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Rogero and the Order of the Anonymous Hood

It should be noted at the outset that this article is not to accuse Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero of being involved with the Ku Klux Klan.  Nor is the purpose of this article to suggest otherwise and defend her membership if she is in fact a part of the Klan.  The following is solely a documentation of the events as they have happened as of this writing.  

Monday morning, a series of documents leaked to Paste bin allegedly from the hacktivist group Anonymous.  This set of documents contained emails and phone numbers of members associated with the Ku Klux Klan, which Anon had set out to "unhood" via an action called "OperationKKK."  The two groups had been at war with one another since the death of Michael Brown and the protests/riots in Ferguson, and Anonymous had promised to "out" the members of what the referred to as a "terrorist organization."  

Another Paste bin document listed a number of political figures affiliated with the Klan.  One of those names was Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, stating that she was "affiliated" with a group called the Church of the Ku Klos Klan, an organization with a national office in Church Hill, Tennessee.  

Anonymous distanced themselves from this post initially through their OperationKKK account, saying that they didn't post "unverified" information.  However, that tweet was deleted quickly.  

Mayor Rogero caught wind of the story quickly and posted the following to Facebook: 


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.

So, just to be clear, for anyone who doesn’t know me: Don’t be ridiculous. I began my political career working for the rights of farm workers with Cesar Chavez. I have spent decades working for causes of social justice and equality. As Mayor, I have pushed for diversity in our workforce and outreach to and inclusion of people of all backgrounds in our community. In concert with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, I began the Save Our Sons initiative to increase opportunities and reduce violence-related deaths among boys and young men of color. I have advocated publicly for LGBT civil rights, and I was the only mayor in Tennessee to sign onto the mayors’ amicus brief for the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court’s marriage equality case. In short, I don’t think the KKK would want anything to do with me.

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!

More will continue to come forward as the story develops, and I will continue to update here.  
But for now, there's a few interesting points to be made.  

First, Anonymous isn't exactly known for being loose with their information.  They have screwed up in the past and will probably continue to screw up on things, but the steps they go through to get this info are pretty dangerous and rigorous to find.  They know they're publishing information that will be used to get at people later on and ruin lives.  It stands to reason there's some legs to that.  

Second, the application on the organization's web site requires quite personal data for someone to become a member.  They don't even do email addresses; you have to print the application off, include a color copy of your driver license, and send ten dollars to the "National Office" in Church Hill.  If this were a hoax, then someone would have to take elaborate steps to put this together.  

Third, and in the interests of fairness, there's no verification on Paste bin of Rogero's actual status.  It's merely a listing and a designation of affiliation.  That's a pretty fast and loose comment to make without providing the actual documentation showing Mayor Rogero is part of the Klan.  

Fourth, if this information is true then it does run counter to everything Mayor Rogero has done in the past with her political and professional career.  I don't see how someone who's taken the positions she has in the past would be able to square her positions with being a part of the Klan.  Her family structure also doesn't exactly scream "white power" or "white separatist" unless the Klan has decided to expand its membership to Hispanic groups.  

We will see how this story develops.  As of now, I don't think it's shut down, but there's a nagging sense of doubt to this info.  


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