As Atlanta voters head to the polls Tuesday to select the city’s next mayor, a disinformation campaign has popped up to discredit one of the two contenders. Spread by rapper T.I. on Instagram, an article from MTO News falsely claimed that Felicia Moore wants to close all the strip clubs and bars.
T.I. claims that people’s livelihood and enjoyment are in danger if Moore has her way. He then tells people to vote for Moore’s opponent Andre Dickens.
There’s just one hitch; there’s no indication that Moore is trying to destroy Atlanta’s nightlife. A nearly five-year-old video was shared in the egregious article to “prove” Moore’s desire to shut down all the strip clubs, except she doesn’t say what the article claims.
A quick google search shows several other sites are running with this claim without any attempt to verify the accuracy of the allegation. As recently as Monday night, it was again reiterated that Moore does not want to get rid of Atlanta’s nightlife. In a tweet, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter dispelled the false info.
‘There are some fake articles/posts going around saying Felicia Moore wants to shut down Atlanta’s strip clubs/restrict their hours… that is false,” J.D. Capeluoto tweeted. “She has said multiple times that she doesn’t support closing clubs.”
Moore has spoken about staffing up the code enforcement office and other related roles to enforce Atlanta’s laws. In a video posted on Nov. 8, Moore talked about wanting to meet with business owners within her first 60 days so that people are clear on the rules.
Moore and Dickens advanced to the mayoral runoff election out of 14 candidates, including former Mayor Kasim Reed. But regardless of whether you are Team Andre or Team Felicia, this type of political shenanigans should be called out.
Think about it. How is this any different from election misinformation shared by former President Donald Trump and his followers?
There’s something rather selfish about people who only wade into something as serious as an election to post distortions of fact that speak to their particular personal interest. People should talk about issues of concern, but it requires context and facts.
In the 2020 election cycle, Get Your Booty To The Polls was a viral get out the vote sensation. No one should discount the power and importance of any block of voters. But they should be treated with respect and given the correct information to make an informed choice. Not have someone abuse their platform by spreading unverified claims.
Concerns have been raised about both candidates in terms of their approaches to public safety. And some have expressed concerns about Moore’s support in the northern part of the city, including Buckhead, which has a contingent trying to secede.
The city of Atlanta requires both a functional city council and mayor to run. And part of that functionality requires clear and accurate information and an understanding of how things work.
On Tuesday, Atlanta has the opportunity to elect a new mayor, several city council members and school board members. Atlanta is not a dictatorship, and no one person can wave a magic wand and disappear any business. Turning out voters and getting support for local elected leaders should focus on what’s good for the city and not simply fear of one’s bank account getting hit.