Actor James Woods tweeted a photo of a poster that says “Pedophiles Are People Too,” and he seems to be of the belief that the poster is part of a real campaign to legitimize pedophilia. Others, however, believe that the poster (or posters; it’s not clear if there are more than just the one) is part of a hoax or, even worse, a “false flag” operation by the so-called “alt-right.”
James Woods, as you may know, is one of the few openly conservative actors in the TV and movie industry, and he’s never been one to shy away from publicizing his views on the issues via social media. And so it was that on Tuesday, James posted an image of a poster, bearing the traditional rainbow colors of the LGBTQ flag, showing a cartoon image of an adult overflowing with love for a child, and captioned “Pedophiles Are People Too.” Woods captioned his tweet “And so it begins,” perhaps suggesting that he believes the poster is legit.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s take a look at the facts and then look at the speculation.
Is The Poster Real?
It is. As KATU-TV (Portland) reports, the sign was spotted near Willamette Primary School in West Linn, in suburban Portland, before quickly being taken down by neighbors.
Is There Really A Movement Afoot By The LGBTQ Community To Legitimize Pedophilia?
The answer to that question will, of course, depend on whom you ask. It has long been the belief of some anti-LGBTQ individuals and organizations that homosexuality and pedophilia go hand in hand. And it’s a belief that the LGBTQ community wholly rejects.
Cameron Whitten, executive director of Portland LGBTQ advocacy group Q Center, says that the sign is intended to portray negative stereotypes about the LGBTQ community.
“It’s just very clear that this message was meant to stigmatize and stereotype LGBTQ people. At a time when we are facing homophobia, transphobia, it is not helpful for these kinds of harmful messages to be disseminated out.”
So It’s An Alt-Right False Flag Then?
That’s the $64,000 question, as the old saying goes.
A “false flag,” for those not familiar with the term, means (in this context anyway) an attempt to advocate for an extremist idea or belief and then make it look like one’s opponents are responsible for it. And it’s a technique that’s been used before by the alt-right.
For example, as Buzzfeed News reported in 2017, alt-right speaker Mike Cernovich was invited to speak at Columbia University and was met by protests. Alt-right agents showed up at the protest with a sign that said, in part, “No Pedo Bashing,” an attempt at painting Cernovich’s opponents as supporting pedophilia.
Cernovich himself failed to realize that the sign was planted in order to make his protesters look like pedophiles. He tweeted a photo of the sign, without context. None other than Donald Trump Jr. “liked” the tweet.
Of course, it may very well be that there is, in fact, a movement afoot to legitimize pedophilia and that agents of that movement did, in fact, put up a poster in Portland, advocating their position. But the alt-right’s history of carrying out false flag operations would suggest that that’s not the case.