It's been a long time since we've had to hear the name Brock Turner in the news. He and his story went viral back in 2015 after he was tried and convicted of three counts of sexual assault in relation to an attempt to rape an “unconscious intoxicated woman.” He's been out of the media and spotlight for a few years until August 2020 when he suddenly started trending again. The rumor was that he would be the next speaker at the Republican National Convention (RNC).
Was Brock Turner invited to speak at the RNC? The rumor spread fast.
Brock Turner hit the headlines in 2015 after he was arrested and charged with two counts of felony sexual assault, two counts of rape, and one count of attempted rape. He was caught assaulting an unconscious student outside a frat party, near Stanford University, where he attended and was also a member of the swim team at that time.
A year after his arrest, Turner was found guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault. His news story went super viral after, to the dismay of everyone, he was only sentenced to six months in jail, and was released after serving only half of his sentence. At the time, his victim was only known as Emily Doe, and she, too, wasn't okay with his sentencing where the prosecutors recommended he serve at least six years.
The judge who presided over the case, Judge Aaron Persky, received heavy criticism at the time due to the sentencing of Turner which was seen as too light. This was especially felt after it became known that Turner was also accused by another woman who said he had committed unwanted physical advances just days before the incident occurred with Emily Doe, who later chose to identify herself as Chanel Miller.
The judge did sentence Turner to the six months in jail, where he ended up serving only three, and on top of that, he was sentenced to three years of probation. That term expired in 2019, however, he's also been forced to register as a sexual offender, permanently.
Since then, Brock Turner been out of the headlines, but started to go viral again and it all stems back to one tweet.
A joke about Brock Turner speaking at the RNC went viral.
On Aug. 18, Brock Turner, who is now 24 years old, started to trend on social media with people reacting to a rumor that Turner would be attending and speaking at the RNC, which will take place Aug. 24 to Aug. 27.
The rumor started to trend on Twitter after comedian Jena Friedman tweeted, "BREAKING NEWS: Brock Turner, Stanford Student Athlete Who Assaulted Unconscious Woman, Will Speak At RNC."
People mistook the tweet as a serious one, although it's clear from Jena's bio on Twitter that she's a comedian. Even after it became clear that the tweet was untrue, many voiced their opinions that the tweet was likely taken as truth because the reality isn't so far from the fiction. Singer and writer Holly Figueroa O'Reilly wrote, "Brock Turner is *not* speaking at the RNC convention. He was asked but refused, saying there would be too many sex offenders in the room and he doesn't like having competition."
It's been a trend on social media with people joking about who else was going to speak at the convention after it was announced that Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the two lawyers who wielded guns outside their home in St. Louis in response to the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests passing by, would be participating in the upcoming RNC.
If you need support, The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673. You will be connected with a trained staff member in your area. Or visit RAINN.org to chat online with a support specialist at any time.