Posted on November 15, 2018

Did a Twitter User Scam MAGA Fans out of Thousands of Dollars?

Brian Feldman, Intelligencer, November 5, 2018


{snip} Late last month, it seemed that the Republican party had added a black college student named Quran to its ranks.

She tweeted, “I will not hide any longer,, the left has made us feel as if us black republicans should hide!! but not anymore!! #BlacksForTrump #WalkAway #maga” and attached a photo of herself in a red bucket hat emblazoned with the famous “Make America Great Again” slogan.

The tweet went viral, and she got a momentary blast of internet fame, but then things went awry. Quran’s parents disowned her, kicked her out of the house, and refused to pay her college tuition.

To make ends meet, Quran set up a GoFundMe, asking for financial support from her newfound Republican fanbase. “[I]f you can find it in your hearts to help this young, black republican pay for school it would be appreciated 🇺🇸,” she tweeted. According to subsequent tweets, she ordered a new iPhone XS Max. She had apparently raised enough money for “my tuition, rent, and 17 iphones [sic] now.”

And then the tables turned. Less than three hours after claiming to have been disowned by her family, Quran revealed that the text messages and the MAGA hat were a ruse to scam desperate, insecure Republicans.

Trump is a racist, homophobic, transphobic, bigot AND YOU THINK MY BLACK ASS WOULD SUPPORT THAT ROTTING CARROT?? ridiculous. any black person can put on that ugly ass hat and say #MAGA and yall will instantly be up their ass cuz you wanna prove so hard you’re not racist

— reformed republican (@chckpeas) November 1, 2018

“[H]ot take: stealing from republicans isn’t bad because republicans arent ppl,” she wrote the next day.

{snip} A rumor started circulating that she’d raised more than $150,000.

Unfortunately, I have to be the buzzkill and report that the rumors of Quran’s take are highly exaggerated. Over the phone on Saturday, Quran admitted that she didn’t raise much of anything, and that she’d refunded what she had received. “That’s between me and the IRS,” she said coyly when I asked how much she’d gotten.

Asked for a ballpark figure, she quickly admitted she hadn’t scammed anyone. “That’s the thing though: I didn’t,” she confessed. “I just felt really weird about taking their money. This could go south really fast, I just decided to refund everyone and give their money back. I think it was like maybe $200 at that point.” Email screenshots she provided back this claim up. GoFundMe refunded at least $90 (one $50 donation and two for $20).

GoFundMe’s terms of service say that fraudulent fundraisers are against the rules, but hers would seem to fall into a gray area. She may not have been kicked out by her parents (her mom didn’t mind the fake texts) but Quran said she would have used the money to pay tuition, just like the fundraiser promised.

{snip} “I just want everyone to think I’m the finesse queen, which I am.”


So, who got scammed in this situation? A few Republicans got scammed out of money, and thousands more got exposed as overeager to accept new black members to the party in order to prove they’re not racist. Did the Trump Train get scammed? Yes.

Still, Quran didn’t actually raise the tens of thousands of dollars that people want to believe she did. It’s a great viral story with all the touchstones — trolling, deceit, racists getting exposed, someone getting rich — but it’s not true. Are people who are quick to fall for viral hoaxes getting scammed? Yes.

Quran told me that she’d shut down the fundraiser and refunded all the money, and provided email screenshots confirming as much. Yet she also tweeted a screenshot of a recent order she’d placed for a new iPhone XS Max. Am I, a humble reporter, getting scammed? The doubt lingers …


She says her only regret is that she wishes a better photo of her had gone viral.