Last week, The Guardian connected Cicotte with the alleged Twitter alias @JReubenCIark. The account repeatedly tweeted racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and misogynistic slurs or comments. Cicotte has not responded to several requests for comment via email, phone and direct message.
It is unclear whether Cicotte was fired or resigned from the Alaska Department of Law.
Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor said in a statement sent to the Anchorage Daily News: “Alaska Statute 39.25.080 makes personnel records and investigations for partially exempt employees confidential, and therefore, we cannot provide further information on the investigation that occurred.” The statement continued: “Although we cannot talk about personnel matters, we do not want the values and policies of the Department of Law to be overshadowed by the conduct of one individual.”
At the time of publication, the Alaska Department of Law had not responded to a request for comment from the Deseret News.
Taylor and Cicotte are both graduates of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, which also sent a statement to students, faculty and staff, jointly signed by Dean D. Gordon Smith and Associate Deans Justin Collings and Carolina Núñez:
“In light of the news report that a BYU Law alumnus has directed venomous and hateful Twitter messages against a variety of vulnerable groups, and in light of persistent vitriol and ugliness in civic discourse, both locally and nationally, we wish to reinforce and reaffirm our commitment to the ideals articulated in the BYU Law Mission Statement(.) ... Because of our unequivocal commitment to these ideals, we renounce hate-filled or violent rhetoric deployed by anyone against any individual or group. Our commitments require us to love and honor all people as children of God, and they demand that our public and private discourse be marked by civility, compassion, and mutual respect.”
As of Wednesday morning, the twitter account @JReubenCIark was still active. Late Tuesday night, it tweeted, “Will have more thoughts in a few days, but I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me and for my family. It means a lot to us.”
The #DezNat hashtag was created in 2018, when a Twitter user who goes by the pseudonym J.P. Bellum used it in response to criticism he saw on Twitter of the church and its leaders. Some say they use the hashtag for purely spiritual purposes, such as sharing scriptures and asking for prayers, but others have used the hashtag over the years to tweet bigoted and hateful comments.
The hashtag #DezNat, short for “Deseret Nation” or “Deseret Nationalism” is not affiliated with or supported by the Deseret News or its owner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in any way.
In 2017, in response to white supremacist online activities, the church released an official statement. “It has been called to our attention that there are some among the various pro-white and white supremacy communities who assert that the Church is neutral toward or in support of their views,” the statement said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. ... White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a ‘white culture’ or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.”