Nina Jankowicz, who was recently chosen to lead a new Biden administration effort to police “misinformation” and “disinformation,” appears to have been in a Harry Potter tribute band that performed a song about Senator Elizabeth Warren.
A resurfaced Twitter thread from September 2020 purports to show Jankowicz performing Harry Potter-themed musical pieces.
This type of Harry Potter-themed musical performance has been referred to by fans as Wizard Rock. A Wizard Rock fan page says one such music duo known as “The Moaning Myrtles” featured Lauren Fairweather and Nina Jankowicz. A photo of the duo on the page shows a strong resemblance to the photo Jankowicz shared when she announced on Wednesday that she would serve as the inaugural executive director for the Disinformation Governance Board, which will operate under the purview of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
A musician named Lauren Fairweather — who says she creates “video content, handmade art, and songs inspired by books and TV shows” including Harry Potter-themed content — follows Jankowicz on Twitter, further indicating that the Jankowicz leading the new DHS disinformation board and the Jankowicz from this Harry Potter tribute duo are one and the same.
According to the fan page, The Moaning Myrtles duo was active from 2005 to 2011 and briefly returned to the Wizard Rock scene from 2017 to 2018.
Another resurfaced video purports to show Jankowicz taking part in a Wizard Rock performance. Throughout the song, the group sings the name Myrtle Elizabeth Warren (the name of a Harry Potter character known as Moaning Myrtle), as well as the lyrics “nevertheless, I persisted.”
The phrase “nevertheless, I persisted” appears to be a reference to the phrase “nevertheless, she persisted” — words then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke when he accused Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) of breaking Senate rules to disparage Jeff Sessions during a February 2017 confirmation hearing on his Attorney General nomination. The lyrics about “Myrtle Elizabeth Warren” suggest a reference to the Harry Potter character blended with the real-life senator’s name.
Other past politically charged comments from Jankowicz have resurfaced in recent days, in light of her appointment to lead a government board established to police “disinformation.”
In 2019, Jankowicz lamented that social media platforms “still aren’t allocating enough human resources with local expertise to monitor speech and safety issues in non-white, non-English speaking markets.”
She added at the time, “And they are still confusing ‘more speech’ with ‘free speech.’ Technology is not an unadulterated societal good that sprinkles people with First Amendment fairy dust at each login.”
Ahead of the 2020 U.S. election, Jankowicz authored an op-ed in The Atlantic titled “Trump’s Version of Poll Watching Sounds Like Thuggery.” In response to a November 2021 report about Trump allies endorsing supporters to fill local election board seats throughout the country, Jankowicz retweeted the op-ed with the caption, “Yep. Sadly I feared this would happen when the Trump campaign injected violence into election observation last year. Now, far from just sending observers, they’re infecting the process itself.”
In September 2020 amid weeks of riots in Portland, Oregon in which participants set fires in and around police buildings, Jankowicz tweeted, “Trump talking about how he would ‘put out that fire’ in Portland is the language of authoritarianism. It means the violent clearing of protestors, arrest without cause, abuse of human rights. That’s [not] law enforcement, that’s lawlessness.”
She also cast doubts about the New York Post’s controversial October 2020 reporting about the contents of a laptop reportedly belonging to Hunter Biden. Jankowicz said it should be viewed as a product of President Donald Trump’s campaign. The New York Post was suppressed by social media platforms and declared a Russian information operation at the time, but the laptop’s contents have since been authenticated by other news outlets.
Jankowicz previously worked as a disinformation fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on its communications strategy as part of the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship (previously known as the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship). She also oversaw democracy outreach programs in Russia and Belarus while working at the National Democratic Institute.
Jankowicz also authored the 2020 book, “How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict” and “How to Be a Woman Online: Surviving Abuse and Harassment, and How to Fight Back,” out this month. In the prologue of “How to Lose the Information War,” Jankowicz wrote “Election meddling wasn’t the only reason Donald Trump won the  election, but it was a significant contributing factor” and wrote that Trump used the term “fake news” to “describe any narrative they find politically inconvenient.”