Meet Lauren Southern, The Latest “Alt-Right” Media Troll To Gain Access To The White House Press Briefing

››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

Lauren Southern, a Canadian “alt-right” media figure, is the latest troll to gain access to the White House press briefing. Southern has a record of making incendiary remarks, denying the existence of rape culture, and demonizing racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. Southern is just the latest of the fringe, sycophantic “alt-right” media personalities that the White House is letting into its press briefings.

Canadian "Alt-Right" Fringe Media Figure Is The Newest Troll To Gain Access To The White House Press Briefing

Canadian Fringe Media Figure Lauren Southern Gains Access To White House Press Briefing. On March 13, Canadian “alt-right” darling Lauren Southern tweeted from inside the White House press room, reporting that she had access to the press briefing. Her attendance was also documented in the White House’s live stream of the briefing. [WhiteHouse.gov, 3/13/17]

 [Twitter, 3/13/17]

Southern Is A Rape Culture Denier Who Made A Name For Herself By Demonizing Minorities

Southern Gained Prominence As An “Alt-Right” Media Personality. Southern was formerly “one of the most popular hosts for Canada’s alt-right media torchbearer, the Rebel.” She announced on March 9 that she was leaving Rebel Media and, in her words, “going independent” to counter “the mass amount of left wing media we have that pretends to be impartial in Canada.” [Vice News Canada, 3/10/17]

Southern Spread Unverified Reddit Rumors About The Quebec Mosque Shooting To Falsely Paint Two Innocent Syrians As Suspects. BuzzFeed reported that Southern was among several right-wing Twitter personalities who cited “police radio chatter” to claim suspects for the shooting were “Bashir al-Taweed and Hassan Matti, Syrians who entered Canada as refugees last week.” Police chatter frequently involves the rapid exchange of information which may not be accurate, and in this case it was not -- the actual shooter was Alexandre Bissonnette, a white French Canadian, “and there is no evidence that police ever investigated” anyone named Bashir al-Taweed or Hassan Matti. [BuzzFeed, 1/31/17]

Southern Gained Clout After Posting An Anti-Feminist Video In Which  She Said  Rape Is More Of A Problem For Men Than Women. In a viral video posted by Southern titled “Why I Am Not A Feminist,” Southern dismissed the notion of rape culture by noting that men are raped too. She also posited that feminism isn’t a movement for equality because it doesn’t address the problems men face, and accused feminists of “creating a world of reverse sexism.” [Rebel Media, 4/8/15]

Breitbart Championed Southern’s Image After She Trolled Protesters By Yelling “There Are Only Two Genders.” Southern mocked feminist protesters at a demonstration against libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Augustus Sol Invictus, arguing that people are too quick to believe rape victims’ charges without proof and yelling, “There are only two genders,” male and female. Breitbart boosted Southern’s celebrity by casting her as “a fearless nemesis of the regressive left.” Breitbart reported on the confrontation and linked to Southern’s Rebel Media “debut video explaining why she isn’t a feminist.” [Breitbart News, 3/5/16]

Southern Denounced Black Lives Matter For Its “Fascistic Tendencies.” Vice reported that Southern “has called Black Lives Matter a ‘divisive, violent movement that has fascistic tendencies,’ falsely claiming they’ve caused more deaths in the last 30 years than the Ku Klux Klan.” [Vice News Canada, 3/10/17]

Southern Was Suspended As A Candidate Of The Libertarian Party Of Canada After Trolling Feminist Demonstrators. Southern downplayed the prevalence of rape during a Slut Walk protest by holding a sign that read “There is no rape culture in the west.” She went on to comment, “Rapes do happen, but the ... vast minority  of men and women are rapists.” In response to her incendiary remarks and antagonistic tactics, Southern was suspended from being a candidate for the Canadian Libertarian Party. From a June 9, 2015, Rebel Media video:

LAUREN SOUTHERN: I just got in a huge confrontation with the Slut Walk, which we are following right now. Essentially I held a sign that said, “We are not living in a rape culture in the West,” which we are not. It is intellectually dishonest to think that we are living in a rape culture. Rapes do happen, but major -- the minority, the vast minority, of men and women are rapists, and when we do find out they are rapists, they go to prison. They are punished. Whereas in Third World countries and other places, men can get away with rape there. And it’s insane to focus on this one issue and say we are living in a rape culture. Rapists don’t get high fives. We don’t have the government funding rapists. Even men get fired from their jobs just for making rape jokes, not even raping. So to say we live in a rape culture is, quite frankly, ridiculous. [Rebel Media, 6/9/15; Breitbart News, 7/2/15]

The White House Press Room Has Become A Sanctuary For "Alt-Right," Pro-Trump Fringe Media Personalities

The Gateway Pundit Now Has A Spot In The White House Press Briefing Room. Jim Hoft, “the internet’s most hapless political blogger,” and his website The Gateway Pundit have been granted access to the White House press briefing and have their own correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, there to “ask fawning questions that support President Donald Trump and troll the other reporters.” [Media Matters, 2/13/17, 3/13/17]

Infowars’ Alex Jones: “We’ve Already Been Offered” White House Press Credentials. Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist who believes both the Sandy Hook massacre and the 9/11 terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the government, stated on January 25 that his fringe website Infowars had been offered White House press credentials. [Media Matters, 1/26/17]

An Author At The Federalist Papers Project Was Invited Into A Briefing Via Skype And Got To Ask A Question. Jason Stevens, who writes for the hyperpartisan right-wing Federalist Papers Project -- which traffics in clickbait headlines, racist content, and misleading reporting -- got to ask a question via Skype at a White House press briefing in February. [Media Matters, 2/14/17]

Laura Ingraham’s LifeZette Got To Ask The First Question At A Briefing. Laura Ingraham’s website LifeZette, which traffics in hyperpartisan reporting and “frequently posts articles of dubious veracity,” got to ask the first question during a White House press briefing in January. [The Intercept, 11/26/16, Vanity Fair, 1/25/17]

Breitbart.com Has  Deep Ties To The White House. Breitbart.com used to be run by chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, who called the website “the platform for the alt-right.” White House press secretary Sean Spicer granted Breitbart’s Charlie Spiering an exclusive interview, and Breitbart reporter Matthew Boyle got to ask the first question during Trump’s first presidential press conference and has been called on during other White House press briefings. [Media Matters, 2/9/17, Twitter, 1/31/17]

Bobby Lewis and Dina Radtke contributed research to this item.

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