It's impossible to tell when Twitter's next major drama will erupt, but once it does there's no way to avoid it.
On Tuesday, November 10, Republican Dean Browning, a former county commissioner from Pennsylvania, tweeted out an incredibly strange message claiming to be a "black gay guy."
Browning is neither Black nor gay.
Many online speculated that Browning had forgotten to log into a "burner" account, where he most likely posed as a Black man in support of his own posts.
Needless to say, Twitter went wild over the strange mistake.
Dean Browning, former Lehigh County comissioner who seems to have forgotten to log into his burner account, was abo… https://t.co/CBvYgtBsM5— Jacob Rubashkin (@Jacob Rubashkin)1605041608.0
Republican #PA7 candidate Dean Browning (who lost in the GOP primary this year) clearly forgetting to log into his… https://t.co/wITi0HCHVt— Ryan Deto (@Ryan Deto)1605042146.0
Shortly thereafter, Browning returned to Twitter to claim he was actually quoting a direct message he'd received.
Regarding the tweet that is going viral from my account — I was quoting a message that I received earlier this week… https://t.co/zRzoZJLmNf— Dean Browning (@Dean Browning)1605042428.0
Twitter was doubtful about the truth of Browning's claim.
Sleuths online quickly tracked down an account named "Dan Purdy," whose avatar is an animated Black man who spends most of his time online supporting Browning.
Most people, at this point, believed they'd found Browning's burner account.
incredible stuff happening here https://t.co/Fvrmoq5kTk— jordan (@jordan)1605043539.0
@DeanBrowningPA Is this your totally real black gay conservative follower? https://t.co/XSxgGjjxlc— Don Moynihan (@Don Moynihan)1605043180.0
That's when an unexpected twist arrived in the story.
The Dan Purdy account posted a video of a gay, Black man, saying:
"I sent that message to Dean, Dean accidentally posted it somehow, that's the end of the story. No, he's not a sock puppet. No, I'm not a bot."
so the video was taken down, but here it is in case you want your brain to melt: https://t.co/umGPjt5sN4— alex (@alex)1605050959.0
But the saga didn't end there.
Reverse image searches of "Dan Purdy's" face revealed an extreme resemblance to William Holte, aka Byl Holte, the adopted son of singer Patti LaBelle.
Holte has posted multiple articles on Medium claiming to be an "anti-feminist TV critic."
Last video of Patti LaBelle’s nephew/son/Dean Browning/ Dan Purdy before they got suspended. What. Is. Happening. https://t.co/isgYllgLIE— Héctor E. Alcalá (@Héctor E. Alcalá)1605050640.0
Ever stranger, the "Dan Purdy" identity apparently owned by Byl Holte has previously been active on other accounts that later switched races.
so from googling it would appear @deanbrowningpa's black guy identity "Dan Purdy" was also once used on the suspend… https://t.co/MzjCNlhJEB— food truck drove away with my debit card (@food truck drove away with my debit card)1605043298.0
lmao this isn't even Dean Browning's first "Dan Purdy" account. his last one was suspended. via google cache: https://t.co/Fk4nU89rR6— Matt Binder (@Matt Binder)1605043753.0
Twitter had some trouble keeping up with the insanity of the Dean Browning controversy.
so you're telling me that Patti LaBelle's son Byl Holte has an alternate Twitter account under the name Dan Purdy,… https://t.co/AriZu7T3sL— Olivia Messer 🌊 (@Olivia Messer 🌊)1605048663.0
This is the kind of bizarre tale one would expect to end 2020 on.
Not sure if the Four Seasons Landscaping fiasco or Dean Browning's alt account being found is funnier, but either w… https://t.co/qsAkZR032r— jacksfilms (@jacksfilms)1605044868.0
Congratulations to Dean Browning, today's main character.— Chris Geidner (@Chris Geidner)1605042003.0
Many felt a full summary of the drama was warranted.
Dan Purdy: a crash course https://t.co/pfUtPzXLu2— Chris Ryan 🏳️🌈 (@Chris Ryan 🏳️🌈)1605049873.0
How did we go from Dean Browning to Dan Purdy to Patti Labelle's son in less than an hour!? https://t.co/rs59Jzn5Bs— Melissa (@Melissa)1605048679.0
One thing is certain. Next time, Dean Browning will think twice before "quoting" his DM's without proper attribution.