STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — A virtual debate for the Stockton mayoral race turned ugly when it was Zoom bombed by hackers.
Mayoral candidate Kevin Lincoln said he believes he and his wife were targeted by the hackers at the virtual debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of San Joaquin County last week.
“It was hacked not only with voiceover but also there was very inappropriate images that were displayed as well,” Lincoln told FOX40.
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs also participated in the debate.
“Just before it was my turn to give my response to the first question, that’s when the Zoom forum was hacked,” Lincoln told FOX40.
Lincoln said someone called him by name and started making monkey noises and sexually explicit comments toward him and his wife while pornography flashed on the screen.
He also said a member of the League of Women Voters was verbally attacked.
“To me, that was just completely unacceptable,” Lincoln said.
The organization hosts a debate every election cycle but this year it was held virtually because of the pandemic.
Lincoln said he was surprised to learn other people could join the meeting.
He believes the hack wouldn’t have happened if the forum was closed to the public like he originally thought it was.
“It was obvious that the moderators, the organization putting it on, could not control what was going on and put a stop to it,” Lincoln said. “And so at that point, I said I’m putting a stop to it.”
Lincoln left the meeting.
As for the hacker, Lincoln said he is hoping they are held responsible and has reported it to the FBI.
Lincoln said he wants to make it clear he does not believe Mayor Tubbs was involved in any way.
“From my observation, when it initially happened, the mayor seemed just as shocked as I was when the situation took place,” Lincoln said. “There are bad actors out there.”
He also said he won’t be participating in any other virtual debates going forward.
“Zoom forums to me don’t prove to be the most productive,” Lincoln said.
FOX40 reached out to the League of Women Voters of San Joaquin County and Mayor Tubbs’ office but they declined to comment.