ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – As Americans, we are watching the allegations of sexual misconduct uniting the political and entertainment world in extremely unflattering ways. We have seen media moguls and Oscar winners respectfully destroyed over alleged misconduct. While we all can collectively agree that any type of sexual harassment, misconduct, lewd and lascivious behavior, etc. are unforgivable if not criminal, but what if it’s false? These are allegations, not criminal charges.
What if, in fact, the allegations are strategically designed to interfere with a person’s career or rise? I recently experienced this in a very personal way. I would like to share my experience to open your eyes to how easily an allegation can gain credibility even once confirmed false. Keep in mind, I’m not trying to go after anyone. I’m saying sometimes there is no victim at all. What I’m about to share, my personal experience, only a few people close to me ever knew occurred. I parked the experience away as a baseless attack. I am sharing this seemingly embarrassing falsehood because if it happened to me, a guy with a Facebook page, not a celebrity or elected official, it can happen to anyone.
Approximately four months ago I received a call from my Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Lew Oliver. Oliver, an attorney and never-Trumper, called to tell me he had an interaction on a gay dating site called “Grinder.” He shared with me that he had a private conversation, via messaging, with a person who began by trying to gain his trust to send pics and such. Once he backed down from the request the person then alleged, according to Oliver, that “Randy Ross has an account on here” and continued a tale of how I (Randy Ross) had a history of dating young, sometimes underaged men and would lure them with drugs and alcohol. The person went as far as to suggest I had met someone in a campaign office in March of last year (even though we didn’t open offices until August of 2016) and had taken them to a hotel where I proceeded to drug and rape them.
Of course, I quickly denounced the allegation and Oliver pretty much suggested whether it’s true or not, “I thought you should know these things were being said.” I thanked him and the call ended. Of course, in my head, I was dumbfounded as to how such an outrageous suggestion could be made. Was this the continued cost I burdened being a gay Republican that led the Trump campaign in Orange County? Initially I decided to discard Oliver’s suggestion as yet another failed opportunity to interfere with my determination to remain involved in Republican politics and specifically supporting our president.
Approximately three weeks later I received a message, via Facebook, from a member of the local media. In this dialogue, the editor began to suggest to me that he had sources that had some “pretty serious allegations against you.” Curious what the allegations were, I engaged further with the editor. Wouldn’t you know it, a few responses in the allegations were the same allegations Oliver had suggested to me only a few weeks prior. Allegations Oliver had said were via private messaging directly to him. I, of course, told the editor there was no basis for the allegations, yet that didn’t stop him from making a clear point he would investigate the allegations thoroughly and he wished me well. Now keep in mind that this editor has not been a fan of me for some time. It wouldn’t be the first story he had written about me with baseless suggestions and I was sure it wouldn’t be the last. But this one he seemed adamant to pursue.
Here is his Facebook message to me, from August 14, 2016, verbatim, where he gave me the name of the accuser and the allegation:
“Here’s something that’s NOT fake news. My name is Mitchell Robinsenk…I am a 26 year old openly gay student and I study at Valencia Community College in Winter Park. In March, right after St. Patty’s day I met Randy Ross off of a gay hook up application called ‘Grinder’. What happens between two consenting gay adults is not our business. Except for the fact that Randy got us a motel room and had given me the drug G, and provided me with marijuana.
“When I didn’t want to pursue further he threatened me with his position in the government and said how if I didn’t pursue sexually he would create problems for me. Let me tell you further FACTS! Randy Ross is a perverted disgusting pig who goes on a weekly basis to the Orlando gay bath house. He participates in the most disgusting things. Is this the kind of leader you desire? Further facts…I already contacted the Orlando police department as recently as two weeks ago because apparently two other young guys had been forced to participate in sexual acts against their will with Randy. He also threatened them.
