Jennifer Mendiola: Donald Trump Trolls Target Facebook Memorial For Woman Missing In Oakland Fire

Jennifer Mendiola is missing and presumed killed in the Oakland warehouse fire that claimed dozens of lives, but the memorial Facebook page for the doctoral student generated another kind of controversy when it was attacked by Donald Trump-supporting trolls.

The missing woman, who also goes by Alana Kane, was last seen before last weekend’s tragic fire that tore through the Ghost Ship warehouse. Some family and friends started a Facebook page that both memorialized Mendiola and sought to gather clues about her disappearance. From there, someone linked to Mendiola’s personal page, Mediaite reported.

With the path to the missing woman’s page, some self-professed Donald Trump supporters attacked Mendiola for some of the stances she had taken, including her urging friend to sign a petition that called on universities not to participate with federal authorities when it comes to undocumented students.

Under the post, one person wrote, “sanctuary schools” f*** no. rip” and underneath that he wrote Trump2029. The same person targeted a post in which Mendiola discussed protests in Oakland against the election of Donald Trump.

In that same comment chain, another person wrote “Karma!! All these anti-TRUMP anarchists are burning in HELL quite literally I’d say!”

Mediaite noted that Jennifer Mendiola was not the only victim of the Oakland warehouse fire to be targeted by political trolls and that Donald Trump supporters were not the only ones doing the bullying. Another person wrote both on Mendiola’s page and one for another missing person, Hanna Ruax, posting #feelthebern.

This is not the first time that Donald Trump supporters have spread hateful and mocking messages to people in the midst of tragedy. A few weeks ago, trans woman Lizzy Waite committed suicide after leaving a suicide note on Facebook. The woman, who had been targeted by a hateful website in the past, again became a target for ridicule after her death, the Daily Beast reported.

“Lol good riddance,” wrote a user with the fake name “Oi McVeigh,” whose profile picture showed Donald Trump pointing and laughing.

Another person had a profile picture of Donald Trump’s face over the MGM lion and the word “haha” written over and over — a message that collected 29 “likes,” the Daily Beast reported. And a user named Donny J Trump posted another message, “#TRANSLIVESDONTMATTER.”

Family members said they were finally able to stop the abuse when they found an old computer that had Waite’s Facebook login information saved on it.

While the online memorial for Jennifer Mendiola has generated controversy, staff and students on the campus at UC Merced are remembering her as a bright student who was well-liked by peers. Staff at the school said that Mendiola, who was also known as Alana Kane, was a third-year psychology student pursuing her doctorate degree.

A report from KSFN-TV noted that students and school officials were dealing with a mix of anxiety over Mendiola being declared officially missing with anguish over the likelihood that she perished in the Oakland fire alongside her boyfriend.

“Everyone is just in shock we remain hopeful, but she is on the list of the missing,” noted university spokesperson Brenda Ortiz. “So, it’s just a sad time and we’re all concerned for her, her family and friends.”

“We have a close-knit campus community and when something happens to one of us, it affects us all,” Ortiz added.

Some friends and family of Jennifer Mendiola have tried to stop the online abuse from Donald Trump supporters, speaking out against the trolls on her Facebook page. But family members seem more focused on finding information about the still-missing woman and making pleas for her to reach out to them if she is able.

[Featured Image by Josh Edelson/AP Images]

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