Editor's note: Hours after the publication of this post, Defend Denver corrected various mistakes in an item attacking Westword detailed below. View the original item at this link; continue for our previous coverage:
On March 3, Westword revealed that 9News reporter Jeremy Jojola had filed a protection order against confessed hate criminal Samuel Cordova after the latter, joined by Joshua Yeakel and Russell Frankland, a pair linked to white nationalist groups, showed up at his house, where Jojola's wife was alone with the couple's baby.
Now, Defend Denver, a racist organization that shared a selfie of Cordova, Yeakel and Frankland outside the journalist's residence, is attacking Westword by way of a clumsy online piece sporting transparently false claims and a forged tweet depicting a fictional murder threat by a local Antifa collective.
We've noted that Defend Denver seeks to cloak its vile beliefs behind the veneer of activism, as exemplified by the Facebook claim that it "was created to be a voice for the communities who face the constant terror in there [sic] communities." Cordova pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor bias-motivated crime related to vandalism at BookBar over a "Drag Queen Story Time" event there last June; the visit to Jojola's house came the morning after the journalist had reported about this development. Meanwhile, Yeakel's alleged racist activities have been cited in previous Westword pieces, including a 2017 story focusing on a photo in which he posed with State Senator Kevin Lundberg and a 2018 article about the potential for a clash between local Antifa representatives and members of the racist Traditionalist Worker Party during a Turning Point USA event at Colorado State University — which came to pass as predicted.
In December, we spoke to Jojola about ugly threats that he'd received over stories about local neo-Nazis. He wasn't available to comment for our most recent story, but we quoted extensively from the temporary protection orders, which were granted by a Denver judge.
Hours after our publication of that piece came the first attack: "Westword's Robert Michaels Writes Hit Piece About Defend Denver," with my name also reversed in the text. That's now been corrected, although the error lingers in the URL. The central image was the following bogus tweet attributed to the Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists.
The Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists never sent this tweet, however, and as you can see, the time and date — 11:04 p.m. on February 25 — are more than a week earlier than the article appeared.
The tweet is apparently intended to justify the assertion that "Michael Roberts is a danger to our community & provides kill list to Antifa."
As for the main text, it's essentially plagiarized from a protection order passage quoted in the article, and written by Jojola:
Throughout the Defend Denver Facebook page, which I believe Yeakel runs, there appear numerous posts casting me in a negative light. Although none of these posts specifically threaten violence against me, it demonstrates an unhealthy obsession with myself and vehement disagreement with my reporting.
Here's the Defend Denver rewrite:
Michael Roberts has written numerous articles casting us in a negative light. Although none of these articles specificaly [sic] threaten violence against us, it demonstrates an unhealthy obsession with our collective & vehement disagreement with our activism.
The protection documents require the respondents to attend a March 12 hearing to demonstrate why the orders shouldn't be made permanent. If they don't show up, a bench warrant could be issued for their arrest.