Union fires officials linked to fake Black Lives Matter page

An Australian labor union says it has fired two officials after investigating their links to a fake Black Lives Matte...

Posted: Apr 11, 2018 3:39 PM
Updated: Apr 11, 2018 3:39 PM

An Australian labor union says it has fired two officials after investigating their links to a fake Black Lives Matter page on Facebook that attracted hundreds of thousands of followers, and took in money from donors.

The National Union of Workers said in a statement Wednesday that it was "deeply distressed and appalled" by the revelations in a CNN report this week that linked one of the officials -- Ian Mackay -- to the fake Facebook page and other online black rights sites.

"The NUW has launched an investigation into claims made by a CNN report and has terminated the officials concerned," it added.

A spokesperson for the union told CNN that it had "terminated" the job of Mackay -- a middle-aged white man -- and fired a second official, Ben Parker. Both held the title of "organizer" at the union, the spokesperson added.

The union, which represents thousands of workers in various industries, "is not involved in and has not authorized any activities with reference to claims made in CNN's story," National Secretary Tim Kennedy said in the statement.

CNN wasn't immediately able to reach Mackay or Parker for comment on Wednesday.

The Facebook page, titled simply "Black Lives Matter," had almost 700,000 followers, more than twice as many as the official Black Lives Matter page.

The scam page was tied to online fundraisers that brought in at least $100,000 that supposedly went to Black Lives Matter causes in the United States. At least some of the funds, however, were transferred to Australian bank accounts.

Related: The biggest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook is fake

Mackay denied running the Black Lives Matter page when CNN asked about his involvement last month. An anonymous Facebook profile under the name "BP Parker" was an administrator of that page until it was suspended, according to Facebook.

Ben Parker -- the other now fired official -- declined to answer questions last week about CNN's investigation.

Facebook suspended the fake Black Lives Matter page, but only after almost a week of exchanging emails and calls with CNN about the matter.

CNN reported on Monday that the Black Lives Matter page consistently linked to websites tied to Mackay, who has registered dozens of domains, many on issues tied to black rights.

In April 2015, he registered a site called blackpowerfist.com.

Mackay's name, email address, phone number and other details appeared in the registration records for the site until July 2015, when the website enabled a feature that allows site owners to hide their identities and contact information.

The Black Lives Matter Facebook page continually drove traffic to websites associated with blackpowerfist.com, which was eventually turned into a discussion forum.

A few days after Mackay registered blackpowerfist.com, "BP Parker" shared a link to the website.

The people behind the websites and the Facebook page encouraged people to donate through various online fundraising platforms.

Related: Zuckerberg unscathed after five-hour Senate grilling session

A source familiar with some of the payments processed said at least one of the accounts was tied to an Australian IP address and bank account. At least one fundraising account was tied to Ian Mackay by name, according to the source.

Another source also familiar with some of the payments processed told CNN that the group had raised around $100,000 that they were aware of.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network responded Tuesday to CNN's reporting. It said it was relieved that the fraudulent profiles had finally been taken down after repeated requests, and expressed hope that social media platforms would adopt protocols soon to prevent a repeat.

"We regret that so many people were deceived by the recent high profile scam into believing that their gifts and donations benefited us," it said in a statement.

Mackay did not provide answers to multiple questions from CNN about his apparent links to the scheme, saying that "domain name buying and selling is a personal hobby."

"I once bought the domain name only and sold it," he told CNN when asked about a Black Lives Matter website that was once registered to his name.

Mackay declined multiple opportunities to clarify his role.

-- Carly Walsh contributed reporting.

West Lafayette
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 34°
Kokomo
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
Rensselaer
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
Fowler
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
Williamsport
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 34°
Crawfordsville
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Frankfort
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Delphi
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 28°
Monticello
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 28°
Logansport
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 27°
Clouds Build Sunday Ahead Of Snow
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324537

Reported Deaths: 5594
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44186858
Lake28094462
Allen18660301
Elkhart17663230
St. Joseph17256234
Hamilton13612170
Vanderburgh10028121
Tippecanoe896729
Porter855386
Johnson6718169
Hendricks6412158
Vigo625889
Monroe550450
Clark531078
Madison5239122
Delaware5075103
LaPorte481196
Kosciusko475941
Howard364177
Bartholomew335365
Warrick335372
Floyd329478
Wayne325678
Marshall311846
Cass303931
Grant287150
Hancock272957
Noble264946
Henry256437
Boone255054
Dubois245631
Dearborn228231
Jackson226334
Morgan221243
Gibson194926
Knox193021
Shelby192656
Clinton185421
DeKalb183932
Lawrence183849
Wabash172821
Adams172422
Miami170815
Daviess163145
Fayette153734
Steuben153414
Jasper151713
Montgomery149327
Harrison147624
LaGrange146131
Ripley145815
Whitley142314
Huntington133510
Decatur132543
Putnam131128
White131022
Wells130130
Clay130023
Randolph128121
Posey125816
Jefferson124116
Scott114520
Greene106053
Sullivan102716
Jay101913
Starke95022
Jennings90414
Spencer8908
Fulton87519
Perry85121
Fountain8228
Washington8127
Franklin73427
Carroll71913
Orange70028
Vermillion6607
Owen6468
Tipton60327
Parke6026
Newton57812
Rush5708
Blackford56612
Pike52719
Pulaski41815
Martin3705
Benton3643
Brown3574
Crawford3081
Union2782
Switzerland2655
Warren2562
Ohio2387
Unassigned0266

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events