Actor George Takei made some controversial (and since-deleted) claims about Russian bots on Twitter. He says that automated accounts have been re-posting articles that detail the alleged abuse he committed as a retaliation for speaking out against Putin.
Former model Scott Brunton claims that Takei groped his genitals while he was unconscious at a party in 1981. Takei denied the allegations immediately, but audio of him discussing a similar incident on an episode of The Howard Stern show surfaced.
Takei then issued a series of tweets on the virality of the story, saying that it was a manufactured trend created by Russian accounts.
“A friend sent me this. It is a chart of what Russian bots have been doing to amplify stories containing the allegations against me. It’s clear they want to cow me into silence, but do not fear friends. I won’t succumb to that," said Takei.
“By way of background, when I criticized Putin’s anti-LGBT policies publicly, Russian bots attacked my FB page relentlessly, and we had to develop special security measures and ban all traffic from within the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. I am accustomed to their practices," he continued in a second tweet.
The usage of bots on Twitter has been a widely explored topic in relation to the United States 2016 presidential election and has called into question the country's propaganda program, which may be influencing American media consumption.
Despite this, many seemed outraged by the suggestion, which puts culpability elsewhere:
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