On Saturday morning, Oct. 16, 2021, several readerboard-style electronic construction signs around Des Moines were found to have been hacked to read “Let’s Go Brandon,” a phrase based on a misheard anti-Biden statement chanted at a recent NASCAR race.
A local resident shared the following photos of four such signs with The Waterland Blog:
But are they legit, or Photoshopped?
“Yep, real deal,” the resident confirmed with The Waterland Blog. “At at least two main entrances to the City of Des Moines downtown core, and third location on Pacific Highway, an electronic billboard sign was hacked and the newly-minted phrase ‘LETS GO BRANDON’ was posted. (Are there more?)”
The phrase has become an anti-Biden war cry, after a reporter mistakenly thought a NASCAR race crowd in October was shouting ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ instead of ‘F— Joe Biden.'”
Our source first saw a photo of a hacked sign on Facebook, then decided to take a drive around town to see for himself.
“It felt very much that any dividing line between national divides and our hyper local community was being permanently erased,” he said.
Our source confirmed that – as of 11 a.m. Saturday morning – the signs were still up, and all that enter our fair city were greeted with a friendly “Let’s Go Brandon” message.
Apparently these types of signs are easily hackable.
Des Moines City Communications Director Bonnie Wilkins posted the following response on Facebook on Saturday morning, Oct. 16:
“[Y]es, the signs are real, however the City did not, and would not have put that message on there. The signs been there quite some time with an announcement about the Marina bulkhead construction and parking. The signs have been hacked and I let staff know.”
Wilkins added that the signs are property of the construction company/contractor for the Marina Bulkhead Replacement project, and they have been notified about this and “we have asked them to fix this issue.”
“I have SO many thoughts and questions,” our source added. “One is – this was extremely funny and subversive, and tactically brilliant. I don’t think the original joke is all that funny – but the actual complexity of the protest here to insert the joke is somewhat genius. I usually like that. I liked it here. But as we all know, with all great comedy and all great protest comes great accountability. Ask any comedian or defendant in a criminal trespass case. And given how our city has been so prominent in national press for our unfortunate nexus to white supremacy – how will this help or hurt? How the City reacts to this messaging – even if hacked – seems relevant.”