On Tuesday, day 4 of the January 6 hearings unfolded, with the testimonies of two Georgia election workers who were personally targeted by Trump and his acolytes to further a false election fraud narrative. Wandrea AsShaye “Shaye” Moss and her mom, “Lady” Ruby Freeman, spoke candidly about the damage done to their lives and reputations in the aftermath.
The hearing was the fourth in a series of public hearings by the House committee tasked with investigating the attack on the Capitol building that happened on 6 January 2021. Tuesday’s session focussed on the pressures Trump and his team placed on Arizona and Georgia officials to deny his 2020 election loss.
Shaye Moss, who also served as an election worker in 2016, when Trump carried Georgia, and her mom, Ruby Freeman received death threats and had to flee their homes after Trump’s team spread false claims that they’d committed election fraud.
After their testimonies on Tuesday, a number of GoFundMe campaigns have been set up to help Shaye Moss and Lady Ruby rebuild their lives. Some of these have already surpassed their targets.
Who are Wandrea Moss and Lady Ruby Freeman?
Wandrea AsShaye “Shaye” Moss is a former Fulton County Department of Registration & Elections employee, who worked with the department from 2011 to 2022. As a registration officer, her main duties were handling voter applications and absentee ballot requests.
She told the January 6 House committee that she chose to become an election worker because she grew up in a family that stressed to her the importance of voting. Her grandmother liked to remind her it was a right that was not available to the generations before her. Moss enjoyed her work and liked helping connect people to the voting process, she explained before the committee.
On 22 May, Moss received the 2022 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, for “doing the hard and unseen work to run our democracy”.
Moss and her mother, “Lady” Ruby Freeman, worked together at the State Farm Arena voting section during the 2020 election when they got pulled into a false narrative of voter fraud promoted by former president Trump and his allies. Ruby Freeman described herself in her testimony as a “small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who stand up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”
Both women were subjected to a smear campaign by the former president and his aides, which resulted in death threats and harassment so severe that Moss had to change her appearance and flee her home, taking her son along.
GoFundMe campaigns for Shaye Moss and Lady Ruby fundraise for new beginnings
After the two women testified in Tuesday’s hearing, an astounding number of GoFundMe campaigns have been opened up in their names, in an outpouring of compassion and support from internet denizens. Most of the fundraising efforts focus on helping the mother-daughter duo rebuild their lives in the wake of what they’ve been through.
In the description of her GoFundMe, Moss explains the money raised will go towards covering her short-term financial needs. She adds she aims to stop anyone else from experiencing the kind of abuse she was subjected to by Trump and his allies.
“NO ONE deserves to be lied to, harassed, bullied, threatened, or publicly humiliated for any reason,” she emphasises.
Lady Ruby’s GoFundMe explains her life has been “a wreck for the last year. I have lost so much. I’ve had several death threats, terroristic threats, people coming to my home, I no longer feel safe living here.”
Moss and Freeman’s GoFundMe pages have so far raised a combined 132,922, with $48,848 so far raised for Shaye and $84,074 for Lady Ruby.
The Focus is currently investigating the other GoFundMe pages set up by third parties for the two women and will update readers on their legitimacy.
Georgia election workers testify in front of Jan 6 commission
During her testimony before the January 6 commission on Tuesday, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss explained how false accusations of ballot fraud made by former president Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other allies “turned my world upside down.”
“I don’t want anyone knowing my name,” she said. “I don’t wanna go anywhere with my mom ’cause she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere.”
“I second-guess everything that I do,” Moss went on. “It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way, all because of lies for me doing my job, same thing I’ve been doing forever.”
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Trump and Giuliani perpetrated a defamation campaign against Moss and her mother, making various false claims that they’d helped “steal” the Georgia vote from Trump. Conspiracy theories were disseminated among Trump’s supporters until some of them sprung into action – they terrorised the two women with death threats, unwanted house calls and even tried to perform a “citizens arrest” on Moss’s elderly grandmother.
In her testimony, Moss’s mother, Ruby Freeman, added she no longer felt safe anywhere: “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American — not to target one.”
Both women were forced to leave their homes out of fear for their safety. Moss added that her son also received threats simply for being related to her.
Lady Ruby and Shaye Moss receive settlement in OANN defamation suit
Trump’s claims mainly hinged on a doctored video that had been edited to show the two women allegedly committing voter fraud. The fake footage and ensuing conspiracy theories were quickly picked up by right-wing media, including Newsmax and the pro-Trump One America News Network (OANN).
Trump also singled out Freeman by name to his supporters, calling her a “vote scammer, a professional vote scammer and hustler”.
Even after the footage was shown to be fake, OANN continued publishing misinformation about Moss and Freeman that contributed to their harassment. Eventually, the two women had to bring forward two defamation suits against the network in an attempt to clear their names and restore their reputations.
The Associated Press reported in April 2022 that the network granted Moss and Freeman a settlement over the claims.