In the late night open thread, Anne Laurie covered “Libs of TikTok” hate channel creator Chaya Raichik’s appearance on Tucker Carlson’s pay site for angry, day-drunk retirees, “Tucker Carlson Today.” IMO, the topic bears repeating for the day shift.
Raichik is a Brooklyn real estate agent who manages the “Libs of TikTok” hate channel across multiple platforms. Her shtick is feeding outrage bait to anti-LGBTQ culture warriors. She got her big break after meathead podcaster Joe Rogan featured some of her material, and over the past year, she has steadily gained influence with “anti-woke” media jerks and elected Republicans.
She used to manage her accounts anonymously until reporter Taylor Lorenz of the Washington Post followed some fairly obvious online breadcrumbs and wrote an article (gift link) that revealed Raichik’s name back in April. Raichik cried foul about being named and claimed she got death threats. On Carlson’s show last night, she said Florida’s governor offered her asylum in the governor’s mansion:
“When I was doxxed, someone from Ron DeSantis’s team called me,” she told Carlson. “She said, ‘The governor wanted me to give you a message. If you don’t feel safe, if you need a place to go, to hide, to stay, you can come to the governor’s mansion.’ She said, ‘We have a guest house for you, and you can stay as long as you need.’”
Despite Lorenz “outing” her, Raichik continued to operate low-key anonymously until she “revealed” herself on Carlson’s program. So what kind of stuff does this influential content creator who was invited to stay at the Florida governor’s mansion on the taxpayer dime put out there for public consumption? Here’s an excerpt of her views as aired on Carlson’s show:
“There’s something so unique about — the LGBTQ community has become this cult and it’s so captivating and it pulls people in so strongly unlike anything we’ve ever seen and they brainwash people to join and they convince them of all these things and it’s really, really hard to get out of it. It’s really difficult.”
Carlson asked if it was a “spiritual” problem, which might seem odd coming from him but isn’t if you’ve noticed he’s leaning even harder into Christo-fascist framing lately, since it is favored by leaders he admires, such as Vladimir Putin. Here’s how Raichik responded:
“I think they’re evil. And sometimes we try to break it down a lot and we discuss why this is happening, what’s happening, whatever, and I think sometimes the simplest answer is they’re just evil. They’re bad people. They’re evil people. And they want to groom kids. They’re recruiting.”
IMO, saying evil people are coming for your kids is eliminationist rhetoric, and it’s nothing new from Raichik, who was saying the exact same shit when Ron DeSantis offered to put her up at taxpayer expense. That sort of rhetoric is grotesque under any circumstances — the equivalent of KKK and Nazi hate speech.
But whereas — for now, at least — prominent Republican politicians don’t openly embrace the ravings of the local Imperial Wizard or Joseph Goebbels, moral panic purveyors, including conservative celebrities, elected Republicans and their spokespeople, eagerly package Raichik’s content and stream it into the brains of GOP base voters — and state legislatures. From Lorenz’s piece:
By March, Libs of TikTok was directly impacting legislation. DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw credited the account with “opening her eyes” and informing her views on the state’s restrictive legislation that bans discussion of sexuality or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade [note: weasel language bans discussion in ALL grades], referred to by critics as the “don’t say gay” bill. She and Libs of TikTok have interacted with each other at least 138 times publicly, according to a report by Media Matters. When asked by The Post about her relationship with the account, Pushaw wrote, “I follow, like and retweet libsoftiktok. My interactions with that account are public,” and added that she’s a strong supporter of its mission.
To their eternal credit, American voters rejected the Trumpiest candidates in November and blunted the much-ballyhooed “red wave” in most places, Florida being an unfortunate exception. Opinion pieces in outlets like the Financial Times and The Atlantic hopefully speculate that right-wing populism / authoritarianism may be on the wane.
I hope they’re right. But moral panic purveyors like Chaya Raichik, Christopher Rufo, etc., are still out there trying to manufacture consent for atrocities against our friends, family, neighbors — ourselves. They have the ear of powerful people. We shouldn’t ever forget that nor lose an opportunity to speak out against it.