OCALA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The so-called “hacktivist” group Anonymous is releasing up to 1,000 names of individuals they claim are tied to the Ku Klux Klan. Some of the names began to leak onto the Internet on Monday. On the list are several politicians, including one from Central Florida, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn. Guinn adamantly denies any involvement with the KKK.
In a press release last week, Anonymous said it is right for the group to unveil the hoods behind the Ku Klux Klan. Anonymous said it has been watching the group for so long and revealing the people behind the hoods is “the right course of action.”
“You are more than extremists. You are more than a hate group. You operate much more like terrorists and you should be recognized as such,” the group said in the press release.
So when a partial list naming Ocala's Mayor Kent Guinn and other mayors and senators came out online, Mayor Guinn says he was so upset, he felt compelled to call a news conference on Monday afternoon to clear his name, or try to. So, in front of a crowd of about 50, Mayor Guinn addressed the online allegation that he has ties to the KKK.
Guinn said, "I'm not now, nor have I ever been, nor would I ever be, a member of that group. I despise everything they stand for... I don't have a racist bone in my body. It's just very upsetting."
Anonymous claims to have hacked into Twitter accounts to get Guinn's information, and that of four other mayors and four U.S. senators to date, but has not cited any specific accounts at this point.
Guinn said, "I guess I won't be the only one along with other ones they targeted. It's just sad. It's the world we live in... I have to deal with it... very sad."
Guinn later challenged those behind the claims to come out in public. "Just identify yourself, why hide behind social media. Come out and tell us who you are." Mayor Guinn invited FOX 35 and other media to get his word out. He said the FBI is investigating, and we will continue to follow the story ourselves.