Twitter is very rarely fun, these days. It is a hell site, brimming with racists and Nazis, pedantic mansplainers, Verified Trump Repliers, callouts, pile-ons, the same jokes over and over and over again.

Very occasionally, something brings us all together; often, that thing is someone pompous or annoying or genuinely awful showing their ass, or more often their boner. Think of when Kurt Eichenwald accidentally revealed he was browsing hentai, or when Josh Marshall of TPM accidentally tweeted a link to a porn video; or, in the old days, before it all got a bit horrible, when Anthony Weiner accidentally tweeted his boxers-clad dong. Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people, and there’s no greater “there but for the grace of god go I, but I better roast this fucker right now anyway” moment than the accidental porn tweet.

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Last night, around 12.30AM, we had one of those rare moments: Ted Cruz’s official Twitter account, @TedCruz, liked a tweet from a porn account containing an explicit video, making it appear in the “activity” columns of thousands of late-night Twitter users.

This raises a ton of questions. Who browses porn on Twitter? Who feels the need to “like” that tweet, to convey to the porn-poster, yes, thank you, I did enjoy your video of a woman fingering herself while watching two people fuck in her house? Why is the account called “SexuallPosts”?

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But the key question is: Who dunnit? Elected officials don’t usually run their own Twitter accounts, although they’re all likely to have access to their accounts on their phones, and some do tweet themselves. But mostly they have communications staffers run the accounts, to act as their carefully-honed Funny and Relatable Human Voices.

Many, like Cruz, have two separate Twitter accounts, one for their elected office and one for their campaign, in order to comply with ethics laws forbidding campaign activity on the taxpayer dime. In this case, the Like came from the campaign account (the same account that many say “owned” Deadspin and, by extension, Ashley Feinberg this past January). That means it’s likely that the person who liked this tweet is paid by the campaign rather than the Senate office, making it easy to narrow down our list of suspects.

Suspect 1: Ted Cruz

This is the most obvious and most desirable answer. It would be, simply, extremely great if a sitting U.S. senator accidentally liked a porn tweet late at night from his official account. Arguments in favor of it being Ted include that he is clearly of an age where one might not realize that “liking” a tweet is public. He’s also a very busy man, likely starved of opportunities to jerk it quietly, and he may have happened upon the dirty tweet while doing his real job of reading the people’s tweets. I keep thinking back to that great line in “The Thick of It,” where the exhausted minister says the only time he gets to himself is when he’s shitting, and he doesn’t even read the New Statesman then, because that’s his time.

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I don’t know, there’s something very correct about the idea that Ted Cruz was scrolling through Twitter late at night, maybe tapping through one account to another, ended up on the SexuallPosts account, watched the porn, and thought, yes, I like this, beep boop, press like.

But we have no evidence other than this feeling—powerful as it may be—and, alas, Cruz himself has denied it.

Suspect 2: Josh Perry

Until earlier this year, Josh Perry was the man who ran Ted Cruz’s Twitter account, as detailed in this CNN profile from 2015. He practically brags about how it was he who “owned” Deadspin, as do people who, inexplicably, appear to be his friends:

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Perry left Cruz’s team in May to join Axiom Strategies, where he is director of social media and serves “as strategist for Axiom’s various digital campaigns.” Axiom has been paid by the Cruz Senate campaign committee a total of four times, twice in January and twice in April, for political strategy consulting. That’s before Perry joined the firm, but it is possible that Perry is still running the account for Cruz; current campaign finance records are only available through the end of June, so we don’t know if Axiom has been paid since then. It’s possible that the man who helped hone Cruz’s unique Twitter voice is still at it.

Perry has not responded to our request for comment.

Suspect 3: Bryan English

English is a senior adviser to Cruz’s Senate campaign. According to campaign finance data, English is paid $10,500 per month for this role. He is one of only six people who have been on the Cruz campaign payroll this year, two of whom weren’t paid at all in June, the most recent month we have records for.

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English is also the only man on the campaign payroll. I am not saying women don’t love a good bit of porn too, but even the most ardent advocate of female self-love must admit that it is much more likely that a man did this.

Looking at English’s own Twitter likes, we can see that he often likes tweets that are only sent to @TedCruz, such as this charming portrait of a man and his family:

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He also liked from, his own account, the tweet that immediately followed the porn tweet in @TedCruz’s likes, from the Christian Fellowship.

Interesting—but not conclusive.

English has not responded to our request for comment.

Suspect 4: Catherine Frazier

The wildcard of the pack, Frazier is also on Cruz’s campaign staff. Her bio lists her as a senior communications advisor to Cruz’s campaign, making it very likely she would have access to the Twitter account. Frazier also was the first Cruz staffer to tweet about the incident, at 2:16 a.m. last night, and managed to get almost all the details of the incident wrong:

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Up late tweeting, were we, Catherine?

Frazier has not responded to our request for comment. [Update: Frazier emails: “I tweeted a transcript from his earlier comments to reporters. I have nothing to say beyond that. thanks!”]


Of course, there’s nothing wrong with watching porn, though there is something deeply wrong with working for or being Ted Cruz. And perhaps none of these people were responsible. But will we ever know who did the dirty Like? Cruz at first seemed to dodge the question:

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But apparently Cruz’s office is as interested in discovering the culprit as all of us are:

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If you are the person who liked the tweet and would like to come forward and admit it, my email is libby.watson@splinternews.com.