“Who will the police believe? A 50 something or video surveillance at the same motel of three different young guys entering a motel with Randy and two of the three running scared out of the motel. Mr. Ross you may want to get your lawyers ready…
“What’s not a mistake is the sexual harassment/rape accusation that I and two other young gay guys are in the process of filing against your disgusting self. Did you really think you could get away with drugging young guys to that sleazy motel, make them take G and that they wouldn’t rise up to you? (Your) perverted scum that you are…”
By this time the interaction was, to me, borderline delusional. My responses to this person were very consistent, “ridiculous.” The final comment I received that day, after being told he was researching police reports, was, “Your accuser exists. Good luck.” My accuser exist? Good luck? So, this is how the media works? Someone allegedly tosses out an accusation and it’s true? I literally could not believe the extent this so-called journalist had gone to try and collaborate a fake story. I also found the intensity of his belief in the accusation cause for concern.
Almost without pause a few days later I received a phone call from another media outlet wherein the same baseless accusations were being suggested. If these two media outlets had gotten this fabricated story, was I to assume all local media were aware? Of course, I told the writer that the story was false. But it was at this point that I realized this was no longer a silly alleged interaction on a dating app as Oliver had suggested. This was an all-out attempt to attack my character and for lack of a better phrase “put a nail in the coffin” of this relative outsider, Randy Ross, on my rise and work in the Republican Party and as a supporter of President Trump.
If you follow the trail you’d have to believe that someone interacted privately with one person and then started contacting media. But why? What was it I was doing that would allow such an elaborate hoax to be created? Is this really how politics works? People (assuming a source or sources truly existed) can make an allegation and it’s the alleged victims that have the credibility over the person the allegations are wheeled toward?
With both media outlets, one of which suggested they were going to have their “private investigator” research the allegations, I highly encouraged them to research the truth. After over a week, at different times the same day, I received word from both media outlets that it had been determined the allegations were unprovable and were based solely on a source neither, apparently, was able to authenticate.
Fortunately, for me, the various relief efforts I led for Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico came at the time this unfortunate process was ending, allowing me a much needed distraction. It didn’t mean I was still not confused as to the motivation. Did these people really believe the baseless allegations?
The easy answer: I simply don’t know. What I did know is that our Orange County Republican Party Chairman and two media outlets were vetting the same story, with few differences, painting me as a monster, bathhouse groupie, a druggie and a rapist, none of which were or are true. But, as I’m sure you’ll agree, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the intentions of such an elaborate hoax.
Therefore, when I see stories on the news regarding what amounts to a plethora of alleged victims and allegations I look to intention and motivations. I certainly find the allegations against Judge Moore in the Alabama Senate race, if true, disgusting. I also know, as a victim of fake allegations, it is distinctly possible that the allegations are politically driven and false.
On Sunday, November 12, 2017, I watched Martha Raddatz of ABC News grill White House Counselor to the President, Spokeswoman KelleyAnne Conway about her opinions regarding Judge Moore. Raddatz was like a shark in bloody waters trying to pin Conway down as to render a belief, “does the President support Moore?” Even though the answer was to some allegation that couldn’t be proven, the news anchor wanted Conway to buy into the notion that Mitt Romney’s claim that allegations in politics need not wait for the act to appear criminal and Moore should step aside.
Whether through my personal story or observing the nature of our culture right now, one thing for sure is the media doesn’t need much to create a story. I have given you a firsthand account as to how a story can be created and vetted to make the accuser have the power and the accused, well, rendered helpless. A story can be embellished and interfere with someone’s life, livelihood, relationships…and end with no basis in fact.
Or were we all duped into a baseless allegation by a Liberal force that will stop at nothing to halt the President’s agenda for America? Right here in the I-4 corridor in little old Orlando? This, in a world of never-Trumpers and RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only), seems like a stretch.
I shared this humbling and embarrassing account because I realize, in the grand scheme of things, I’m a small fish in a small pond. You must wonder: If someone would work so diligently as to accuse me of drugging and raping a person, what are the limits? The truth is the waters of the pond are murky. There are bottom feeders looking for any and all opportunities to undermine and destroy those seeking to do better. This takes “if they’re talking about you you must be doing something right” to an entirely new level. In our modern age of social media and mainstream media thirsty in a 24/7 news cycle, we need to be the objective ones. Fake news is real and it can happen to any of us. “No comment,” today simply means you’re guilty when in fact it should mean you just have nothing to say.
Randy Ross is a political contributor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org