What’s Up with CJ Pearson?

Over the last six months, CJ Pearson became a social media star. The twelve year old from Grovetown, Georgia volunteered on several Republican campaigns during the 2014 cycle, including that of State School Superintendent Richard Woods. After the election, CJ formed Young Georgians in Government with the goal of passing legislation that would permit state representatives as young as 18 years old.

In February, Pearson uploaded a video to YouTube entitled President Obama: Do You Really Love America. That video as received almost 2 million views, and became the tipping point for CJ’s fame. The video led to TV appearances on Fox News and other broadcast media. He created a Facebook fan page that now has over 42,000 followers. In April, the domain cjpearson.org was registered and went live. And in early June, Pearson signed a contract with DBC Management Company of Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin to participate in a planned Rally Millennials tour set for 2016 to promote Republican presidential candidates.

Everything seemed to be going well for CJ until Thursday evening, July 2nd. That evening, CJ got into an argument on Twitter with a user named @MonaB2010, who tweeted under the name Mona Hussein Obama. And that’s when things got weird.

Friday morning, Pearson posted this on his Facebook page:

CJ Pearson Post

Shortly afterwards this was posted on Pearson’s page:

Hello, we’re Vice and Victory and we assist CJ with managing his online presence. It takes a team with the thousands of messages he gets a week and the graphics you see here. We proudly call ourselves ‪#‎TeamCJ‬. As many of you know, he was viciously attacked last night. We got his permission and wanted to share with you some of the tweets he got that has him a little shook up. We’re passing along messages to CJ. He’s promised he’ll address the public next week so look for updates from him at www.cjpearson.org. Thanks for all you do. CJ more than a client to us, he’s like our little brother. Let’s rally around him. — AA

The post has some screenshots of the conversation between Mona and Pearson. AA is Ali Akbar, the person who runs Vice and Victory. Saturday morning, Akbar posted again, saying that another organization he is affiliated with, National Bloggers Club, had set up an account on rally.org to raise funds for Pearson. More than $2,700 has been raised so far. By Monday afternoon, Akbar posted on his own Facebook page that Mona Hussein Obama had been identified as Mona Brown of Maryland. Her account has since been deleted.

On Monday, Pearson posted on his Twitter feed that a lawsuit had been filed against Brown:

But by early Tuesday morning, Brown had been forgiven by Pearson:

This entire situation is so utterly weird, you may be tempted to ask what you’re seeing, and maybe even wonder if you’re being drawn into a scenario that seems to be constructed for a specific purpose.

Early on the morning of July 4th, a Twitter account going by the name of Obama Lover put out its first tweet. A few minutes later, there was this tweet, directed at the account which had harassed Pearson:

Who is Obama Lover? It appears to be CJ Pearson, based on this email from Twitter showing that Mona had replied to one of Obama Lover’s tweets. The email address receiving the notification presumably was Pearson’s work email account at the Trievad Group, which is owned by DBC Management Company.

Mona Obama appears to be Mona Brown of Baltimore, Maryland. There’s no other visible connection between Pearson and Brown, but Akbar has a history of getting himself caught up in, (or at least being accused of getting himself caught up in) similar scenarios. Some liberal bloggers dug deep in Akbar’s past and found a criminal conviction and more or less accused him of setting up a sympathy scam, the basic premise of which seems to be: “Somebody’s been attacked! Conservatives, please send money!

If one needed a victim to be the “bait” in such a scam, a young, conservative, African American would certainly fit the role–especially if he was very young and didn’t know that there are people out there willing to exploit him. CJ Pearson is 12.

Pearson and Brown may have had a legitimate Twitter fight, if there is such a thing. In the 21st century, that kind of stuff happens. But CJ has another problem. On Tuesday, DBC Management reportedly terminated its relationship with the young conservative after discovering that Pearson had forged his mother’s signature on the contract between him and the management company. In a termination letter obtained by Peach Pundit, DBC’s CEO Dustin Beth said he had spoken to Pearson’s father, who was unaware of the contract. According to Beth, Pearson’s father was also unaware of the threats CJ received over Twitter.

Since the Romans, politics has been a mean and nasty business, but fairly recently it’s morphed into a mean and nasty sport. No longer merely manipulation for the sake of power, politics has become manipulation for profit. There’s money to be made in outrage, or fear, or even sympathy–especially sympathy for a young man excited by new attention and no small degree of fame.

CJ Pearson is an exciting proposition to conservatives who are being told they are dying out, that African Americans don’t like them, and that millennials are not interested in their ideas. He has a bright future, and conservatives would buy tickets to see “The CJ Pearson Show.” What he must learn, however, is how to tell the difference between people only interested in selling the tickets, and those who want to see 50 years’ worth of shows.

That’s a hard lesson for a 12-year old.

** Update 9:50 AM **

After this post went live, Pearson announced on his Facebook page that he was terminating his business relationship with Ali Akbar.

As of late, many conservatives, supporters, and friends have voiced their opinions and concerns regarding my affiliation with Ali Akbar of Vice and Victory. Ali has been a tremendous help to me. Guiding me through the political arena, enabling me to reach new heights, and pushing me to the be the best that I can be. His support, this past week, as I dealtt with a clearly deranged person on Twitter meant the world to me. With that being said, Ali and I have come to a mutual conclusion of severing all business ties between the two of us.

