Juan Thompson, a former reporter for The Intercept who was fired after it was revealed he fabricated stories, has been arrested for allegedly making bomb threats against Jewish Centers as well as the Anti-Defamation League, according to authorities. The news comes on the heels of a rash of threats and attacks directed at Jewish communities in the U.S.
According to a federal complaint, Thompson, 31, made more than a half-dozen bomb threats against Jewish schools and community centers both in his name and that of an ex-girlfriend, apparently to intimidate her. On one occasion, Thompson said that he was “eager for a Jewish newton,” which is believed to be in reference to the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
The DOJ issued a press release on the arrest that states, “Today, we have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League.”
In February of last year, The Intercept published an editor's note saying that Thompson had fabricated quotes in stories that carried his byline. Editor-in-Chief Betsy Reed wrote:
An investigation into Thompson’s reporting turned up three instances in which quotes were attributed to people who said they had not been interviewed. In other instances, quotes were attributed to individuals we could not reach, who could not remember speaking with him, or whose identities could not be confirmed. In his reporting Thompson also used quotes that we cannot verify from unnamed people whom he claimed to have encountered at public events. Thompson went to great lengths to deceive his editors, creating an email account to impersonate a source and lying about his reporting methods.
In one particularly egregious instance, Thompson claimed to have interviewed a cousin of Charleston, South Carolina, church shooter Dylann Roof. Thompson reported that “Scott Roof” said Dylann Roof might have committed the June 2015 massacre because “he kind of went over the edge when a girl he liked starting dating a black guy two years back.” According to Gawker, the story, which was retracted after The Intercept discovered “Scott Roof” did not exist, got pickup nationwide.
Thompson worked at The Intercept from November 2014 to January 2016. In July 2016, Thompson wrote a scathing Medium post claiming that The Intercept fired him because of his race. In the post, titled “‘We Own You.’— On The Intercept’s Problem with Black Folk,” Thompson wrote, “The white New York liberal media makes me vomit with their arrogant, patronizing, bigotry. I now have a Korean sense of Han — unadulterated rage against bigoted bullies, in this case the white liberal media.”
In September of last year, Thompson was fired from Media Blackout USA, which told The Riverfront Times that although Thompson “didn’t do anything wrong (during) his short stay with us... we can’t be affiliated with someone who writes fake reports.”
Update: Thompson’s former outlet The Intercept has issued a statement on the arrest:
We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of The Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish Community Centers in addition to cyberstalking. These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted. We have no information about the charges against Thompson other than what is included in the criminal complaint. Thompson worked for The Intercept from November 2014 to January 2016, when he was fired after we discovered that he had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.