An Arkansas man says he was mistakenly identified as a white nationalist who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.
Kyle Quinn, who operates a laboratory focused on wound-healing research, adds he was not present for the recent violence in Charlottesville.
“You have celebrities and hundreds of people doing no research online, not checking facts,” he told the New York Times Monday.
“I’ve dedicated my life to helping all people, trying to improve health care and train the next generation of scientists, and this is potentially throwing a wrench in that.”
Quinn said he began receiving a flood of vulgar Instagram and Twitter messages last weekend after social media users mistook him for a man present for the chaos in Charlottesville.
A photograph that circulated online in recent days shows a bearded man with a similar build to Quinn marching in Charlottesville while wearing an “Arkansas Engineering” shirt.
Quinn spent Friday, however, working at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
A colleague and Quinn’s wife then joined him for an evening in Bentonville that included dinner at a restaurant there and a visit to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Quinn and his wife ultimately spent the weekend with a colleague after they feared for their safety when he was misidentified.
Multiple people online called for Quinn’s firing, accused him of racism and even posted his home address on social media networks.
The Times reported that the actual man in the photograph from Charlottesville – which is about 1,100 miles away from Quinn’s location – remains unknown.
Some Internet users have tried identifying individuals who took part in white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville over the weekend.
White nationalists traveled to Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate statue there.
Charlottesville erupted in violent clashes last Saturday between white nationalists and counter-protesters there.
One person died and 19 others were injured when a man with ties to white nationalism drove a car into demonstrators during the chaos there.