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State Museum Board Member: Racist posts on my Facebook timeline are result of hack

7 months 2 days 1 hour ago Thursday, June 25 2020 Jun 25, 2020 June 25, 2020 5:55 AM June 25, 2020 in News
Source: The Advocate

BATON ROUGE - A Louisiana official is claiming that a disturbing social media post on her timeline was the result of a hacker accessing her Facebook account.

According to The Advocate, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser has said he believes state museum board member, Aleta Leckett, but that he still wants to investigate her claim to be sure of its accuracy.

Nungesser said, "When you’re a representative for a state board, you need to keep some comments to yourself.” He added that such comments, if actually made by the board member, would result in dismissal.

The posts on Leckett's Facebook timeline that drew attention included a lengthy post criticizing Democratic Party funder George Soros, claiming he and his family collaborated with the Nazis in their Hungarian homeland.

But the post that attracted the most attention was one that questioned what “privileged” meant in today’s world by listing such things as the unemployed wearing $200 sneakers and $300 headphones as well as living in public subsidized housing, receiving free health insurance and having access to college funding “that supports only your race.”

Nungesser emphasized that he doesn't believe Leckett authored the posts, saying, “I know this lady was an educator for 30 years. I’ve only known her as a gracious lady.” 

Some question this as in the past Leckett has used her email account to distribute numerous articles in support of right-wing narratives.

On May 27, for instance, she forwarded an article scolding the mainstream media for not reporting that the rightest government of Italy had turned communist because of COVID-19. In December 2019, she forwarded a YouTube video of a commentator who said the cost of dealing with undocumented immigrants in California would lead to the collapse of the United States economy.

When elaborating on his reasons for launching an investigation into Leckett's claim that her Facebook account was hacked, Nungesser said, "We’re at a time right now when we have to sit down with people who are critical of the police and with the police, who I support. Comments like these don’t help pull us together.”

The incident is occurring at a critical juncture in Louisiana's, and America's history. A country with a background of enslaving African Americans and then officially emancipating these individuals into questionable circumstances involving limited access to employment, health care, education, and housing has come under scrutiny. Many are questioning the country's skewing of historical events associated with its treatment of Blacks as well as its current attitude towards Black Americans. 

Since the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by a white police officer, public outcry against inequality and oppression has led to the removal of various monuments and namesakes in honor of the old Confederacy and Jim Crow across the South. New Orleans is renaming streets, LSU is renaming campus buildings, and decades-old statues are being brought down. 

On Tuesday, Leckett sent fellow members of the Louisiana State Museum Board an email Tuesday claiming that she didn’t write the racist Facebook post attributed to her. She attached part of an email from Facebook security alerting her that someone had signed into her account from a location she didn’t “usually use.”

“I wrote FB a very stern letter and expressed my anger since I have gotten repercussions from all of this,” she wrote her board colleagues.

“My account was hacked,” Leckett said Wednesday.

“That is not my view or the views of the board,” she said about the post, which appeared sometime over the weekend.

Leckett said she was restricted by her lawyer on what she could say about the matter. But she claimed Facebook had two accounts in her name, one of which she didn’t know about and couldn’t access. She wasn’t quite sure what happened.

Some board members spoke on condition they not be identified publicly and said the issue about what to do with Leckett has been about the only subject of conversation since the postings. They said the board’s office in the Presbytére had received numerous calls complaining about the posts starting Monday morning, which Nungesser confirmed. But the Board’s executive committee didn’t return calls seeking comment over a two-day period.

The 21 members of the board oversee the state museums under the lieutenant governor’s authority, which include the Capital Park facility in the shadow of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, the Cabildo and Madame John’s Legacy in the New Orleans French Quarter.

Leckett was appointed in January 2011 by then Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne to represent the E.D. White Historic Site near Thibodaux. The site is the plantation home of a governor prior to the Civil War and his son, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court for 27 years mostly at the beginning of the 20th Century, the last 11 as chief justice.

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