Anti-lockdown demonstrator falsely accused of holding white supremacist sign

The lies never end when it comes to demonizing conservatives.

On April 20, entrepreneurs and their supporters participated in simultaneous rallies in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg to send a message to Governor Wolf that it was time to safely reopen Pennsylvania businesses.  Organized by PA Small Businesses Against Governor Wolf Shutdown, the rallies boasted hundreds in Pittsburgh and in Harrisburg and were meant to send a clear message to Harrisburg: "Pennsylvanians want to get back to work again."  Governor Wolf ordered a shutdown of nonessential businesses in mid-March.

One of the drive-in participants in the rally to call for the reopening of the state was Jill Cooper of Murrysville, Pa.  Jill has been a longtime conservative activist since 2008.  She held the office of chair for the Westmoreland County Republican Party from 2012 to 2014 and is currently a Pennsylvania GOP Committee member.  She was twice a delegate to a GOP Convention and is currently running as a PA Trump campaign delegate.

Jill knows that small business is the heart and soul of this country and essential for economic growth.  With her background as a former executive director of the Murrysville Economic Community and Development Corporation, she shares a passion for small businesses and an understanding of their struggles.  Jill said she was very frustrated when she attempted a call to the Office of the Governor but ended up being routed to the Department of Health, only to discover she was being connected to a call center.  It was during her conversation with that call center that she realized she couldn't be sure they were logging her complaint and getting it to the governor.  Frustrated, it was then that she decided to join the rally to be sure her voice would be heard.

Her husband drove her to the rally so she could wave her homemade sign; "Free Small Business."  Andrew Rush, senior staff photographer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, photographed Jill with her sign.  It was later posted on his Twitter page (@andrewrush).  (Upper right corner — click on the photo to enlarge.)

On May 1 at 5:32 P.M., Talia Lavin, former writer for the New Yorker, posted the photo, but with a doctored sign that read, "Work Sets You Free."  A slogan on the sign posted above the Auschwitz concentration camp, "Arbeit Macht Frei," accompanied the forgery.  Andy Ngo tweeted out the fraud:

So who doctored the picture that Talia tweeted and has since been retweeted with the Nazi slogan?  Talia is currently pitching her new book on white supremacy online.  In a Twitter post, she writes, "I believe it is a first of its kind book that tells the grim story of hate's metastasis in the past half-decade with humor, courage, a first-person intimate perspective, and a guide to fighting back: 'Warlords, My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy.'" So convenient that a doctored photo should end up in her possession to help drive home her agenda. 

Until June of 2018, Talia was ironically a fact-checker for the New Yorker but resigned from her position after controversy surrounded several photos she posted on Twitter implying that ICE agent Justin Gaertner had a Nazi tattoo. Turned out the tattoo was from when he had served in Afghanistan.  It was a Titan 2 symbol for his platoon.

She was informed of her mistake and deleted her tweet.  As a follow-up, she tweeted; "To Justin Gaertner, I apologize, sincerely: all I saw in you was the photo ICE tweeted, and not the human being depicted inside it.  It was uncharitable, and the hasty deletion doesn't change that.  I'm sorry and I have voluntarily resigned after three years at the New Yorker."

Of the altered photo of her, Cooper said, "I felt violated when I saw the photo.  I couldn't believe that someone would blatantly doctor a photo of me to make me appear as a Nazi supporter.  How evil.  What has world come too [sic] if you lie and distort to get your false message out about Trump supporters and OPEN PA protesters.  I am just furious."  

It appears, sadly, that Jill Cooper, another "human being," has been treated unjustly, or, in Talia's words, in an "uncharitable" way.

We don't know who first doctored the original photo of Jill, but we do know that that doctored photo was tweeted by Talia and then retweeted many times over, with thousands of likes on her page alone.  Makes one wonder, doesn't it: just how many other examples in Talia's forthcoming book of white supremacy may have been altered or doctored?

Rose Tennent of Pennsylvania is on the Advisory Board for the Women for Trump Coalition and has been a prominent figure for 20 years as a syndicated conservative political talk show host. 2020 Delegate Candidate for PA  14th District. @rose_unplugged

If you experience technical problems, please write to