With a new George Santos revelation seeming to drop every day, the congressman looks as if he’s trying to prevent at least one thing from leaking: his Spotify account.
Santos appears to have taken unusual countermeasures to conceal his Spotify—a seemingly innocuous piece of his digital footprint that would only disclose that he is a fan of Brazilian music, enjoys tunes by drag queens, and gives his playlists cringey names like “Vibes” and “Turn Up.”
The Daily Beast reached out to Santos multiple times this week asking if the account was his. Santos at first didn’t respond—and then denied having a Spotify at all.
But within hours after the first contact through a voicemail on his cellphone, the account’s name was changed from “Mr. Dee”—a potential play off “Devolder,” one of his known surnames—to “ABC123.”
That wasn’t the only detail that made the connection between Santos and the account far more than a coincidence.
This story didn’t start with Santos. It started with a look at Matheus Gerard—the man Santos says he is married to—and his own social media. Spotify was in the mix. And Gerard only followed three accounts: one that appears to be an acquaintance, one for the musician David Guetta, and one for “Mr. Dee.”
A few things made Mr. Dee suspect. Not only did Gerard follow him, but he and Mr. Dee had a collaborative playlist together, housed on Gerard’s account, under the title “Matt.” Santos has generally referred to his spouse as “Matt,” but Gerard doesn’t appear to go by Matt widely on his social media.
Then there’s the fact that Mr. Dee’s own music tastes suggest an interest in drag. Video of Santos wearing drag under the name of Kitara Ravache recently emerged; the Republican initially denied it was him only to later say that he was just having fun at a festival.
Mr. Dee’s “Gym” playlist includes songs like “Adrenaline” and “Sissy That Walk” by American drag queen RuPaul. It also includes “American” by RuPaul and the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10—a patriotic ballad for inclusion that counters virtually every facet of Republicans’ anti-LGBTQ platform.
One verse, for example, goes like this: “Watch me smile and watch me slay. ’Cause I’m living for my true self everyday. It’s not about your color, gender, or size. But if we come together, we can rise.”
Another data point is Santos’ heritage—he is Brazilian. And Mr. Dee shows a particular soft spot for Brazilian drag queen Pabllo Vitar in his “Happy list” and “Turn up” playlists. The playlists altogether include a number of other Brazilian artists, including Lorena Simpson, Allan Natal, Luísa Sonza and Anitta (an artist whom Santos follows on Instagram).
Another clue came when The Daily Beast identified the second of Mr. Dee’s two lone followers as Lianna Farnesi. Farnesi works for Templar Baker, a consulting group Santos heavily contracted throughout his campaign, spending more than $102,000 on the company’s services, according to his campaign finance reports.
Farnesi was one of Santos’ top staffers throughout his 2022 bid. On invites to events for a 2021 campaign fundraiser and Santos’ 2023 swearing-in celebration, Farnesi was listed as the point of contact. And before turning her Twitter account private after the midterm elections, she was an open Santos fan. A Wayback Machine capture of her Twitter showed a long series of posts detailing Santos’ time on the trail and hailing his win against Democrat George Zimmerman.
It’s unclear exactly when Farnesi went private. She did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast attempted to reach the congressman about the account, calling his cellphone on Monday afternoon and leaving a voicemail inquiring about the “Mr. Dee” account.
Santos did not respond to the call. But by Tuesday morning, the name “Mr. Dee” had been changed to “ABC123.” And Santos’ husband, Gerard, had unfollowed the account (though he did not remove ABC123, formerly known as Mr. Dee, from the collaborative playlist they share). Farnesi still followed the account as of Thursday.
On Tuesday afternoon, The Daily Beast approached Santos in the Capitol to ask about the account. After noting a voicemail had been left on his phone about the Spotify inquiry, Santos interrupted—”A voicemail, where?”
He insisted that reporters leaving voicemails are “sometimes getting wrong numbers” and should email his staff instead.
The Daily Beast is certain the number used is Santos’ correct number.
After continuing to ask about the account, and identifying it as being under the name “Mr. Dee,” Santos interrupted again—“I don’t use Spotify. I use Pandora.”
There is a public Pandora account under the name “georgedevolder,” but that does not exclude the use of a Spotify, too. There is also another Spotify account under the name “Anthony Devolder” that uses Santos’ official congressional headshot; it is unclear whether it’s an unauthorized impersonation, or an official forward-facing account that for some reason decided to go by Anthony Devolder instead.
Spotify isn't the only social media Santos seems to be shutting down. The congressman, as of mid-January, had a public Venmo page, including his list of 157 friends, and a lineup of public payment transactions. But last week, he made all his past transactions, many laden with emojis, private.
The effort to shut down his digital presence makes sense. It appears Santos, quite literally, never stopped lying throughout his campaign. Every week new revelations emerge about his past remarks, like one this week in which it was revealed by MSNBC that Santos claimed he was the victim of an assassination attempt.
Also on Tuesday, The Daily Beast was first to report Santos had also lied about a $500,000 loan to his campaign being a personal loan. In a newly filed amendment to his campaign finance reports, Santos admitted the loan was not, in fact, taken out of his own funds. He did not identify where it actually came from.
My favorite jam right now: Sam Smith’s song, ‘Unholy.’
Rep. George Santos
With a record like that, even small insights—like a Spotify page—can matter.
While Santos’ apparent affinity for drag artists is one takeaway from his Spotify account, it’s far from the only impression.
There are plenty of everyday tunes associated with Mr. Dee’s account. There are bops like “Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You)” by Enrique Iglesias, “This Is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris and Rhianna, “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers. (Santos also follows Nick Jonas on Instagram, in addition to following several drag queen accounts.)
Overall, whoever “Mr. Dee” is, their music tastes definitely skew toward pop, with some house music mixed in.
The Daily Beast listened to Mr. Dee’s longest playlist—“Gym”—while writing much of this article and can see how it’d be good background noise for a workout. It had fast-paced, energetic songs with plenty of bass. The final song on the playlist, “Rise Up” by Andra Day, would also be excellent for a cool-down or some post-workout stretching.
When talking about totally not being a Spotify user, Santos inquired while stepping into a Capitol elevator, “Are you interested in my musical preferences?”
When The Daily Beast responded that we are, Santos offered up at least one small bit of information.
“My favorite jam right now: Sam Smith’s song, ‘Unholy,’” he said as the elevator door closed.
Will Bredderman, Jose Pagliery, and Pilar Melendez contributed to this report.