Pennsylvania Republican Dean Browning was heavily trolled on Twitter after replying to his own tweet saying he’s a “black gay guy.” Browning, who’s a “proudly pro-life and pro-2nd amendment Christian conservative,” as stated on his congressional campaign’s official website, was defending his support for President Donald Trump on November 10.
Browning, who lost the Republican primary for Lehigh Valley’s 7th Congressional District in June, tweeted, “What Trump built in four years, Biden will destroy in 4 months,” a message that has been pinned to the top of his Twitter page since November 8.
In response, a Twitter user with the handle @ADunks5 wrote, “You mean what Obama built in 8 years, Trump trying to take credit for the first 3 years. Trump destroyed in 3 months with the help of the ‘Trump virus’ ! Biden now has to rid the country of the “Trump virus” ! Stay away from Drugs Dean! You’re clearly high!”
Browning, a Caucasian man who’s been married to wife Cheryl for 32 years, appeared to tweet in response, “I’m a black gay guy and I can personally say that Obama did nothing for me, my life only changed a little bit and it was for the worse. Everything is so much under Trump though. I feel respected which I never do when democrats are involved.”
Ummmmm somebody come look at this pic.twitter.com/bDzZpkaU1z
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 10, 2020
Hours later, screenshots of the since-deleted questionable tweet started to go viral on Twitter. Huffington Post editor Philip Lewis tweeted out a screenshot of the exchange and said, “Ummmmm somebody come look at this.”
However, the truth of this story turned out to be weirder than Twitter users imagined.
Here’s what you need to know:
Browning Defended His Tweet, Saying He Was ‘Quoting a Message’ He Received
Regarding the tweet that is going viral from my account — I was quoting a message that I received earlier this week from a follower.
Sorry if context was not clear.
Trump received record minority votes & record LGBTQ votes.
Many people won’t say it vocally, but do in private.
— Dean Browning (@DeanBrowningPA) November 10, 2020
After Browning’s questionable tweet went viral, he responded to the backlash by saying that his message was taken out of context. He tweeted, “Regarding the tweet that is going viral from my account — I was quoting a message that I received earlier this week from a follower.”
“Sorry if context was not clear,” Browning continued. “Trump received record minority votes & record LGBTQ votes. Many people won’t say it vocally, but do in private.”
Turns Out, Dan Purdy aka @DanPurdy322 Is a Burner Account Run by Byl Holte, Whose Mother Is Patti LaBelle
Turns out "Dan Purdy" is run by famous singer Patti LaBelle's son William Holte… pic.twitter.com/NdTEEHN9sJ
— William LeGate 🇺🇸 (@williamlegate) November 10, 2020
Numerous online users accused Browning of trying but failing to respond to his own Twitter feed through a burner account named @DanPurdy322. Washington Post correspondent Philip Bump pointed out that the Twitter handle @DanPurdy322 has repeatedly commented on Browning’s tweets, but Bump later deleted that tweet and posted an update that “the guy seems to be legit.”
However, while Dan Purdy is a real person, his real name is not Dan Purdy, it’s William Holte, aka Byl Holte, who is the adopted son of singer Patti LaBelle. Holte’s Facebook page had the same profile picture as Purdy’s Twitter account. However, Twitter has since suspended Purdy’s account.
so you're telling me that Patti LaBelle's son Byl Holte has an alternate Twitter account under the name Dan Purdy, from which he spends most of his time online replying to people who are being mean to Pennsvylania Republican Dean Browning?????
— Olivia Messer 🌻 (@OliviaMesser) November 10, 2020
After seeing all the online backlash toward Browning, Purdy (Holte) said in a since-deleted video, “Hey guys, my name is Dan Purdy, and I am indeed a gay, black man. The message that you saw on Dean’s Twitter, actually I don’t know how it was posted, but I did send it to him because I had a problem with how people of my race and sexual persuasion are treating Donald Trump. I don’t have a problem with Donald Trump on those levels.”
After Purdy’s account was suspended, entrepreneur William LeGate tweeted, “The question remains: Was ‘Dan Purdy’ REALLY run by Patti Labelle’s son, or was it suspended because it was a sock-puppet for Dean Browning? If it was a sock-puppet for Dean Browning, did he pay William Holte to make that video?”
Holte Is a Big Supporter of Donald Trump
You got that right! https://t.co/3LJbEo1zm4
— Dan Purdy (@DanPurdy322) October 30, 2020
Scrolling through Holte’s “Purdy” Twitter feed, which was only recently created in October 2020 before being suspended on November 10, it’s clear that the account is a staunch defender of Trump and supports the president’s baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate. He also helped spread the conspiracy theory against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
— Dan Purdy (@DanPurdy322) October 25, 2020
Purdy regularly retweets Browning, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Donald Trump Jr.
Personally, Holte is also a big Trump supporter. In March, he penned an essay on Medium entitled “Garbage Feminism and Television.”