Disturbing News Articles About Howell’s Behavior


At least 10 of those explicit or sexually suggestive tweets still appeared as “liked” in his account history as of the week of Feb. 27, 2023.

“Black men can use your wife however and whenever they want,” reads the caption of a “liked” Nov. 11, 2021, tweet showing a Black man and a white woman engaged in sexual intercourse.

The Lantern tried to speak with Howell in the Capitol and also submitted questions to him via email. Walking up steps to the Senate chamber, Howell on March 2 told the Lantern that he “appreciated” that a reporter showed him the liked tweets on his account in 2021.

“Now I regret it,” Howell said before walking toward the Senate floor.

The Lantern requested interviews with Howell and Senate President Robert Stivers. Instead, Billings, the Senate Republicans’ communications director, and their general counsel, David Fleenor, spoke with the Lantern on March 3.

Howell released a statement Monday afternoon through Billings saying he was the victim of hacking “or subject to spam” and accusing the Lantern of “digging up” a two-year-old “inquiry.”

WKMS Public Radio, which is affiliated with Murray State University, never broadcast or published the report about the obscenity on Howell’s social media.

“Anytime anybody does do something stupid and gets caught for it, they’ll just say, ‘Oh, well, I was hacked,’ right?” Schmidt said. “It’s very difficult nowadays to know whether anything is real or not.”

Matthew Wright, the chair of the Department of Computing Security at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said that social media accounts get hacked regularly but that he’s never heard of an attack in which the hacker made it appear someone had “liked” tweets.  

“It definitely would be an unusual type of activity for a hacker to do this over a period of time and, you know, to be sufficiently stealthy,” Wright said. “There’s nothing that technically prevents it either.”