Last week, the owner of the controversial online message board, 8chan, was “respectfully requested” to appear before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Now, he’s being ordered to do so.
On Wednesday, 8chan owner Jim Watkins was sent a subpoena to appear before the House Committee on September 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Watkins has been under scrutiny as of late, given 8chan’s connection to the recent shooting in El Paso, Texas, which left over 20 people dead. The suspect, a 21-year-old man, is believed to have posted a manifesto on 8chan minutes before the attack advocating anti-immigrant and white supremacist beliefs.
The shooting was the third act of “deadly white supremacist extremist violence” in the past six months, the House Committee said on Wednesday. Hearing Watkins’ testimony on the matter, they said, was “critical” to understanding what can be done to “counter the trend.”
Little is known about Watkins, who lives in the Philippines raising pigs and running various websites, like 8chan. When the House Committee sent the original request for him to testify last week, for instance, it was not immediately clear whether they had his correct mailing address.
8chan’s founder, Fredrick Brennan — who’s no longer connected to the site and has become an outspoken critic — has recently called on Watkins to shut down the site he originally created.
“Do the world a favor and shut it off,” he has said.