- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 16, 2013) — Dr. Gordon (Chaps) Klingenschmitt, who runs an online ministry with a YouTube channel and daily newsletters, spoke with The Post & Email at 12:10 p.m. EDT on Friday regarding online death threats against him made by members of the group Right Wing Watch.
In this morning’s newsletter, Pastor Klingenschmitt asked for media coverage, to which The Post & Email responded shortly after 7:00 a.m. EDT to ask for an interview.
Klingenschmitt told The Post & Email that he contacted Right Wing Watch but had not received notification from them or its parent agency, People for the American Way, that any action had been taken to remove the posts.
Klingenschmitt said he first learned of the threats at approximately 1:00 a.m. local time on Friday and sent out the newsletter detailing them at about 3:00 a.m.
A total of six commenters left threatening posts, one of whom wrote that Klingenschmitt “needs a .45 caliber renovation.”
“Those kinds of internet posts are inappropriate, and they’re not safe,” Klingenschmitt said. He said he is taking the threats “very seriously” and has called the FBI.
Two of the posters asked, “Can we murder this guy?” Klingenschmitt reported.
“Right now they’ve had more than three business hours to act, and they’ve refused to act. The posts are still there, and I’m going to start calling authorities. They can have an opinion, but sadly, they’re now threatening to murder me. Death threats do not fall under the First Amendment.”
Klingenschmitt said he is asking the leadership of People for the American Way, and specifically, President Michael B. Keegan and Chairman Lara Bergthold, to see that the posts are removed. “They are now accessories after the fact,” he said. “They are complicit in this. They are allowing their people to call for the assassination of ‘right-wing’ leaders. I don’t think that’s in their charter; it’s not what their donors want, and they will held accountable to the law.”
During the interview, Klingenschmitt called People for the American Way at 202-467-4999. The call can be heard here: DM420653_B_A and is truncated only to redact Chaplain Klingenschmitt’s telephone number.
Klingenschmitt said that his friends and family “are very concerned” about the threats.
PFAW President Michael Keegan has written columns for The Huffington Post.
Update, 2:50 p.m. EDT: The Post & Email contacted People for the American Way, connecting with its press office. We left a message for Miranda Blue inquiring as to the position of PFAW on the death threats made against Dr. Klingenschmitt and whether or not they plan on removing them.
RWW routinely places its website name on Klingenschmitt’s videos without obtaining permission.
One commenter urged anyone who has seen the threats to Klingenschmitt to report them to authorities:
As of 3:08 p.m. EDT, the threats remained but cannot be reproduced here because of their heavy profanity and racism. The comments at the site often contain obscenities.
At 3:13 p.m. EDT, The Post & Email recontacted RWW through its contact form and included the above threat, asking if the organization planned on taking any action.