Following two mass shootings this month, the US Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday subpoenaed 8chan owner Jim Watkins to testify at a deposition next month. The subpoena (PDF) orders Watkins to appear before the committee on Sept. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET.
On Aug. 4, nine people died in a shooting in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio. The day before, 20 people died in a shooting in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, with another two victims dying two days later. Just prior to the El Paso attack, the suspected gunman posted a hate-filled statement on 8chan, an anonymous online forum.
Watkins is required to testify on “matters of inquiry” and is “not to depart without leave of said committee,” the subpoena says.
The House Committee on Homeland Security originally requested on Aug. 6 that Watkins appear in front of Congress to address the proliferation of extremist content on 8chan.
Watkins said in a YouTube video Tuesday thatuntil he speaks with “Homeland Security.”
“The website has been offline voluntarily for the last week,” he said in a video filmed from the Sands Regency Casino Hotel in Reno, Nevada, according to the YouTube description. The video came in response to media reports that incorrectly stated an alleged gunman accused of an attempted terrorist attack on a mosque in Norway on Saturday posted on the 8chan message board prior to the incident.
“I want them to understand that we have nothing to do with this crazy violence that’s been happening,” he said. “I want them to understand what’s been going on because it’s obviously a smear by the press.”
after a series of hosting companies, starting with Cloudflare, chose to stop working with the site.
The Committee on Homeland Security didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.