Two far-right activists claim to have had their accounts with Wells Fargo closed as a result of their extremist political beliefs.
Lauren Witzke, who was the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware in 2020, and Pete D’Abrosca, who attempted to run for office in 2020 in North Carolina but failed to submit the proper paperwork in time, both took to social media Tuesday to suggest that they had been “canceled” by the bank.
But a spokesperson for the bank said that their extremist political views had nothing to do with the closure of their accounts. “Wells Fargo does not consider political views or affiliations in making account decisions,” Wells Fargo spokesperson Beth Richek told Right Wing Watch via email Wednesday. She added:
An account may be closed for a number of reasons based on individual facts and circumstances. While we cannot discuss customer accounts because they involve confidential customer information, we can report that we have reviewed this situation, gave ample notice of our decision and it was handled appropriately.
Right Wing Watch asked what reasons the bank might have to close any account, but a spokesperson said the bank had nothing else to add on the matter.
Wells Fargo’s statement that both were given “ample notice” would refute Witzke’s suggestion that her account’s closure was out of the blue, leaving her stranded in Florida. The far-right activist, who is temporarily hosting the antisemitic “TruNews” conspiracy show, took to Telegram, claiming, “Wells Fargo has shut down my bank account, taking all of my money and leaving me with a zero balance. When I called Wells Fargo told me that it was a ‘business decision’ and that they have the right to close my account at any time. Had I not been surrounded by friends in Florida, I would be completely stranded.”
Witzke went on to suggest that it was “evil” and urged her followers to stop using the bank: “Use this as a warning and get your money out of Wells Fargo if you are a conservative.”
D’Abrosca sent followers a similar message about the bank. “@WellsFargo just closed my accounts with no explanation,” the anti-immigrant blogger said on Twitter, adding sarcastically, “I’m sure it has *nothing* to do with my political opinions.”
In an interview with the right-wing propaganda site National File, D’Abrosca went on to claim that a conspiracy was afoot. “Clearly there’s been some kind of conspiracy within Wells Fargo to ban prominent right wingers from using their banking services. This is yet another reminder that major monopolies in both banking and tech are not operating within a purely free market capitalistic system. They must be broken up, and their CEOs and executive level employees and board members jailed until we can figure out how to stop discrimination from ‘private’ companies against the political right.”
Far-right provocateur and Witzke’s “TruNews” co-host Milo Yiannopoulos came to Witzke’s defense, sharing a meme of himself burning down a Wells Fargo, with the caption: “nobody messes with my chick … and lives.”
Far-right commentator Michelle Malkin, who has aligned herself with the America First white nationalist youth movement and the Proud Boys hate group, published an op-ed on the white nationalist website VDARE defending Witzke. Malkin claimed that Witzke, who attended the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally from which Trump loyalists left to storm the U.S. Capitol, had a “big fat target on her back for threatening the powers that be in Big Government and Big Business.” Malkin also quoted Andrew Torba, founder and CEO of the far-right social media platform Gab, coming to Witzke’s defense.