After surviving the worst shooting in modern U.S. history, Las Vegas shooting victims are now facing death threats from conspiracy theorists who believe they’re government actors.
Braden Matejka, 30, suffered a bullet to the back of his head during the October 1 shooting that left 58 dead. Speaking with The Guardian, Matejka said that conspiracy theorists have led him to shut down his social media and withdraw from the internet completely.
“You are a lying piece of s**t and I hope someone truly shoots you in the head,” one user wrote on Matejka’s Facebook page.
Matejka, who is from British Columbia, Canada, attended the country music festival with his girlfriend.
The Guardian reported that several videos on Youtube and Facebook specifically targeted him and accused him of being hired to pose as a victim. The shooting survivor’s brother, Taylor, recalled seeing multiple inflammatory comments on a GoFundMe campaign for Braden.
“Obviously a TERRIBLE CRISIS ACTOR,” a Facebook user named Samantha wrote. “HE’S SCAMMING THE PUBLIC…This was a government set up.”
Along with Matejka, other survivors claimed they’ve been harassed online by people who believe that they’re taking part in a massive hoax. Alarmingly, these hoax-focused videos and images are widely viewed and have circulated on multiple platforms.
“It makes you angry,” Rob McIntosh, 52, who was shot in the chest and arm in Las Vegas, told The Guardian.
“You’ve already been through something that’s traumatic and terrible, and you have someone who is attacking your honesty. You don’t even have the opportunity to respond.”
In an email, Youtube said it works quickly to take down offending videos after they’re flagged. Taylor said he isn’t bothered by conspiracy theories about the shooting but does take issue with the death threats that follow.
“If you want to spend your whole life searching conspiracies on the internet, you’re free to do that,” he said, “but it shouldn’t come at a cost to the victim’s well-being.”
[Featured Image: Facebook (screenshot)]