False rumors claim Paul Pelosi brought abuser home from gay bar

Paul Pelosi brought home the man who attacked him with a hammer in October 2022 from a gay bar.

On the morning of October 28, 2022, a man broke into the San Francisco residence of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Only her 82-year-old husband Paul was at home. Police said the intruder severely hit Paul Pelosi with a hammer. The incident soon spawned a false conspiracy theory that claimed Pelosi brought the man who assaulted him home from a gay bar. The same rumor was then amplified in a tweet (now deleted) by Elon Musk just days after he reportedly took control of Twitter as its new owner.

It Was a Break-In

First, let’s establish some facts. On the same subject : Some Republicans fear the party’s extremes on abortion, gay rights. Based on police statements, The Associated Press reported that the attacker broke into Pelosi’s home:

An intruder with a hammer smashed his way through a back door into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco just before 2:30 a.m. Friday. The man confronted Paul Pelosi and shouted, “Where’s Nancy,” said a person familiar with the situation who was granted anonymity to speak about it.

Paul Pelosi called 911 himself and when police arrived they found him struggling with the attacker. The man managed to hit Pelosi with the hammer at least once before he was attacked by officers and arrested, police said.

Nancy Pelosi was in Washington at the time of the attack.

The New York Times reported that Paul Pelosi underwent surgery on the day of the attack “after suffering a fractured skull and serious injuries to his hands and right arm, according to a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi.”

In a news conference hours after the attack, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said of the crime: “Based on our investigations at the time, this was not an accidental act. That was on purpose. And it’s wrong. Our elected officials are here on the affairs of their cities, their counties, their states and this nation. Their families aren’t signing this to hurt themselves, and it’s wrong. And everyone should be disgusted by what happened this morning.

The attacker, a 42-year-old man named David DePape, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, elder abuse and burglary.

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The False ‘Male Prostitute’ Rumor

The day after the attack, the Santa Monica Observer website published an article headlined “The Horrific Truth: Paul Pelosi Was Drunk Again and Had a Fight With a Male Prostitute Early Friday Morning. Read also : ‘Horrifying’: Gay Men Face Health Crisis With Echoes of the Past.” The story claimed, without any evidence, that Pelosi met DePape at a gay bar and took him to his home.

The “drunk again” portion of the headline referred to Pelosi’s arrest in May 2022 for drinking and driving. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five days in prison and three years probation.

The article, which in the author’s “humble opinion” is meant to describe “what really happened,” claimed, again without evidence, that DePape was a “male prostitute.”

The story also stated that DePape was a “former Castro nudist protester,” a claim bolstered by reports from The Associated Press, which described DePape as “a two-decade-old San Francisco Bay Area resident” who ” was known locally as a pro-nude activist who had picketed naked in protests against laws requiring people to be clothed in public.”

The day after the Observer published its “modest opinion article,” an update was added at the top of the article that read: “Update 10/30: In response to this story, San Francisco Police Department said today that the victim was Pelosi and the suspect DePape They didn’t know each other before the attack. SFPD reiterated that the attack followed a burglary.”

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Musk Deletes Tweet Amplifying Rumor

Two days after the attack, and on the same day the Observer added the one-sentence update to his story saying he contradicted police reports, Musk, who has over 100 million followers on Twitter, tweeted a link to that very article . On the same subject : Opinion | Gay men deserve the unvarnished truth about monkey cups.

The AP noted that the same publication “previously claimed that Hillary Clinton died on 9/11 and was replaced by a body double,” which was incorrect. Perhaps by coincidence, Musk’s tweet promoting the Observer article was in response to another tweet by Hillary Clinton:

Musk [replied] to a tweet from Hillary Clinton. Her tweet had criticized Republicans for spreading “hate and deranged conspiracy theories” across the board, saying, “It’s shocking but not surprising that violence is the result.”

In response to Clinton’s tweet, Musk provided a link to the Santa Monica Observer article, adding, “There’s a tiny possibility there could be more to this story than meets the eye.”

The Los Angeles Times, the dominant news organization in the Southern California region where the Observer is located, said the Observer was “notorious for fake news.”

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‘Break Her Kneecaps’

Three days after the attack, The AP released new details about DePape. According to federal sources, the attacker told authorities he broke into the home to fracture Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps:

The man accused of attacking the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer told police he wanted to hold the Democratic leader hostage and “break her kneecaps” to show other members of Congress that there are “consequences for their actions,” the authorities said on Monday.

In a chilling federal complaint, officials say David DePape, 42, with zip ties and duct tape in a backpack, broke into the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday morning, went upstairs to where 82-year-old Paul Pelosi was sleeping, and demanded it Talk to “Nancy”.

When a surprised Paul Pelosi told the intruder she wasn’t there, DePape said he would wait — even after being told she wouldn’t be home for a few days. The attacker then began removing ties to tie him up, the ad said.

The federal motion stands in contrast to the derisive jokes and conspiracy theories about the Pelosi attack being peddled by far-right figures and even some top Republicans just a week before the hard-fought midterm elections. The district attorney and the San Francisco police chief said the attack was intentional.

At the time of this writing on October 31, Paul Pelosi remained hospitalized in San Francisco.

green stan “The Horrifying Truth: Paul Pelosi was drunk again and had an argument with a male prostitute early Friday morning.” Santa Monica Observer, Oct. 29, 2022, https://www.smobserved.com/story/2022/10/29/news/the-awful-truth-paul-pelosi-was-drunk-again-and-in- a -quarrel-with-a-male-prostitute-early-friday-morning/7191.html.

Mascaro, Lisa and Stefanie Dazio. “Police: Pelosi suspect wanted to break speaker’s knee.” The Associated Press, Oct. 31, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/twitter-inc-san-francisco-conspiracy-theories-nancy-pelosi-congress-e2d8fc90553c24b5e5162e02e6378321.

Ortutay, Barbara et al. “AP sources: Musk takes control of Twitter, ousting top executives.” The Associated Press, Oct. 26, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/elon-musk-twitter-inc-technology-business- san-francisco-ee1e283ff873813524ff21b0a7751b47.

“Report: Police sources say suspect in Paul Pelosi attack had zip ties and tape.” CBS News Oct 30, 2022 https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/news/report-police-sources-paul-pelosi-attack-suspect-david-depape-had-zip-ties-duct-tape / .

Ruger, Christopher. “Musk tweets link to baseless conspiracy theory.” The Associated Press, Oct. 30, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/elon-musk-twitter-inc-technology-san-francisco-d1db5688e11f0b7a82fb4a815f8149f6.

SFPD chief Scott with additional details on Paul Pelosis attack. KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmKNrSdCKk4.

Drossel, Glenn, et al. “Intruder attempted to fracture Speaker Pelosi’s kneecaps, federal complaint states.” The New York Times, Oct. 31, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/31/us/pelosi-home-attack- suspect-charged.html.

“What is known of the attack on Speaker Pelosis’ husband.” The Associated Press, Oct. 29, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/arrests-california-san-francisco-1582f7f07e277d65ce445c39de9a8bca.