Twitter users have begun a campaign to publicly identify and shame individuals who participated in the white supremacist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville over the past weekend.
While a number of photos from the event were blurry and hard to see, a bearded man with a University of Arkansas Engineering shirt stood out amongst the rest of the marchers – likely to due to his distinct shirt referencing the school.
Despite only having a poor quality photograph as their evidence, thousands of Twitter users spent Friday night scouring the University of Arkansas’ faculty pages in the hopes of identifying the individual. By Saturday morning, Twitter detectives believed they had found their man: a bearded white male named Kyle Quinn, who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering at the University of Arkansas.
The real Kyle Quinn had spent most of Friday working in his research lab, where he specializes in wound care. Following work, he had spent a pleasant Friday evening with his wife and a friend, where they toured a local art museum and had dinner together.
When Quinn woke up on Saturday morning, he had received thousands of threatening messages through Twitter and Instagram accusing him of racism. They demanded that he be fired by the University. Twitter sleuths had even posted his home address for tens of millions of Twitter users to see. Due to the intensity of the threats, Quinn and his wife were forced to leave their home and hide with a colleague for the remainder of the weekend.
The University of Arkansas quickly issued a statement that none of their faculty had been present at the march, but the damage was already done for Quinn, an Ivy League graduate who had devoted his life to helping others through medical research.
“You have celebrities and hundreds of people doing no research online, not checking facts,” Quinn told the New York Times. “I’ve dedicated my life to helping all people, trying to improve health care and train the next generation of scientists, and this is potentially throwing a wrench in that.”