ELLSWORTH — District Attorney Matt Foster says his Facebook account may have been hacked or “spoofed” last week when it was used to post a meme apparently mocking looters associated with nationwide protests over racial injustice and the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
The “meme,” or picture, was not posted directly on Foster’s account but as a comment to a post made by one of Foster’s Facebook friends.
The meme shows a person, who appears to be actor Robert Downey Jr., with eyes closed and a hand on his heart, looking relieved, while standing in front of a car with the words, “When you thought you hit a dog but turns out it was just a looter.”
A number of Hancock County residents, including the mother of a young woman who organized a Black Lives Matter protest in Ellsworth June 2, have complained about the post.
“All I know is that I didn’t post that meme,” Foster said on Friday. “I have changed my passwords and hopefully that solves the problem. I have searched Facebook for the post, but I have been unable to locate it and it appears to have been removed.”
“I do not support violence in any form, whether that be hitting someone with a car or looting,” said Foster. “I find both equally objectionable and illegal. I fully support all people’s right to demonstrate/protest peacefully.”
He said he does not plan to report the hacking to the police.
As an elected official, Foster is essentially his own boss. However, he and other prosecutors’ salaries and benefits are funded through the Maine Office of the Attorney General.
When asked about the citizen complaints regarding the social media post, Attorney General Aaron M. Frey issued the following statement:
“My office recently was made aware of a disturbing Facebook image that was posted on a Facebook page belonging to District Attorney Matthew Foster,” Frey said. “The image and its caption favorably described the act of a driver running over a ‘looter’ with his car. Mr. Foster has publicly stated that his Facebook page was hacked, which resulted in his closing his Facebook account. There is no basis for my office to initiate an investigation.”
“It is important to call out troubling images such as this one,” said Frey. “In recent days, during protests that started after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, persons have attacked peaceful protesters, which has included driving vehicles into crowds of demonstrators. No person should condone or trivialize such violent acts.”