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‘Wrong guy’: Journalist with strikingly similar name to Matt Gaetz has to defend himself on Twitter

Florida Republican Matt Gaetz is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws. Journalist Matthew Gertz, whose name is strikingly similar to Gaetz', took the heat on Twitter.
Florida Republican Matt Gaetz is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws. Journalist Matthew Gertz, whose name is strikingly similar to Gaetz', took the heat on Twitter.ERIN SCHAFF

Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters, was targeted on Twitter Wednesday in the wake of a New York Times report that alleges Representative Matt Gaetz is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws.

Gertz, whose name is only a few letters off from Gaetz’, was getting mis-tagged in tweet after tweet in response to the investigations. Gertz’ Twitter handle is @MattGertz, and Gaetz’ Twitter handle is @MattGaetz.

Classic mixup.

Gaetz, an ally of former president Donald Trump, is being investigated by federal authorities over whether he engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to accompany him on his travels. Gertz, who often reports on Fox News and its relationship with the Trump administration, was getting peppered with mentions online mistaking him for the GOP congressman.

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“Wrong guy,” Gertz had to reply, over, and over, and over again.

In one tweet, Gertz shared a screenshot of a text from his father, who wrote “your life is hell” next to a link to the Times’ story, seemingly predicting the mixup that would later ensue.

Gertz’ friends even took to the platform to help clear the air.

“I want to say unequivocally that my friend @MattGertz is innocent of all the allegations against him, and that justice will be done when this witch hunt ends,” fellow journalist Zack Beauchamp wrote.

Gertz is often misidentified and flooded with tweets when Gaetz makes news, to the point that he has added a line to his Twitter bio clarifying he’s “Definitely not the GOP congressman.”

Gertz seemed to lean into the moment Wednesday, thanking allies for the “thoughts payers, jokes, drinks, and polite tweets from my followers to people informing them that they have got the wrong guy!”

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In a series of tweets following the Times’ article publication, Gaetz denied the allegations against him, claiming that over the past several weeks, he and his family have been “victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name” and have been “cooperating with federal authorities.”



Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follower her on Twitter @brittbowker.