LGBTQ Agenda: Libs of TikTok creator added to Southern Poverty Law Center's 'extremist files'

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday April 9, 2024
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Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik was added to the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Extremist Files." Photo: Courtesy HRC
Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik was added to the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Extremist Files." Photo: Courtesy HRC

The Southern Poverty Law Center added the woman behind the popular Libs of TikTok social media platforms to its "Extremist Files," according to the nonprofit's website.

The Alabama-based civil rights legal advocacy group added Chaya Raichik to the list because she, in its words, "helped revive in right-wing propaganda the anti-LGBTQ+ 'groomer' slur, which implies that all LGBTQ+ people are pedophiles."

The "grooming" conspiracy theory falsely alleges that campaigns of LGBTQ-inclusive education are a means of homosexual or transgender "recruitment" or of normalizing pedophilia.

"Under the LTT [Libs of TikTok] pseudonym, Raichik originally shared content intended to humiliate and intimidate LGBTQ+ content creators," SPLC's website continues. "She has used the platform in an anti-LGBTQ+ disinformation campaign that mobilizes right-wing extremist groups in violent attacks against LGBTQ+ people, spaces and events, as well as against doctors, hospitals, librarians, libraries, teachers and schools."

The list also includes the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist militant group; and David Duke, former grand wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and Louisiana state representative.

"When extremists use online spaces that target LGBTQ+ people it is dangerous and deserves critique and pushback," R.G. Cravens, senior research analyst at the SPLC's Intelligence Project, stated in a news release from the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ rights organization. "Activities like those of Raichik can create an environment that normalizes violence against LGBTQ+ people and provides cover to politicians who are taking away LGBTQ+ rights."

SPLC's website quotes Raichik as stating "any teacher who comes out to their students should be fired on the spot" and that "activists and groomers, they're not just in schools, they're in all institutions and they want to sexualize our children, they want to confuse our children about their identity."

Raichik did not return a request for comment for this report. A 29-year-old former real estate agent who was born in Los Angeles, Raichik started the Libs of TikTok accounts in 2021, and it posts content across multiple social media platforms. The platforms repost content by or video of left-wing or LGBTQ people, sometimes with missing context or to accuse them of "grooming" without basis.

In 2022, Raichik's identity was revealed in the Washington Post.

After false claims by Libs of TikTok that gender-affirming hysterectomies were being performed on minors at the Boston Children's Hospital in August 2022, it saw bomb threats, NBC News reported. Raichik herself was not charged and Libs of TikTok was not mentioned in subsequent charging documents. In September of that year, Catherine Leavy, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false bomb threat and another count of conveying false or misleading information that a bomb was on the way to the hospital, according to a news release by federal prosecutors.

The charges carry sentences of up to 10 years and five years in prison, respectively, and both carry fines of up to $250,000.

More recently, Raichik was appointed to the Oklahoma Library Media Advisory Committee by state Superintendent Ryan Walters despite not being a resident of the Sooner State.

Libs of TikTok targeted an Owasso, Oklahoma teacher two years ago, KOKI-TV reported at the time. Tyler Wrynn, a language arts teacher, had said, "If your parents don't accept you for who you are, fuck them. I'm your parents now" in a video that went viral. He subsequently resigned.

Owasso, Oklahoma was also the place where nonbinary teen Nex Benedict killed himself after a fight in early February, as the Washington Blade previously reported. Raichik was blamed by HRC in a statement shortly after Benedict's death.

HRC President Kelley Robinson, a queer woman, blasted Walters in a statement in its news release on Raichik's appointment to the library panel.

"Ryan Walters has appointed someone to a statewide committee that one of the nation's leading civil rights organizations considers so dangerous, they have added her to the same list as David Duke and the Proud Boys," Robinson stated. "Yet instead of hiding his head in shame, Walters continues to align himself with Chaya Raichik's brand of bigotry and disinformation. This is beyond disqualifying.

"Ryan Walters is nothing more than a corrupt and unhinged political opportunist who is more concerned with making headlines than doing the hard work to build safe and inclusive schools for the students who depend on him and his department," Robinson continued. "We won't tolerate his reckless actions that not only bring disgrace on Oklahoma schools, but also jeopardize the well being of Oklahoma students."

Walters did not return a request for comment.

LGBTQ Agenda is an online column that appears weekly. Got a tip on queer news? Contact John Ferrannini at [email protected]

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