Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Did Libs of TikTok help set stage for white supremacist attempt to disrupt Pride event?

Libs of TikTok (top picture), white supremacists who were arrested for trying to disrupt an Idaho pride event last weekend (second picture)

Right-wing influencers, including the pseudonymous, viral Twitter account “Libs of TikTok,” repeatedly drew negative attention to the Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in its runup, setting the stage for white supremacists to target it. 

 Police arrested 31 members of the white nationalist hate group Patriot Front before they had a chance to descend on the crowd on Saturday, June 11, and charged them with conspiracy to riot, which is a misdemeanor. Had police not apprehended the Patriot Front members, the situation could have proven volatile. Before their arrival, people photographed other likely extremists who appeared to walk among the otherwise pro-LGBTQ crowd. 

 The conflict created by Patriot Front and other anti-LGBTQ agitators highlights the correlation between social media performers flagging targets to their right-wing audiences and the subsequent mobilization of extremists to act in response. An example of this trend is when Twitter influencers, including some high-profile hate figures, hyped election-related disinformation in the runup to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, setting the stage for what became an insurrection attempt. What happened in Coeur d’Alene, a city in northwest Idaho of roughly 50,000 people, functioned in a similar way, even if the players and setting are different. 

Out-of-state members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front and other extreme far-right figures could have chosen many different targets during Pride month. They homed in on an obscure event highlighted by Libs of TikTok.

The rest of this article should send alarms to us all as we celebrate Pride Month 2022. Libs of TikTok is a viciously homophobic site which encourages acts of prejudice under the lie that its protecting children from pedophiles.  What happened last week may just be a prelude. Libs of TikTok has gotten folks harassed and fired because of its lies  (such as the one about 'furries.') but  the white nationalist attack on a Pride event takes things to a new level.

Someone may get hurt.

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