In the days following the deadly riot at the Capitol Building where white supremacists attempted to take over the government, many took to the internet to identify those who were brazen enough to film themselves storming the federal building.
While most relied on their sleuthing skills, one teen didn’t have to do much detective work after she viewed a viral video of her family members at the riot.
“My initial reaction was more like, Oh my gosh, I was right. I was actually right about them being there,” Helena Duke told BuzzFeed News. “It was very surreal because it was an insane video, first of all, and then it was the revelation that, Oh, that’s my mother. That’s her.”
The 18-year-old told BuzzFeed News that she found it odd that her mom, Therese Duke, shut off her location on her phone earlier that week. She also became suspicious when she mentioned that she was taking Helena’s aunt, Annie Lorenz, for a procedure.
Helena, who was told she shouldn’t go to Black Lives Matter protests because they were violent, wondered if her Trump-supporting mother was headed to Washington D.C. from their home in Massachusettes.
On Thursday morning, Helena saw the now viral video of her mother.
In the video, which has amassed over 12 million views since it was uploaded on January 6, a Black woman appears to hold up a phone. A white woman, who Helena identified as her mother attempts to grab it.
The Black woman punches the woman and a fight breaks out.
Rather than stay silent about her family’s participation, Helena decided to call them out.
She called her mother’s actions ‘hypocritical.’
“Her actions were appalling and I did not think she could possibly stoop this low,” Helena told Newsweek. “I do find her participation in the insurrection extremely hypocritical as she has kicked me out of the house for attending BLM protests.”
Helena’s aunt and uncle were also at the riot at the Capitol Building, and the 18-year-old made sure to publicly identify them as well.
The following day, Therese attempted to smooth things over with Helena, but the 18-year-old simply replied, “how’s your nose.”
Annie also texted Helena, pleading that the 18-year-old take down the tweets. “Putting us in danger isn’t going to solve anything,” she wrote in part.
Helena doesn’t believe she did anything wrong. Instead of remorse for publicly shaming her hypocritical family members, she feels “very disappointed.”
“I always felt almost heartbroken over how they viewed the world and how skewed it was and how they wouldn’t allow me to express my views. But showing that they can act in such a horrible way is just really appalling to me,” she said. “I am honestly very disappointed to have to be part of this family that is so…just, very not welcoming or supportive. I don’t feel safe being part of this family.”
Would you have called out family members if you saw them at the riot?
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