State senator Dan Bishop, a Mecklenburg County Republican who authored North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill in 2016, is one of the few known funders of the now-shuttered Gab, a Texas-based Twitter alternative that catered to white nationalists and conspiracy theorists—including Robert Bowers, the gunman who killed eleven at a synagogue in Pittsburgh this weekend—according to a report in the UK’s Daily Mail

Last year, The Daily Mail reports, Bishop—who, in addition to advocating for HB 2, also believes Antifa and Black Lives Matter are basically the same as the white supremacists who marched on Charlottesville—announced that he was backing Gab because he was “about done with [San Francisco] thought police tech giants.”

The Daily Mail doesn’t say how much Bishop gave, only that he was one of nearly eighteen hundred small investors who gave a total of about $1 million last year, with the minimum donation of about $200. About 90 percent of Gab is privately held by its founder and its chief technology and chief operating officers, the Mail reports, citing the company’s annual report. (Bishop’s name does not appear in that report.)

Because the company used “anonymous crowd-sourcing techniques to raise investment cash,” the story says, Bishop is one of the few known donors. The story appears to be based on this tweet from August 2017:

So, I’m about done with SF thought police tech giants, and so … I just invested in Gab via @StartEngineLA— Sen. Dan Bishop (@jdanbishop) August 17, 2017

In a statement posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon, Bishop distanced himself from the site, saying that, while he invested $500 in the site, he doesn’t use it and knows nothing about the violent and antisemitic posts on it. “Why I’m being targeted and smeared by a British tabloid for a $500 investment in the final days of a campaign, I have no clue,” he writes.

Report: HB 2 Author Dan Bishop Funded the Extremist-Friendly Social Media Site Gab

Gab launched in 2016 as an unregulated alternative to Twitter and Facebook, and it quickly became popular among members of the alt-right, white supremacists, and conspiracy theorists after the larger social media networks sought to crack down on hate speech. One of its users, Robert Bowers, is alleged to have killed eleven people in a Pittsburgh synagogue last weekend in an antisemitic attack. According to media reports, Bowers frequently made hateful and paranoid comments on the site, including just before the Saturday massacre. 

Bishop, first elected to the Senate in 2016 after previously serving in the House, faces Democrat Chad Stachowicz on Tuesday in the south Charlotte district. Bishop has been attacking Stachowicz for a DWI he received in 2008, when he was twenty-three years old. The Civitas Partisan Index rates Senate District 39 as R+7, meaning it leans Republican

After the shooting on Saturday, the company’s web hosting provider said it would stop hosting the site, and GoDaddy gave Gab twenty-four hours to move its domain name to another service. Gab posted on Twitter that it would “likely be down for weeks because of this. … We will never give up on defending free speech for all people.” will likely be down for weeks because of this. Working on solutions. We will never give up on defending free speech for all people.

In a statement on its homepage—which is all that presently remains of—CEO Andrew Torba writes: 

Gab has spent the past 48 hours proudly working with the DOJ and FBI to bring justice to an alleged terrorist. Because of the data we provided, they now have plenty of evidence for their case. In the midst of this Gab has been no-platformed by essential internet infrastructure providers at every level. We are the most censored, smeared, and no-platformed startup in history, which means we are a threat to the media and to the Silicon Valley Oligarchy. Gab isn’t going anywhere.