Purported owner of ‘Trump Dating’ linked to Riddleberger name
A photo of Greensboro conservative activists Barrett and Jodi Riddleberger that was until recently on the main page of a dating website for Trump supporters has attracted international press coverage. As London-based Newsweek reporter Sofia Lotto Persio wrote in the article, “Face of Trump Dating site Dropped After His Child Sex Conviction Resurfaces,” the photo of the Riddlebergers was removed from Trump.Dating after the then 25-year-old Barrett Riddleberger’s 1995 conviction for making a videotape of himself having sex with a 15-year old girl began receiving media attention.
In a Feb. 19 article at InstNewsPress.com, “Trump.Dating Corrects ‘Married’ Relationship Glitch, Substitutes Homepage Image,” the following paragraph appears:
“Additionally, on February 19th, the identity of the couple in the homepage image surfaced — most notably the man’s 25-year-old conviction of sexual impropriety. The minute our team was notified of these details, the couple’s photo was removed from the Trump.Dating site. We replaced it with a stock photo from our database. Their photo was a user submission. The couple’s history was not revealed to us in anyway [sic] beforehand or while the photo was live on the site. They are not spokesmodels. They are not spokespersons. They no longer represent the Trump.Dating image.”
This article, purportedly an online press release, bears no byline. But “Sean McGrossler” is listed as Trump.Dating’s official contact via the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
That name also appears in a sponsored Feb. 8 post on The Daily Caller, “MAKE DATING GREAT AGAIN: Dating Site For Trump Supporters Officially Launches.” That article, which announces “Trump.Dating was made by patriots, for patriots, passionate about putting America first in their future.” bears the byline “Sean McGrossler.”
It also contains the following sentence, which refers to the name on the byline in the third person:
“Political leanings are part of each and every person’s foundation,” said Sean McGrossler, founder and owner of Trump.Dating.”
An earlier version of this article can be found at the website Archive.Today. According to its main page, Archive.Today is “a time capsule for web pages” that “takes a ‘snapshot’ of a webpage that will always be online even if the original page disappears” and “provides a short and reliable link to an unalterable record of any web page.”
In the version, dated Feb. 6, the surname of the “founder and owner” of Trump.Dating is spelled “McGrossier” rather than “McGrossler,” although the byline “Sean McGrossler” appears under the title. But there is a more interesting discrepancy. In that version of the article, the “Sean McGrossler” byline is linked to the following URL:
The Washington Post’s Avi Selk mentions this same discrepancy in the Solo-ish Analysis article “A dating site for Trump supporters used a sex offender as its model. It has a few other issues, too.” In the following paragraph, Selk reports,
“For some reason, Sean McGrossler’s byline on the Daily Caller is tagged as ‘ariddleberger’ — the last name of the former model convicted of a sex crime, whom Sean McGrossler (the spokesman and possibly also the owner) said no longer represented Trump.Dating.”
Selk reported that “McGrossler/McGrossier did not respond to questions about whether Riddleberger is involved in running the site. Riddleberger couldn’t be reached, either.”
In other words, that link identifies the author of the Daily Caller post announcing the debut of Trump.Dating not as “Sean McGrossler,” but “ariddleberger.” While neither Barrett Riddleberger nor Jodi Riddleberger’s first names begin with the letter “a,” their son is Addison Riddleberger.
The Daily Caller article is also linked in a Feb. 6 entry at Qwiket.com, an online community that bills itself as “America’s First News” and “The Internet of Us.” Under the title “MAKE DATING GREAT AGAIN: Dating Site for Trump Supporters Officially Launches” appears the first sentence of The Daily Caller article and a link to the rest. Under the excerpt is the name “Addison Riddleberger.”
My earlier article “Local conservative couple were the faces of Trump Dating” contains information on Addison Riddleberger as well as his parents. A former intern for Congressman Mark Walker (NC-6), Addison Riddleberger has written for the website The Conservative Tribune. His Linked-In profile lists him as the President of New Compass Productions, a Greensboro photography/video production company. He has maintained an active presence on local political blogs, where he is known for his provocative rhetoric. He was the subject of the Dec. 17, 2016, Daily Kos article, “GOP Congressional Intern in Fake News Business.”
Persio’s Newsweek article linked in my opening paragraph contains the statement: “It remains unclear how Friends Worldwide, the company operating the Trump.Dating website, obtained the couple’s pictures.” In my previous article, linked above, I quoted Barrett Riddleberger as saying he had given the photo “to a friend of a friend” for use it on the Trump.Dating website.
I have attempted to contact Addison Riddleberger via his phone number at his company New Compass Productions, his email, and his Facebook page to ask if he had any involvement with Sean McGrossler and the article. I have called Barrett Riddleberger at xPotential Selling, the number I used to contact him for the previous article, and asked for clarification. As of 5 p.m. on Feb. 21, there has been no response from either party. The number for xPotential Selling no longer connects to a company receptionist, but goes straight to Barrett Riddleberger’s voicemail.