The Lincoln Project is facing intense backlash and potentially major legal trouble after it was accused of publishing screenshots of private Twitter direct messages belonging to one of its co-founders, Jennifer Horn.
Horn, who left the Lincoln Project last week amid the John Weaver scandal. After some tense moments with their former member, The Lincoln Project decided to release private Twitter conversations between Horn and a 19th News correspondent Amanda Becker.
“Earlier this evening, we became aware that @AmandaBecker of @19thnews was preparing to publish a smear job on the Lincoln Project with the help of @NHJennifer,” the Lincoln Project began a lengthy thread. “You hear a lot of talk about hit-jobs in journalism, but rarely do you get to see their origin story. Enjoy.”
The tweets drew immediate condemnation, including by one of its former members and co-founders, conservative attorney George Conway.
“This looks on its face to be a violation of federal law and should be taken down immediately,” Conway warned.
Horn herself later reacted to the controversy, alerting Twitter that the Lincoln Project did not have permission to publish her private messages.
“Hey @Twitter @jack @TwitterSupport I did not give consent,” Horn wrote.
Just as a reminder, the group went into meltdown due to a rather incredible case of online sexual harassment.
John Weaver of The Lincoln Project made sexual overtures to young men, according to 21 men he was in contact with. The longtime GOP operative who advised John McCain and John Kasic sometimes offered the young men help with getting work in politics.
This included sending messages to a 14-year-old, asking questions about his body while he was still in high school and then more pointed ones after he turned 18. The men described feeling preyed upon by an older, influential man. Weaver is 61 years old.
Lincoln Project leaders, in their first extended comments about Mr. Weaver, said they had not been aware of such allegations until this month, when the story about Weaver grooming young men online went public. They claimed they were unaware of “any type of inappropriate behavior” by Weaver.
Weaver himself issued a statement acknowledging he had sent “inappropriate” messages and apologizing “to the men I made uncomfortable,” while saying he had believed all of his interactions to be consensual. He said he would not return to the Lincoln Project from a medical leave that began in the summer.
However, a new report sheds a different light on the story. The damning report published by New York magazine on the sexual harassment allegations against Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver details how his colleagues were “warned” about his behavior.
“On June 17, a person working at the Lincoln Project sent an email to co-founder Ron Steslow that reported ten allegations of Weaver’s harassing men, including at least one employee at the Lincoln Project,” the magazine wrote, citing an email it had obtained.
The magazine also featured an interview with another young man Weaver has prayed upon. a college student named Alex Johnson, who spoke about their interactions beginning in December 2018, when Johnson expressed an interest in getting into politics.
Johnson alleged that Weaver asked about his “dating life and sexual interests” and explicit inquiries were made. In 2020, Weaver reached out to Johnson to see if he was interested in interning for the anti-Trump PAC. When the young man expressed interest, he immediately asked him about his masturbation habits. Johnson stayed silent due to fear of retribution from the leadership at the Lincoln Project.