REDDING, Calif. — An online forum featuring two candidates for California's 1st District U.S. Congressional seat was interrupted when the internet feed was hacked during the live conference.
The organization Independent Like the North State presented the forum, which was open to the seven candidates vying for incumbent Doug LaMalfa's seat. Only two candidates, Lewis Elbinger, Green Party candidate from Mount Shasta, and David Peterson, Democrat from Grass Valley, were present.
Online viewers and listeners on radio station KFOI 90.9 FM had just heard opening statements from the two candidates when a video feed, clearly showing sexual acts between two men, filled the screen for several seconds shortly after 8:00 p.m. Thursday night.
The moderator could be heard saying, “Looks like we got hacked again, we’ll try to fix this.” The feed was then shut down.
Moderator Chris Verrill told KRCR it was a disappointing turn of events.
"We had a community forum, and while it's disappointing people did not respect us, or the candidates, or more importantly the democratic process, or the community, that's part of the way democracy works," Verrill said.
Verrill said that they are hoping to reschedule the debate in the future, and work on resolving some security issues. He noted that having an online forum is an important tool in the Northstate which is so large and candidates hail from all over. The two candidates on the forum Thursday were in Mount Shasta and Grass Valley.
"Our mission is to bring republicans and democrats together with civility, trust and openness," said Verrill.
The forum was originally scheduled to rebroadcast on KIXE, the local PBS affiliate, but Verrill said they will not be presenting this forum after it was cut short,
He said both candidates and the radio station have verbally committed to take part in another forum if schedules can be arranged in advance of the upcoming election.