A Zoom meeting between state legislators in Iowa was interrupted by a group of trolls and you won’t believe what they said.
Spoiler: It was the n-word. They said the n-word. Repeatedly.
According to WQAD, the incident came only one week after Iowa’s Democratic Black Caucus were the targets of a similar incident. State Rep. Marti Anderson was hosting the meeting on Saturday that was meant to be between constituents and four local lawmakers in the Des Moines area. At about 40 minutes into the meeting one of the trolls began to yell racist and sexist slurs aimed at the legislators. Anderson described the trolls as “anonymous scoundrels who were intent on spewing hateful, vulgar language at us.”
“I don’t think these people would have come forth if we were having an in-person meeting,” Rep. Anderson told WQAD.
While many of the participants were shocked by the use of racial slurs, State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, a Black man, was not terribly surprised. “You know, being called the ‘n-word’ isn’t something that just happened in 2021,” Rep. Abdul-Samad said. “It was good for me in a way, that individuals of another ethnicity were able to see what Black people have been going through for decades.”
Rep. Abdul-Samad was the one to bring composure back to the situation and reassure the lawmakers and constituents in attendance.
“We are fighting a good fight. We are doing a struggle. Because if we were not, we wouldn’t have individuals trying to interrupt this call,” Rep. Abdul-Samad told participants as the meeting drew to a close. “We’re forging ahead, while they’re trying to live in the past.”
Why do we always have to be the ones giving words of sage advice in the wake of white foolishness? Just one time I want to read about a Black man or woman in one of these situations being like “I don’t know what to tell you, b. That’s on y’all.”
Rep. Anderson has reached out to an investigator at the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigations. While it’s unclear what, if any, charges can be brought against the people responsible, Anderson told WQAD that she simply wants to find who was responsible for the harassment.
“Whatever the charges might be, it’s not important to me. It’s important to me that they know that they were caught,” Anderson told WQAD.
As the pandemic has seen many people turn to using Zoom and other video conferencing sites for their meeting needs, this has unfortunately led to the rise of “Zoombombing,” where uninvited assholes crash a person’s meeting and say the most predictably foul shit. Just last month, a virtual memorial for Phoenix-based civil rights activist Calvin C. Goode was interrupted by hackers yelling racial slurs.