Jackson declined to answer questions about the allegations and the lawsuit. He instead provided a statement to The Washington Post about his opponent’s positions.
The lawsuit is the latest controversy to dog Jackson’s candidacy, after an earlier appearance online in December with an alleged white-nationalist group and an incident in which he mocked a disabled child and then temporarily withdrew from the race. Although Jackson secured an endorsement from the local GOP chapter, some of his critics, including Langton, are conservatives. The unusual conflict on the right in Fairfax reflects the wild nature of education politics amid rising tensions in a nationwide culture war surrounding schools — one that sometimes scrambles party allegiances and can have little to do with education policy or what kids learn. Northern Virginia has often been at the center of those debates in recent years.
Langton, the plaintiff in last week’s suit, who speaks often at school board meetings and has opposed Jackson’s candidacy since last year, filed the lawsuit in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Sept. 14. Langton alleges in the suit that Jackson has also told people in-person that Langton is a porn actress.
She says that she has never been a porn actress.
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In fact, Langton, a self-proclaimed “ultra-MAGA” voter, has spent significant time over the past three years challenging books she deems sexually explicit in school libraries, part of a rise in book challenges nationwide led in part by conservative parents. (Jackson also supports removing such books from middle school libraries.) Langton seeks $850,000 in damages for “reputational harm, mental anguish and emotional distress, shame, embarrassment, and humiliation.”
“Defendant made the defamatory statements with the intent of injuring Plaintiff’s reputation in her community and, specifically, to diminish her credibility in advocating about an issue that he has appropriated and made central to his own campaign for school board,” the lawsuit reads, referring to his platform on school library books.
“I can’t think of a worse thing to say about me,” Langton said in a news conference earlier this year, “given my fight against porn in schools.”
The suit also points out that Jackson posted screenshots online indicating he was signed in to the @pornobsessedffx X account, suggesting he had ownership of it.
Many education activists in the state’s largest school district have vocal social-media feeds, where they lob criticisms, critiques and concerns at one another. It was there that Jackson’s persona came under scrutiny.
Jackson dropped out of a school board race last year after a video showed him laughing at an autistic student singing the national anthem at a school board meeting. At the time, he offered an apology in a statement to The Post and said he was committed to supporting students with special needs.
Jackson did not answer questions about why he decided to rejoin the race for school board, but his website states that his goal is to restore “parental rights in education, transparency, trade and financial literacy, school safety, staff recruitment and retention, mental health, and a focus on core learning concepts.”
His critics have also drawn attention to an appearance in an online chat in December with members of the far-right group the Groypers, which the Anti-Defamation League identified as a white-nationalist group that holds antisemitic beliefs. Jackson joined a “Twitter Spaces” live conversation with a group of users who said they were Groypers. During the conversation, Jackson discussed his run for school board and said he was interested in learning more about what the group was about. In the nearly three-hour conversation, one member of the Groyper chat said they try to help people see that for “almost every degenerative quality of the progression of our nation, there is a Jewish element that’s in power.”
Jackson did not answer questions from The Post about his involvement in the conversation, but previously told WUSA9 in a statement that it was “a political spin story” and he does not agree with the views of the Groypers.
Jackson is running against incumbent, Melanie Meren, for the Hunter Mill District seat. School Board races in Virginia are nonpartisan, meaning there is no party affiliation or primary to nominate candidates. But the politicization of education policy in recent years has led political parties to endorse school board candidates regularly. Meren is endorsed by the local Democratic Party, and Jackson by the Republican.
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In a statement, Michael E. Ginsberg, GOP chairman of the local congressional district, did not address the claims that Jackson has posed online as Langton, but he defended the candidate: “Instead of dealing with these serious issues, a Twitter-obsessed activist, Stacy Langton, is spending her time focused on meaningless Twitter games that will do nothing to improve educational outcomes in Fairfax County. … Her complaints about Mr. Jackson’s Twitter activities are an unholy combination of projection, a personal animus against Mr. Jackson, and a desperate need for attention.”
During a Fairfax County Republican Committee meeting in May, party members voted to reconfirm Jackson’s endorsement after some voters — including Langton — raised their concerns about Jackson’s background. A small group of members spoke both in favor and against Jackson during the discussion about his endorsement before he took the stage to defend his campaign.
The party decided to maintain Jackson’s endorsement as the only Republican running to unseat Meren.
A father of three, Jackson is a co-founder of Coalition for TJ, the parent group that sued the school board over reforms to the admissions process at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. A federal district judge initially sided with the parents who argued that magnet school’s new admissions criteria discriminated against Asian American students. That decision was reversed earlier this year by an appellate court, and the case now awaits a ruling on an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Early voting in the school board race opened Friday.