Did White House really ban a teen critic from Twitter?
Conservative 13-year-old YouTube sensation CJ Pearson claims to have been blocked by President Obama on Twitter. Critics say this wasn't the case.
On Wednesday, 13-year-old CJ Pearson claimed to his 38,5000 followers on Twitter that President Barack Obama had blocked him.
“Well, this sucks,” he writes in the accompanying text to a screenshot of the alleged block.
CJ isn’t the average middle-schooler with an active Twitter account. In February, the Georgia teenager created a YouTube video echoing the sentiments of a speech by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, challenging Mr. Obama and his love for America.
“President Obama, you don't love America. If you loved America, you would call ISIS what it is,” he says, “if you loved America, President Obama, you wouldn't try to take away what hard-working Americans have worked for their entire lives.”
The video garnered more than 2 million views, and it was enough to attract the attention of some of the GOP’s more important leaders. On Facebook, CJ is listed as a public figure. In May, he scored an interview with Sen. Ted Cruz (R) of Texas, and by September, CJ was the national chairman of “Teens for Ted,” a group supporting Cruz's 2016 presidential bid.
Earlier this month, another one of CJ’s videos went viral. Again addressing Obama, he voiced his frustration over the fact that the president had invited 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teen arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school, to the White House in the midst of an outbreak of violence against cops.
"Mr. President, when cops are being gunned down, you don’t invite their family to the White House," CJ says. "You never did. But when a Muslim kid builds a clock? Well, come on by."
Considering past tirades against the commander-in-chief, few seem surprised when CJ tweeted that Obama had blocked him.
Except the White House didn't block him.
Still, conservative websites pounced on it as a news item. In response, White House assistant press secretary Frank Benenati tweeted that CJ was wrong – that the @POTUS account has never blocked anyone on Twitter. This incited a two-minute rebuttal video from the teenager, who accuses the White House of lying.
"They lied about Benghazi," he says in the video. "They lied about the IRS. They lie about every issue of importance to the American people."
By Thursday, people were suspicious. First, it was pointed out that CJ was still following Obama after he had been alleged blocked, which contradicts Twitter policy. Twitter users cannot follow accounts that block them.
Next, online sleuths were able to link the screenshot that CJ had used to an identical one uploaded months ago. It had been proven fake since.
The text alignment of the screenshot was also fishy. Critics pointed out that the position of the “Learn more” text is slightly off.
When a reporter from TheBlaze reached out to CJ for the original image, Pearson did not respond. After the subsequent piece went live, he said in a Facebook post that he’s moving on from this incident.
"I'm not responding to fraudulent attacks on my character by the left nor RINOs," CJ writes. "My friend sent me the screenshot, since I accessed my account using his phone. I saw it with my own eyes. Time to move on."