Republican Macomb County Clerk candidate Anthony Forlini is scoffing at criticism of his attendance at a march for human-trafficking awareness that a progressive political group says is associated with a wild far-right conspiracy theory.
Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy organization, said in a news release last week that Forlinis attendance is deeply concerning due to the events association with QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy theory.
Spurred on by President Trump, these conspiracy theorists have become an increasingly dominant force within the Republican Party, Scott said in the release. Human trafficking is an incredibly important issue, and we cannot allow it to be co-opted by conspiracy theorists who prioritize shock value and political agendas over real facts and solutions. We strongly condemn Forlinis decision to attend this rally and urge his fellow Republicans to disavow him and the QAnon conspiracy.
Forlini, who is running against Democratic Clerk Fred Miller, said Friday he attended an anti-human trafficking event that had no connection with any conspiracy theory.
Its a silly thing, Forlini said. Theyre playing politics with kids. It doesnt make sense.
Forlini said he is passionate about fighting human trafficking and went to the event after receiving an email from a friend about a human trafficking awareness march by Speak Up, Michigan!
In a photo from the rally, he is seen holding a sign, “Stop pedophilia.”
Forlini called on Miller to disavow Progress Michigans allegation and stand side by side with him in demonstrating against human trafficking.
My opponent should be furious about this group putting this out, Forlini said. They should be ashamed of themselves insinuating that this issue is being co-opted by anybody.
The gathering took place Aug. 15 along Metropolitan Parkway at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights.
QAnon is a conspiracy theory that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshipping Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires who engage in pedophilia and human trafficking. The group has co-opted the phrase “Save the Children.” Signs at the event included “Save the Children” and “Epstein didn’t kill himself,” a reference to the late Jeffrey Epstein.
Miller declined to comment.
Forlini said this isnt the first the organization has wrongly attacked him. When he successfully ran for state representative in 2009, Progress Michigan falsely claimed that I received reimbursement for tennis lessons and equipment for myself,” he said.