Mackey Breaks Down Arrest, Conviction Over 2016 Twitter Meme
After posting a social media meme that reasonably intelligent users understood was satirical, Douglass Mackey soon became the target of a prosecution that ultimately resulted in a conviction earlier this year.
Last month, he was sentenced to serve seven months behind bars for sharing the 2016 meme that suggested supporters of then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton could vote for her via text message.
During a recent interview with former Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson, Mackey chronicled the events leading up to his arrest and trial, beginning with the assertion that he simply shared the meme because he believed it was funny.
Ep. 38 The First Amendment is done. Douglass Mackey is about to go to prison for mocking Hillary Clinton on the internet. We talked to him right before his sentencing. Remember as you watch that this could be you.
(3:12) The Hillary Clinton meme
(4:20) Hillary’s… pic.twitter.com/MLwz2SboGr
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) November 9, 2023
After a Huffington Post reporter leaked his identity, an investigation began that led to his arrest just a week after President Joe Biden’s 2021 inauguration.
According to Mackey, federal law enforcement agents arrived at his home early that morning, put him in handcuffs and did not explain why he was being arrested until he appeared in court.
He noted that a number of Clinton supporters shared equally misleading posts ahead of the 2016 election but they were never investigated or prosecuted. Furthermore, he asserted that the Justice Department was unable to cite a victim in its case against him, which nevertheless resulted in a conspiracy against rights conviction.
Mackey lamented the fact that he did not receive support from organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, which was once a champion of free speech across the board.
“I don’t think they care too much about the First Amendment anymore,” he said.
Nevertheless, he expressed hope that this experience will benefit him in the long run, noting that “there’s something redemptive about suffering.”
Carlson has publicly defended Mackey against the charges against him dating back to his days at Fox News, including during a monologue that aired in March.
“Mackey’s insult did not alter a single vote in the election and no one has proved otherwise,” he said at the time. “The government brought forth not a single victim of this crime. It couldn’t. Douglass Mackey was joking.”
Adding that Mackey’s profile picture depicted a hat supporting Clinton’s rival, Carlson said: “This was mockery, but in the wake of the 2016 election and the rising hysteria about Donald Trump, mocking the Democratic Party became a crime.”