Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry's "protecting minors" tip line yielded thousands of spam complaints in the first week following its linch (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s “Protecting Minors” tip line, set up to field concerns about librarians, teachers and other school and library personnel, has been flooded with thousands of spam complaints.
More than 5,500 pages of complaints were released to the Louisiana Illuminator in response to a public records request. The records include all complaints submitted during the seven-day period immediately following the tip line’s inception on Nov. 28, 2022.
The vast majority of complaints submitted to the tip line were spam. Dozens of users submitted the entire script of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie.”
Posting the entire script of the film has been a popular internet meme since 2013, when the full script was uploaded to Tumblr. Other popular copy-and-paste memes, also called copypasta, were also submitted en masse to the tipline.
They include “My Immortal,” a fan fiction work from an anonymous Harry Potter enthusiast that’s been widely panned in those circles. Also submitted, a scene from “The Simpsons,” in which Ralph Wiggum describes witnessing two other characters in the closet “making babies.”
Other spam included insults such as: “your mom,” “bozo” and “get a life.”
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Hundreds of users complained about The Bible, pointing to passages that describe explicit sexual activity, rape, incest and abortion. The complaints say these portions of the Bible are inappropriate for children.
Several complaints raged at Landry for refusing to set up a tip line for clergy abuse.
“In 2018, the Louisiana attorney general stated that he couldn’t set up a tip line for people to report clergy sexual abuse because he didn’t have the authority to prosecute them… Clearly the Church has an established history of child sexual abuse, but you have decided to waste funds on a dead-ended search for that abuse in libraries rather than whereit really exists,” wrote one user, only identified as John.
Others submitted the addresses of Catholic churches and lists of Louisiana clergy members who have been accused of sexual assault.
Out of the thousands of pages of complaints, only a small handful appeared to be made with serious intent. Upon closer inspection, some comments that initially appeared to be serious were actually against schools, libraries and books that do not exist.
Several serious complaints were filed by local public officials and conservative activists who have been involved in efforts to remove or relocate books in parish libraries.
“I would love to help keep this inappropriate material out of our childrens [sic] hands, work with senate and reps to pass laws to protect children from… this pornography that tax dollars are paying for,” Abby Crosby said. “I will need some guidance because I will soon be appointed to the library board in Livingston Parish.”
St. Tammany School Board member Michelle Hirstius also wrote to vent her frustration with its parish library.
“There are some books in the Juvenile section that are inappropriate for that age group,” Hirstius said. “Transgender transition, masturbation, sex. These are adult subjects.”
Connie Phillips, leader of the conservative activist group St. Tammany Library Accountability Project, wrote that pornography is pervasive in libraries.
“The [library directors] are hostile and on a mission to keep the material in the children’s section of the libraries,” Phillips said.
“The (American Library Association) President is a self described Marxist so it is no surprise that this happening [sic] all across the country as she has millions of taxpayer dollars that she uses to advance her social justice agenda and thousands of indoctrinated foot solidiers [sic] who are disguised as librarians,” Phillips said. “Please help us put and [sic] end to this madness and protect our children.”
Some serious complaints took another view, voicing concerns with conservative attempts to meddle in local libraries.
“I agree with you that a library should be a safe place so unfortunately I must report that Connie Phillips… has made libraries unsafe for librarians,” said Mel Manuel, organizer of an anti-censorship group, St. Tammany Parish Library Alliance. “Furthermore, she has committed the crime of defamation by publicly stating that the president elect of the ALA is a ‘groomer’ and a ‘Marxist.’”
Amanda Jones, president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians, wrote to report Livingston Parish Library Board of Control member Erin Sandefur, who has publicly challenged books with LGBTQ content.
“Besides lying to the community about her goals to censor LGBTQ books… she is now currently simultaneously on both that board and the (Livingston Parish) Council,” Jones wrote.
One user, known only as “Melanie,” reported Lafayette Parish Library Board of Control members Robert Judge and David Pitre.
At the time of launching the tip line Cory Dennis, a spokesperson for Landry, said that the library tip line is related to Landry’s Cyber Crime Unit but declined to comment further on how Landry will use the tips submitted.
Landry’s office did not respond to requests to comment for this story.
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