CAPITAL REGION – Tamara Dunlap, founder of the Fulton County-based “Quarantine The Quarantine” Facebook group, had a simple message for the group’s members looking for a place to protest New York state’s mask-wearing mandates for public schools — don’t do it at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daughter’s wedding.

“I was advised by a good source that I should take down and discourage posts about protesting at the Governor’s daughter’s wedding,” Dunlap wrote late Wednesday night. “I paraphrase……Don’t punish kids because of their father. It reflects poorly on what we want, and we don’t want to undercut ourselves. We don’t want to ruin his daughter’s day even though he has ruined a lot of special days for a lot of people for a year.”

Another good reason for discouraging posts about protesting the governor’s daughter’s wedding would be that none of his three daughters — Mariah, Cara or Michaela — appears to be getting married anytime soon.

In a case of misinformation running unchecked in Quarantine The Quarantine’s Facebook group, several members appear to have confused a 28-year-old Buffalo News article previewing the June 12, 1993 wedding of Andrew Cuomo’s sister Madeline Cuomo at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany with a wedding of one of Cuomo’s daughters they mistakenly think is happening this coming Saturday — June 12, 2021.

The confusion over the possibility of a protest being organized in front of the cathedral — which is practically adjacent to the Governor’s Mansion in Albany — on Saturday is occurring within the context of other protests, like the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, organized through misinformation spread through social media by groups such as the rightwing conspiracy group QAnon.

While the QTQ Facebook page, created by Dunlap on March 30, has grown to about 1,000 members, the amount of attention it has been receiving on Facebook hit nearly 1 million people this past week. According to Facebook’s “people talking about this” metric, more than 946,000 people on the social media website had been talking about the specific phrase “Quarantine The Quarantine” over the past week, with posts from the Fulton County group coming up first in a search of that phrase.

The issue of protesting at a Cuomo wedding has received so much attention that Gov. Cuomo’s senior adviser Rich Azzopardi rebutted the idea Thursday evening after he was contacted by a TV station about the rumored wedding.

Azzopardi posted a picture of an email he says he received from CBS 6 to his Twitter account @RichAzzopardi. The picture shows an email from an “Assignment Editor at WRGB-TV” which states: “I am reaching out from CBS 6 in regards to reports that the Governor’s Daughter, Madeline, will be getting married this Saturday in Albany. Can you confirm reports that her reception will be held at the executive mansion?”

In response to the inquiry, Azzopardi stated in his Twitter post. “You got duped by a bunch of MAGA trolls and a @TheBuffaloNews story from 1992.” Azzopardi is wrong about the year — Madeline married in 1993 — but right about the Buffalo News article.

Disrupting a wedding

Several members of Quarantine The Quarantine, which goes by QTQ, this week were quite animated in their desire to disrupt the nonexistent nuptials.

“I wonder … just thinking out loud here … wonder how Cuomo would enjoy a huge protest outside his daughter’s wedding this weekend,” wrote QTQ member Facebook profile Kristina Popp Mraz on Wednesday. “Asking for a friend. Hmmm? I am sure that would make his child uncomfortable …”
QTQ member Facebook profile Lisa Brown Holland suggested the group protest Cuomo’s daughter’s wedding when another member asked the group where it thinks they should start protesting.

“Governor’s daughters wedding,” Holland wrote. “Hit him where he lives like he impacts us everyday.”

Other QTQ members like Facebook profile Mindy Rose suggested a Saturday protest without specifying where.

“I say parents, families, school administrators, children anyone and everyone has an opinion or has something to say we get together this Saturday!” Rose wrote. “We make signs we make noise we let everyone know we aren’t doing this anymore!”

The confusion over the possibility of a protest being organized in front of the Immaculate Conception Church — which is practically adjacent to the Governor’s Mansion in Albany — on Saturday is occurring within the context of other protests, like the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, organized through misinformation spread through social media by groups such as the rightwing conspiracy group QAnon.

While the QTQ Facebook page, created by Dunlap on March 30, has grown to about 1,000 members, the amount of attention it has been receiving on Facebook hit nearly 1 million people this past week. According to Facebook’s “people talking about this” metric, more than 946,000 people on the social media website had been talking about the specific phrase “Quarantine The Quarantine” over the past week, with posts from the Fulton County group coming up first in a search of that phrase.

Search engine website Google shows in its “Google Trends” analytics that the search phrase “Cuomo daughter getting married” ticked up sharply to 100 searches since Sunday.

The surge in internet searches for “Cuomo daughter getting married” is coming at the same time as a June 4 People Magazine article about Andrew Cuomo’s youngest daughter titled “Michaela Kennedy Cuomo Opens Up About Her ‘Queer’ Identity While Celebrating Pride,” in which she revealed to the public she identifies as being bisexual.
Before this week the phrase had rarely been searched. A similar search phrase “Cuomo’s daughters wedding” had 100 searches between May 9 and May 15, but was never searched before that.

The brief article only refers to “Gov. Cuomo,” without mentioning his full name, Mario Cuomo, the current governor’s late father. The article appears to have been causing some confusion for months. There is only one comment on the buffalonews.com webpage for the nearly 30-year-old article, and it was posted in May 2021 by someone with the profile name “James Kegel” whose comment references Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 safety mandates. James Kegel wrote: “Wow. Cuomo got so [lucky] that the state is opening up just in time for his [expletive]. lucky guy.”

Officials at the Buffalo News did not immediately return phone calls for this story on Thursday.

On Thursday Dunlap revealed that the person who told her to curtail the talk of a Cuomo wedding protest was Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino. Dunlap said she did not become aware the wedding wasn’t happening until contacted by The Daily Gazette.
Dunlap appears to have deleted several QTQ posts from members expressing their interest in protesting the wedding, but has not issued any statements correcting them or explaining that no wedding is happening.

The Daily Gazette took screen shots of the several posts made about a wedding protest before Dunlap deleted them. After Dunlap posted her disapproval of protesting the alleged wedding, several QTQ members who had posted about disrupting the wedding backed off the idea.
Although it has relatively few members, Quarantine The Quarantine has been agitating local governments in Fulton County to ditch masks for children in public schools.

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