18 comments

  1. Lea Thrace says:

    Saw this coming when people were lauding a 12 YEAR OLD as a political wiz. He is 12.

    Something is always going to happen when we elevate kids that young in the political world. No matter what side they are being lauded by. At that age you havent really formed hard and fast social and moral positions other than thou shalt not kill possibly.

    12 years old people! Think this through next time the next middle school age great {insert color} hope comes around.

  2. bsjy says:

    Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
    This “news” item is our media in a nutshell.
    Get a life.
    Get out of Twitter.

  3. Jon, your best post ever. Candidly, I saw your headline and at first rolled my eyes — uninterested at the initial apparent pettiness and non-newsworthiness of it. However, it’s a topic that is much bigger than the silliness of the people involved: and you nailed that point. Very well done.

    And Lea, you are exactly right, too. Great comment and kudos.

    • Will Kremer says:

      I disagree. The rise–and potential fall–of CJ Pearson reeks of greedy operatives. On the surface this post may appear insignificant, but it is plenty newsworthy. Mark Rountree summed it up well: “…it’s a topic that is much bigger than the silliness of the people involved…”

      CJ is a smart kid–the keyword being “kid.” He saw the chance for stardom and jumped at the opportunity. People whose eyes are filled with green dollar signs also jumped at the opportunity, not for CJ, but for a paycheck. I doubt CJ was/is aware of this reality.

      I’ll continue to watch this unfortunate situation unfold from a 30,000 foot vantage-point. My hope is that CJ finds a mentor who guides him to success for reasons other than a paycheck.

      • George Chidi says:

        +2

        I’m his Facebook friend, too. And I’ve been watching him evolve. I confess at times to wondering how much of what I’m reading is him, and how much is his family, or other friends, or apparently operatives doing the talking for him.

        He’s plainly precocious, a phenomenon. I’ve known others like him — there are young teenage Democrats who’ve shown similar early talent around here too (Steen Kirby comes to mind.) But none who’ve been able to draw attention like him. That’s a gift.

        I sincerely hope he weathers this.

  4. Obviously many Republicans are thoughtful and have a well-formed view of the world that recognize the many complex working parts of the world and the required reasoned views and opinions needed to deal with the issues we face.

    At the same time, a large part of the party basically has a 12 year old’s worldview and outlook on things. CJ Pearson is just the latest actual 12 year old to clearly articulate it back to them and be turned into a temporary superstar because of it.

    The problem is, the party as a whole is so desperate to appeal to young people and to make it look like young people are embracing them that they ignore the how and why and the industrial party machine takes off, often with a bad ending.

    Basically, if your favorite pizza is Pizza Hut, and some 12 year old posts a youtube video extolling the virtues of Pizza Hut, you should be like hmm why is my favorite food the same as a 12 year old. Not let’s turn this 12 year old into the voice of my movement.

  5. DavidTC says:

    *sigh*

    I know the persecution complex is strong with the right, but 12 year-olds don’t need to ‘raise funds’ because they were attacked on Twitter. No, not even if the completely random Twitter user ‘threatened to sue’. Some anonymous person on twitter saying to a public figure (even if they’re only 12) that ‘I will sue you’ is not some sort of emergency. At least wait until something is *filed*.

    And this is pretending the entire story is actually true. Has anyone else noticed that, following the links given, there’s really no evidence *any* of this actually happened?

    Meanwhile, there are some clear falsehoods being stated by Ali Akbar, such as him representing Vice and Victory and National Bloggers Club. Those organizations do not exist anymore, because Ali Akbar is a criminal buffoon:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/211194428/Vice-Victory-Forefeiture
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/211193606/NBC-Forfeited

  6. Teri says:

    CJ sent me a friend request through Facebook a short while back. I deleted it, because it’s kind of weird to be Facebook friends with any 12-year-old kid, much less one I’ve never actually met.

  7. Baker says:

    That Jonathan Krohn kid didn’t work out so well either.

    Repubs (and people in general really) are just so enamored with the shiny and new (and strident). There is virtue in experience, humility and understanding, despite what many may think.

  8. HarryA says:

    Let’s all jump on the bandwagon for a 12 year old. Let’s NOT jump on the bandwagon for a 12 year old. While it is nice not to have pre-conceived ideas as to how thinks work, it is also useful to have some experience to go along with a formulated idea. Show a 12 year old a balance sheet and not only won’t he/she understand it, most adults don’t really know what they are looking at either. Let’s give the kid a break and let him get some knowledge for the “school of hard knocks” before we put him/her on a pedestal again.

  9. Osborne Ink says:

    Speaking as one of the bloggers who’s done the most digging into Akbar over the years, kudos on your work here. There’s much more to Akbar than meets the eye: he’s collected thousands in donations to defend himself from libel suits, but his lawyer is pro bono and he’s spent all the money on himself. He’s deeply connected to Dan Backer, the billionaire “free speech” lawyer who created Super PACs and ended federal campaign donation limits. He’s also connected to Ben Carson’s Black Conservatives Fund, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the Chris McDaniel campaign, and his former business partner went to work with the NRSC after working in Mitt Romney’s campaign. He even has past connections to Karl Rove. Which is not to say he’s legit — Akbar’s career is built on fraud, self-dealing, and backstabbing in support of the fringiest characters he can find.

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