‘South Park’ writer creates parody campaign websites poking fun at Governor Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans

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The site address may appear to belong to Greg Abbott, but none of the words or mentions found on “governorgregabbott.com” were written by the Texas politician or his staff. The actual owner of the website is Toby Morton, 51, a former Oklahoma-based comedy writer who once wrote for hit shows such as “South Park” and “MADtv.” In recent years, Morton has begun creating a series of campaign-style parody websites mocking Republican leaders like Abbott for their stances on guns, anti-transgender youth legislation, and other political stunts that Morton sees as regressive and dangerous.

Morton’s fake campaign site for Abbott calls out the governor for his alleged role in the price spike during the February 2021 winter freeze. It also skewers the Republican leader for considering granting clemency to Austin police officers charged with the tactics used against protesters during the 2020 protests against racial injustice. The site also references a 2015 tweet posted by Abbott lamenting that the state is falling behind California in background check requests for gun purchases. The missive resurfaced after the deadly May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Perhaps the most notable facet of the site is an endorsement from Abbott’s Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke. “Here at GovernorGregAbbott.com, we fully endorse Beto for governor,” reads the page, which includes a link to donate to O’Rourke’s campaign. “Governor Greg Abbott is tired and thinks he better rest for the rest of his life.”

Morton says the governor’s office is aware of the site and two employees have actually subscribed since. Morton also recently launched a parody website for Sen. Ted Cruz, which calls the junior senator a “sycophant”, “seditionist” and “accomplice in murder”. The site is still in its infancy, but Morton plans to add a section “dedicated to Doors and how they can save America,” a barb taking aim at the recent proposal by the senator and other GOP lawmakers to enhanced one-door provisions as a solution to gun violence in American schools.

Morton says the massacre of 10- and 11-year-old students at Uvalde angered him and motivated him to “delve into what [Republican leaders] are really on point.” The comic writer plans to add ongoing updates emphasizing Cruz and Abbott’s views on guns and ties to the NRA.

Morton has actually created at least seven of the “GOP Sycophant websites” so far, including pages criticizing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN. Y.). Morton’s first website was a domain for former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California), which included animations and satirical stories in the style of The Onion. After his friend shared the site on Twitter, Morton received requests from users to create more.

“I fell into it,” Morton said. “I think that’s why people call me ‘the accidental activist.’ I read an article in 2019 about how a campaign bought their opponent’s domain name and redirected that domain to their own. I thought that was smart, but I thought there might be more to it than just redirecting the domain.

Only one politician, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), actually tried to have Morton’s site about her taken down. However, Morton says the sites are legal because they are each labeled “parody,” which is protected by the First Amendment, and include stories and videos made for comedic purposes. Still, he received a handful of angry reactions from the politicians’ supporters.

Several social media users have praised Morton for the sites and the writer says he has collected just enough donations from his followers to keep the domains open. “I started out wanting to get some feedback, but now my hope is to bring more awareness to people running for office,” Morton said. “Many others are creating videos, but I seem to be the only one creating fake websites for politicians, so hopefully these will grow even more.”

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