A Twitter snafu by Pennsylvania Republican Dean Browning turned into one of the most bizarre stories on November 10, as it appeared to reveal legendary singer Patti LaBelle’s adopted son, William ‘Byl’ Holte, as an extremely conservative Trump supporter.
Here’s how it happened:
At first, Browning was getting heavily trolled on Twitter after replying to his own tweet while claiming to be a “black gay guy.” Twitter users was accused of forgetting to log into his burner account before replying to his own tweets under the handle @danpurdy322.
Browning, a Caucasian man who’s been married to wife Cheryl for 32 years, and who lost the Republican primary for Lehigh Valley’s 7th Congressional District in June, appeared to tweet, “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.”
The failed GOP congressman, who is “proudly pro-life and pro-2nd amendment Christian conservative,” as stated on his congressional campaign’s official website, responded to the online backlash after his tweet went viral. 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.”
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
“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.”
While numerous Twitter users doubted Browning’s excuse, the alleged Dan Purdy, who looks exactly like William Holte, LaBell’s adopted son, posted a video to defend his tweets. The Black man claiming to be Purdy 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.”
Dan Purdy aka @DanPurdy322 Appears to Be a Burner Account Run by Byl Holte, Whose Mother/Aunt Is Patti LaBelle
so from googling it would appear @deanbrowningpa's black guy identity "Dan Purdy" was also once used on the suspended account @soulcookie322. but before that account became Dan Purdy, it was a white guy named "Pat Riarchy" and "White Goodman". dean is really something else pic.twitter.com/gFkUPkNDPV
— food truck drove away with my debit card (@fart) November 10, 2020
Washington Post correspondent Philip Bump pointed out that the Twitter handle @DanPurdy322 has repeatedly commented on Browning’s tweets and tweeted out this message to Huffington Post Editorial Director Noah Michaelson.
He tweeted: “I’m black and gay and I find it disturbing that you think your own personal and biased needs should come before mind or EVERYONE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY. My sister is gay too and she seems to feel the same way but WHY? What makes either of you so special?”
However, while Dan Purdy is a real person, his real name is not Dan Purdy, it appears to be William Holte, aka Bly Holte, who was adopted by his aunt, LaBelle, along with his sister Stayce, after their mother Jackie Holte died in 1989.
Holte’s Facebook page had the same profile picture as Purdy. However, Twitter has since suspended Purdy’s account. Another Twitter account that appeared to be owned Byl Holte, @IncrediByl — was also suspended.
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 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 Major Donald Trump Supporter
Scrolling through Holte’s “Purdy” Twitter feed, which was only recently created in October 2020, it’s clear that this burner account was a staunch defender of Trump and supported the president’s baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate. He also helped spread the conspiracy theory against Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and what was falsely claimed to be found on his personal laptop.
Purdy regularly retweeted Browning, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Donald Trump Jr. Through his Facebook page, Holte “likes” Candace Owens for President for 2024’s official page.
Holte also runs an anti-feminist film blog on Medium. In March, he penned an essay entitled “Garbage Feminism and Television.”