CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland mayoral candidate Tony Madalone said Tuesday that a hacker briefly took over his Twitter account late last year and posted an obscene and racist tweet, then demanded $300 to get the account back.
Madalone offered an accounting of the events after cleveland.com called to say a tipster had sent the news outlet a screen grab of the tweet with the racial epithet – “F–k n—-rs.”
The hack occurred Dec. 13, 2016, while Madalone and former Cleveland Browns kick returner Josh Cribbs were shopping for toys for a charity event, Madalone said.
“The number of tweets that that person sent in a row made it obvious that it was a hack,” Madalone said. “It was a big deal because of the amount of people who follow me.”
Madalone has nearly 14,000 followers on his Twitter handle, @TMadCLE. He also uses a Twitter account tied to his business, Fresh Brewed Tees. That handle, @FreshBrewedTees, has more than 36,000 followers.
Madalone got Twitter involved and the company regained control of his account. He provided cleveland.com with an email exchange that backs his story. He didn’t report the incident to police, but acknowledged that he viewed it as an attempt to extort money.
After several days, Madalone was able to use his account again.
“FINALLY have my account back. I was hacked on Tuesday evening & apologize for the material the hacker posted. Thx for the support – Tony,” he tweeted on Dec. 16.