On Friday, authorities arrested a St. Louis man suspected of making at least eight bomb threats to multiple Jewish Community Centers across the country.
The disturbing story of a recent wave of threats against Jewish centers and schools has gained national prominence, resulting in widespread speculation about who exactly the phone terrorist could be. One narrative promoted by various left-wing publications was that the source of the threats almost certainly came from the ranks of the left's favorite villains, Donald Trump supporters.
Well, it turns out that the suspect, Juan Thompson, is anything but a Trump fan. Instead, he appears to be an unhinged, radical leftist. In fact, one of the left-wing outlets that chided Trump for refusing to "accept that his allies are targeting Jews" was Thompson's former employer. While his motives are still being investigated, he was also charged with cyber-stalking his Jewish ex-girlfriend, which might have something to do with his anti-Jewish threats.
Below are six things you need to know about Thompson.
1. He Is A Disgraced Former Left-Wing Journalist
Thompson was once a "journalist" for left-wing publication The Intercept, co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, an Edward Snowden ally. In 2015, Thompson was fired by the outlet amid accusations by the publication that he had produced multiple falsified stories. Here is an excerpt from the Intercept's announcement that they had dumped Thompson:
The Intercept recently discovered a pattern of deception in the actions of a staff member. The employee, Juan Thompson, was a staff reporter from November 2014 until last month. Thompson fabricated several quotes in his stories and created fake email accounts that he used to impersonate people, one of which was a Gmail account in my name.
An investigation into Thompson’s reporting turned up three instances in which quotes were attributed to people who said they had not been interviewed. In other instances, quotes were attributed to individuals we could not reach, who could not remember speaking with him, or whose identities could not be confirmed. In his reporting Thompson also used quotes that we cannot verify from unnamed people whom he claimed to have encountered at public events. Thompson went to great lengths to deceive his editors, creating an email account to impersonate a source and lying about his reporting methods.
Thompson was very briefly employed by another publication, Media Blackout USA, in September 2016, but fired after publishing only a handful of stories after they learned about his past. The site told Riverfront Times that while he didn't do anything wrong with them, "we can't be affiliated with someone who writes fake reports."
2. He Fabricated An Interview With Racist Murderer Dylann Roof's "Cousin"
The most egregious fake news story Thompson penned for the Intercept concerned Dylann Roof, the racist lunatic who murdered nine people meeting for a Bible study simply because they were African-American. Thompson's report made national news in large part because he claimed that he had spoken with the cousin of Roof.
"Scott Roof, who identified himself as Dylann Roof's cousin, told me over the telephone that 'Dylann was normal until he started listening to that 'white power music stuff,'" Thompson wrote in a story published June 18, 2015, a day after Roof's heinous act. "He also claimed that 'he kind of went over the edge when a girl he liked started dating a black guy two years back.'"
"Dylann liked her," Thompson claimed Scott Roof said. "The black guy got her. He changed. I don't know if we would be here if not..."
Thompson's juicy addition of a racially charged "spurned lover" angle immediately went viral, but as The Riverfront Times explains, "There was only one problem. It was a lie."
Two relatives later told the Intercept the embarrassing news that Roof has no cousin named Scott. "And a story-by-story review of the young writer's work ultimately convinced the site's leadership that the cousin had been only one of Thompson's inventions," writes RFT.
3. He Blamed Racism For His Firing
Despite the hard evidence that he was clearly fired for producing fabricated stories, Thompson blamed racism for his career meltdown. RFT reports. "Thompson claimed that racism had led to his ouster from the left-leaning site, but the RFT's investigation turned up several other problems with his reporting, going back to his first days in journalism writing for his college newspaper," RFT reports.
4. He Has Been Charged with Cyber-Stalking his Jewish Ex-Girlfriend
Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro sums up what appears to be at least part of Thompson's motive for the bomb threats: harassing his Jewish ex-girlfriend:
Thompson is suspected of being a copycat – of hearing about the JCC phone calls and then conducting his own campaign of phone terrorism. According to the FBI, Thompson dated a Jewish woman; after their relationship ended, he sent defamatory emails and faxes to the woman’s employer. He then stalked her. After that, he made “at least eight JCC Threats nationwide as part of his campaign” against his ex-girlfriend. He then tried to blame the woman in order to have her prosecuted; he tweeted, “Know any good lawyers? Need to stop this nasty/racist #whitegirl I dated who sent a bomb threat in my name & wants me to be raped in jail.”
The Daily Caller provides some more details:
The criminal complaint references a tweet from Thompson that said, “Know any good lawyers? Need to stop this nasty/racist [white girl] I dated who sent a bomb threat in my name & wants me to be raped in jail.”
“I’m been tormenting by an anti-semite named Francesca Rossi,” the account also tweeted. “She works for [Housing and Services inc]. She sent an antijewish bomb threat in my name. Help.”
Thompson also tweeted about the Jewish Community Center threats as recently as this past week. “Another week, another round of threats against Jewish ppl. In the middle of the day, you know who’s at a JCC? Kids. KIDS,” the former reporter wrote Monday.
5. He Espoused Far-Left and Anti-Trump Sentiments On His Social Media Account
The Daily Caller reports that "Thompson’s Twitter account, which is referenced in the criminal complaint, espouses communist and anti-Trump beliefs. Several tweets from the Twitter account are mentioned in the criminal complaint." In one of his anti-Trump messages, Thompson declares: "[Trump] is not insane. That’s a slur against ppl who actually suffer w/mental health issues. He is simply a racist/sexist/capitalist monster." He also tweeted the fake claim that Trump is actively attempting to "remove black ppl from the southside of Chicago." Thompson said online that he "voted for Bernie Sanders."
6. He Might Be Mentally Unstable
So far the evidence paints the picture of a man who is an unhinged, pathological liar rather than some ideological zealot. Perhaps that will change as more details emerge, but his bizarre pattern of fabricating stories, his apparent obsession with his ex-girlfriend, and his detached-from-reality reaction to the events of his life suggest he might have deep psychological issues.
This article has been expanded and reformatted.