an offending party’s website) to publishing supposedly secret and damning information.
The organization began making headlines last week after threatening to “out” secret members of the Ku Klux Klan. It is not clear, as of this post, where Anonymous obtained this list of secret KKK members, nor how they determined that the names of the list are members of the KKK. Regardless, the collective began naming names on Monday.
One name that came up on the list is that of Knoxville mayor Madeline Rogero. The 63-year-old Democrat, who has been mayor of the eastern Tennessee city of about 183,000 people since 2011, took to Facebook Monday afternoon to deny any connection to the racist organization.
“I’m not even sure this is worth responding to, but for the record: There is a list circulating online purporting to ‘out’ elected officials as members of the KKK. For reasons unfathomable to me or anyone who knows me, my name is on the list. Given my background, my interracial family, my public record and my personal beliefs, this would be hilarious except that it is probably being seen by a lot of people who have no idea who I am.”
Rogero then goes on to list several reasons, based on her personal life and her professional career, that would indicate that she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the KKK’s goals.
- Rogero began her career working with immigrant farm laborers; a cause that the KKK isn’t likely to be concerned with.
- She’s publicly supported LGBTQ rights and supports gay marriage (one of few Tennessee politicians to do so publicly).
- Rogero has “spent decades working for causes of social justice and equality.”
- She’s worked with an Obama administration initiative to help reduce violence among minority young men in inner cities.
The mayor of Knoxville is not the only politician to have supposedly been “outed” by Anonymous as supposedly belonging to the KKK, according to WBIR (Knoxville). Other politicians whose names have turned up on Anonymous’ list are Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson and Lexington, Kentucky, Mayor Jim Gray. Isakson’s office denied the allegations that he’s a member of the KKK, saying in a statement, “This information is absolutely false. Senator Isakson has never been affiliated with the KKK.” Lexington mayor Gray hasn’t publicly commented, as of this post, but since he’s openly gay, it’s highly unlikely that the KKK wants anything to do with him, either.
Rogero concluded her post by asking whoever posted that information with her name in it to remove it, then she threw in a little humor to lighten the mood.
“I strongly request that anyone associated with the creation and dissemination of this false and defamatory accusation retract it immediately. It is irresponsible and slanderous. (Although, on a positive note, I do appreciate that they are using a picture of me from 12 years ago. Very flattering!)”
[Image via Facebook]