A man by the name of Daniel Waldrop (who granted us permission to use his name) told us his harrowing story about the ethics of the Huffington Post and how they led to threats against his wife.
Here is Waldrop’s version of the story:
“One night I was at home bored and scrolling through Facebook. Earlier that day I had a counseling session (I’m a veteran who attends weekly counseling for support) and one of the things my counselor told me to try was reaching out to other veterans and offer support and to refer resources. So while on Facebook I searched for veteran posts and pages to look around. I came across a post by an African American female who said that she had not gotten any of the benefits she was promised. Her post went on to say ” Fuck Whypipo (white people) I bet if I was white they would have given me my benefits.”
I commented on her post and asked her if she had visited or reached out to a VA or to Operation Standdown (it’s an organization that helps veterans with literally everything in their life.) She responded by telling me that because she is black she hasn’t gotten anything. To which I responded “I don’t know about all that. I don’t think you being black has anything to do with it. Did you get out honorably?” She responded to this by tagging a Facebook group called White Nonsense Roundup and asked them to “Come collect y’alls confused cousin.” The Facebook group responded and told me that because I am white I’m inherently racist and that it’s my job to become educated and to educate other white people on this matter.
I responded with “Look, you were in the military. You know the only color that matters is green. We don’t play that race shit.” At this point, the veteran I was speaking with left the conversation and White Nonsense Roundup took over. They kept spewing nonsense about all white people being racist and benefiting from white privilege. I asked them, “isn’t saying all white people are racist the same as saying all Asians are good at math? Didn’t MLK say to not judge people based on the color of their skin but rather the content of their character?”, and I tagged my mother in the conversation.
She is a very loving, very open arms woman who truly couldn’t care less what color people are as long as they are good people. The conversation ended and I moved on.
A few days later I received a Facebook message from a stranger telling me that Huffington Post found out about this story (the African American veteran reached out to them and while remaining anonymous accused me of being racist and mansplaining military benefits).
The stranger provided a link and archived copy to me that showed Huffington Post took a screenshot of the conversation (between me and White Nonsense Roundup) and didn’t blur my or my mother’s Facebook name.
In the article, I was referred to by the veteran I was trying to help as “this racist dude” who jumped into her post. I was shocked when I saw my name and read the article. Over the next few days, my mother and I began to receive hateful messages on Facebook from strangers. One even said they were going to “r*pe your wife until she loves black d***.” It ended with me completely deleting and deactivating my entire Facebook page.
All I wanted to do was help a veteran. I didn’t see her as a black woman. I saw her as a sister in arms who needed help. She saw me as an evil racist white man. I hate to say it, but it’s hard for me to want to help anyone ever again if it means enduring more of this.”