George Soros conspiracy theories surge as protests sweep US

George Soros
FILE - In this June 21, 2019, file photo, George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations, looks before the Joseph A. Schumpeter award ceremony in Vienna, Austria. Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist who has long been a target of conspiracy theories, is now being falsely accused of orchestrating and funding the protests over police killings of black people that have roiled the United States. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak, File)

By DAVID KLEPPER and LORI HINNANT, the Associated Press

A growing number of people on the far right are falsely claiming that liberal billionaire George Soros orchestrated the protests that have roiled the U.S. They allege without evidence that he’s paid demonstrators and even arranged for piles of bricks to be left near protests. Researchers who study conspiracy theories say it’s a way to delegitimize the demonstrations and the thousands who have gathered to protest racial injustice. While Soros’ support for liberal causes has long made him the target of conspiracy theories, social media analysts say they’ve seen an unprecedented spike in online mentions of the investor and philanthropist since the protests began.