What is Gab? A look at the far-right social media platform backing Doug Mastriano
“This conspiracy theory has motivated terrorist attacks such as the ones committed in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, El Paso, and Christchurch,” New Zealand, Goretsky said in an email to City & State. “Our research shows that white supremacists continue to use fringe sites like Gab as a forum to cultivate extremism, which can result in horrifying violence.”
How is Doug Mastriano connected to Gab?
Mastriano paid Gab $5,000 in April for consulting-related expenses, which Torba has said did not go toward any consulting services, but instead paid for ads on the platform. Torba has also endorsed Mastriano’s campaign for governor, calling him “a strong Christian man to lead PA out of the pit of hell and into the glory of God.”
Mastriano used Gab to promote his campaign, posting about both his political priorities and Shapiro, his general election opponent. His association with the platform prompted backlash from Democrats, both Republican and Democratic Jewish organizations, and members of Mastriano’s own political party.
Beginning in mid-July, Shapiro’s campaign routinely called on Mastriano to disavow the comments being posted on his Gab profile, with Shapiro calling Mastriano “dangerous” during a July appearance on MSNBC.
“He never speaks up and says those antisemitic or racist or outright extremist posts have no place in his campaign. Instead, he’s embracing them. He’s bringing them into his campaign,” Shapiro said, adding that Mastriano is “dangerous” and “extreme.”
Mastriano, who rarely responds to inquiries from traditional news outlets, did not respond to an inquiry about his payment to Gab. Mastriano has since denounced antisemitism and appeared to distance himself from Torba. In a statement released last week, Mastriano said he rejects antisemitism “in any form.” He appeared to delete his Gab account shortly thereafter, and proceeded to frame Shapiro as an extremist, saying a Shapiro administration would lead to inflation, crime, lockdowns and mandates.
Photo Credit: Screenshot / Justin Sweitzer
In a separate statement on his Gab profile, Torba said he does not work for Mastriano’s campaign and that he is also not a consultant for the gubernatorial hopeful.
Torba went on to defend his views toward Jews and Christian nationalism, the latter of which is the belief that the U.S. was founded as an explicitly Christian nation. “We must be grounded in Biblical Truth and led by people who call Christ their King,” he said.
Even though Mastriano has appeared to sign off of Gab for the time being, he’s still active on other platforms, such as Facebook, where his live streams regularly pull in thousands of views. There are also more than 50 Facebook fan groups dedicated to Mastriano’s campaign, including one for most counties in the state, the largest of which boasts more than 18,000 members.
Originally published at www.penncapital-star.com,by Special to the Capital-Star