Republican congressional candidate Dan Bishop went on the offensive this week about his past, threatening media members if they broadcast an ad highlighting his 2017 investment in a web site frequented by white nationalists. But if the state senator from Mecklenburg wants to outrun his harsh history of discrimination, he’s going to need some durable shoes.
The ad in question, from a group called Stand Up Republic, comes a month before the 9th Congressional District special election between Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready. As the Charlotte Observer reported, the ad says: “Remember when neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville and killed a young woman? ... When they were banned from social media, Dan Bishop took their side. In fact, he invested in a social media website because it welcomed the white supremacists.”
Bishop threatened a lawsuit to any media that published or broadcast the ad. It was his latest attempt to dodge the damning investment he made in Gab, a website Bishop has claimed some ignorance about. But regardless of whether or not Bishop invested in Gab “because” it welcomed white supremacists, the evidence shows he knew what he was investing in. As the Observer editorial board wrote last November, the Washington Post report he cited when announcing his investment detailed how tech companies were taking action on hate-filled sites like Gab.
What was most striking about the news of Bishop’s investment, however, was that it wasn’t that much of a surprise. After all, the state senator has a history of discrimination that stretches back at least a decade.
Most notable was his authorship of HB2, the discriminatory 2016 legislation that cost North Carolina dearly in economic investment. The so-called “bathroom bill” was not only about transgender people — or “a cross-dresser’s liberty,” as Bishop once sneered. HB2 also blocked cities from enacting non-discrimination ordinances, and it included language that made it harder for workers who were fired because of race, gender or religion to seek redress.
When Bishop and other lawmakers looked for a way out of the damage HB2 inflicted on his state and city, he worked with an official of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that works to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
Bishop, too, has worked against gay and lesbian efforts toward equality. He was a public advocate for North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which in 2012 made our state the last in the country to ban gay marriage before a court overturned the law. Seven years earlier, as a Mecklenburg commissioner, he spoke out against a county measure to ban discrimination against gays, calling it “either a political stunt or a serious dagger at the heart of marriage.”
Bishop doesn’t seem to want to talk much about that history these days. When asked in May if he would have done anything differently with HB2, he told WFAE that ”every piece of legislation is imperfect and everything could be improved,” then pivoted to criticize “the endless controversy that has been mostly media manufactured.”
Voters should see through the dodges. Dan Bishop has supported discrimination against gays and lesbians. He authored one of the most discriminatory, destructive laws in our state’s history. And now, he would like voters to think he didn’t know a web site he invested in catered to hate — despite citing an article then that said so. Keep running, Mr. Bishop. Your past is right behind you.