In one of the weirdest stories to come out of the George Floyd Protests, conspiracy theorists believe they’ve identified an Antifa agitator in Columbus, Ohio as Aaron Dessner, guitarist for the popular indie-rock group The National.
The rumor started circulating when a video began circulating of a bearded man telling protestors “there’s more stuff… there’s three picnic tables up here” among other unintelligible words. The video began spreading when right-wing personalities began saying the video showed an “Antifa organizer” paying black people to riot.
Apparent Antifa organizer caught on camera appearing to pay some kids to riot. pic.twitter.com/JMYaJARfFF
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) May 31, 2020
Twitter users then shared tweets claiming the man in the video was Dessner, and the story spiraled from there.
That’s Aaron Dessner the guitarist for The National!
What’s he doing at the Race Riots? pic.twitter.com/W9VcylZwzb
— FortWorthPlayboy (@FWPlayboy) May 31, 2020
Dessner posted to social media that he is quarantining with his family in upstate New York and hasn’t been in Ohio in a year. He also stated that he does not condone violence and supports peaceful protests against endemic racism.
— Aaron Dessner (@aaron_dessner) May 31, 2020
Furthermore, the lawyer for the man in the circulating video, Taylor Waters, says the man was trying to gather supplies for those hurt by police violence.
“The poster removed the portion of the video which clearly demonstrates a request for supplies. My client was not inciting violence, my client was seeking supplies to help people who had been injured by police officers,” Waters told NBC4 News. “He did not pay anyone to cause property damage, break any law, or otherwise cause civil unrest.”
While conspiracy theorists continue to dog Dessner on social media, fans of his band The National, famous for its mopey songs about middle-class white male ennui, were more amused at the idea the band was actually radical anarchists.
in these conspiracy posts there’s one that talks about how The National’s music fires people up and encourages them to attack America which tells me absolutely none of these people have ever been to one of The National’s concerts https://t.co/pb38m6LwMh
— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) June 1, 2020
MAGA idiots have misidentified Aaron Dessner and are now living in fear of grammy award winning antifa super soldiers The National pic.twitter.com/TGt0RIFVyy
— death camp for cutie (@sleepwellbeast) May 31, 2020
Oh man, I’ve finally figured how to get that blue check https://t.co/l2C7bx3oBn
— Todd in the Shadows (@ShadowTodd) May 31, 2020
I’m still screaming that right wingers have convinced themselves Aaron Dessner from The National is in Antifa that’s so fucking funny
— Henny Hval (@kaylajea) June 1, 2020