An anti-abortion activist from Wisconsin reportedly saw his social media campaign turned into a “mocking joke” in part by Planned Parenthood supporters who sought to undercut his social media outreach efforts.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Cary Bogue, 56, who is studying to be a pastor, aimed to start a conversation about abortion and Planned Parenthood by organizing a Facebook event on Saturday called Project Wildlife. Bogue told the newspaper he was seeking to counter a mentality that having an abortion is “no more significant than brushing your teeth” and to spread anti-abortion awareness.
About a dozen people posted inappropriate content on Bogue’s Facebook event page the night before Project Wildfire began, however, and an accompanying hashtag on Twitter — #ExposePP — began trending nationally, with many users posting sarcastic tweets blaming Planned Parenthood for everything from not saving Americans in Benghazi to causing hurricanes, the newspaper reports.
“They turned it into a mocking joke,” Bogue told the newspaper.
Tanya Atkinson, vice president of public affairs and community education at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, told the newspaper that the organization was aware of Bogue’s social media campaign, adding that not all of the messages were sarcastic.
“The grassroots response we saw to #ExposePP shows the support paths out there for Planned Parenthood and reproductive health care,” she told the newspaper. “We saw supporters coming forward with their stories about positive impacts and we saw there were tongue-in-cheek comments as well.”
More than 5,000 people were invited to the anti-Planned Parenthood Facebook event and roughly 300 joined, Bogue said.
“It wasn’t as big as we hoped, but it was respectable,” he said. “We wanted to say things we know are true.”
The so-called “hijacking” of hashtags and causes is not a new phenomenon, but Bogue said his Twitter account was hacked and adding that his wife was also personally targeted online.
“This was the best thing that could have happened,” he said. “They were calling it ‘Project Backfire,’ but it didn’t backfire because they’re the ones that made it a No. 1 trend and made fools of themselves.”