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Laura Loomer

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Laura Loomer
Laura Loomer on InfoWars.jpg
Loomer on InfoWars (2018)
Born
Laura Elizabeth Loomer

(1993-05-21) May 21, 1993 (age 26)
ResidenceNew York City, New York, United States
NationalityAmerican
Alma materBarry University (BS)
OccupationJournalist, activist
Political partyRepublican

Laura Elizabeth Loomer (born May 21, 1993) is an American political activist, conspiracy theorist, and internet personality noted for her far-right politics[a] and commentary. She was a reporter for Canadian far-right website The Rebel Media during the summer of 2017, resigning that September.[1][2][3][4][5] Prior to June 2017, she worked for Project Veritas with James O'Keefe.[2]

Early life

Loomer was raised in Arizona. She attended Mount Holyoke College and, after transferring schools, graduated from Barry University[6] with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism.[7] She is Jewish.[8]

Views

Loomer has described herself as a nationalist, and has described immigration as a threat to American heritage.[9] Fortune has described Loomer as a "far-right provocateur".[10]

Loomer has denounced the alt-right, and has publicly repudiated white supremacist Richard B. Spencer, who coined the term, and has refused to share a stage with him. Loomer has received anti-semitic threats and harassment from the alt-right following this dispute.[8] Despite this, Loomer has been described as being part of the alt-right movement,[b] as well as alt-lite.[6][9][11]

Cultural critic James Wolcott has described Loomer as "A raging zealot ... intent on becoming the agent provocateur."[12]

Anti-Muslim

On November 1, 2017, following a terrorist attack in New York City, Loomer tweeted that she was late to a conference because she could not find a "non Muslim cab or @Uber @lyft driver". She called for the creation of a new ride-sharing company which did not employ Muslims after it became known that the suspect in the attack was a former driver for Uber. The day-long "tweetstorm" blamed all Muslims for the activities of radical Islamists such as ISIS. Following this, both Uber and Lyft announced that she had violated their guidelines and was banned from using their services.[13][14]

In August 2018, Loomer disrupted a campaign event for Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar attended by Michigan House candidate Rashida Tlaib. Loomer shouted questions which implied that Tlaib was anti-Semitic.[15][16] Later that year, Loomer was banned from Twitter for a tweet about the newly elected Congresswoman in which Loomer called Omar "anti-Jewish", and described her as a member of a religion in which "homosexuals are oppressed" and women are "abused" and "forced to wear the hijab."[17] A week following the ban, she handcuffed herself to the front door of the Twitter headquarters in New York City in protest while wearing a yellow "Jude" patch.[18] After approximately two hours, police removed the handcuffs with a bolt cutter. Loomer was not arrested.[19][20]

In February 2019, Loomer traveled to Minnesota with Jacob Wohl, a far right conspiracy theorist who has previously made high-profile false claims about public figures.[21] Loomer and Wohl stated they were investigating a false and debunked conspiracy theory which held that Ilhan Omar, U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district and a Somali-American, had married her brother so that he could obtain US citizenship. [22][23] Vox debunked Loomer and Wohl's conspiracy theory as "largely nonsensical", citing that there is no evidence that Ahmed Elmi, Omar's ex-husband whom Loomer and Wohl claimed to be her brother, was related to Omar in any way; that U.S. law permits a citizen to petition citizenship for their siblings, voiding the need for a marriage; and that Elmi, a British citizen, has never received US citizenship.[23] Loomer had previously accosted Omar with the false rumor at a 2018 campaign event.[15]

Right Wing Watch reported that donations solicited by Loomer were going to the address of The United West, an organization which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as an anti-Muslim hate group. The Council on American-Islamic Relations , a Muslim civil rights organization, also refers to it as "Islamophobic".[24]

Spreading conspiracy theories

Loomer has promoted a number of conspiracy theories, mostly related to mass shootings; falsely insinuating that school shootings in Santa Fe; Texas; and Parkland, Florida; were staged, and that the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooter was affiliated with ISIS.[25][26][27]

In January 2018, an associate recorded Loomer riding the service elevator that Stephen Paddock had used to transport numerous firearms used in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. Loomer rode the elevator from the ground floor to the 32nd floor four times without permission of the hotel and was not engaged by Mandalay Bay hotel security. Wynn had previously said, "No public person has ever ridden a service elevator (at a Wynn property) unless they were accompanied by security."[28]

After the May 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting, Loomer implied on Twitter that the tragedy was actually staged, prompting concerns about the spread of misleading information and conspiracy theories by troll farms and social bots.[10]

In July 2018, Loomer promoted the false narrative that a man arrested with bomb-making equipment and illegal weapons had been a "leftist antifa terrorist".[29] The individual in question was instead a conservative whose Facebook profile was filled with pro-Second Amendment memes.[29]

In October, during the October 2018 United States mail bombing attempts, targeted at prominent Democratic politicians, Loomer tried to spread the false conspiracy theory that the bombing attacks were a "false flag" operation by the Democrats.[30][31][32]

Career

Loomer is a former employee of James O'Keefe, a conservative activist known for producing selectively edited undercover video investigations.[33] Until her resignation in September 2017, Loomer was the New York correspondent for the Canadian far-right news site The Rebel Media, which has been referred to as the "Canadian Breitbart."[6][34]

On March 1, 2019, Loomer had her press credentials revoked by the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference after Loomer heckled CNN reporter Oliver Darcy with questions about internet censorship and social media bans.[35] In response to being removed from the event, Loomer stated, "The reason why I confronted Oliver Darcy is because Oliver Darcy led a lobbying initiative as an employee of CNN to have Alex Jones de-platformed from Twitter. Oliver Darcy is a perpetual victim. He is constantly advocating for people to be banned and silenced. As a member of the media, Oliver Darcy should respect our First Amendment right."[36]

Activism

2015–2017

In March 2015, Loomer used a concealed video camera to record her conversations with Barry University officials, discussing the idea of starting a club called "Sympathetic Students in Support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria." The official responded by asking her to change the name to "Students in Support of the Middle East." The video of her encounter was released by James O'Keefe with Project Veritas.[6] O'Keefe alleged that Loomer's video captured a university official unfazed at the notion of starting an on-campus organization that would support ISIS.[37] Shortly after the edited video was released by O'Keefe, Loomer was suspended by Barry University for violating the student code of conduct rules; criminal charges were also filed against her for taping university officials without their knowledge or consent.[38] At the time, Loomer was an honors student in her senior year, the president of Barry University's Young Republicans Club, and majoring in communications.[39]

According to a Clinton campaign official, in July 2015 Loomer and two other women posing as supporters of Hillary Clinton attempted to "entrap" campaign workers into accepting illegal cash donations. The official said that the campaign had complied with the law.[40]

On November 8, 2016, the day of the presidential election, Loomer went to a polling station dressed in a burqa and asked for a ballot under the name of Huma Abedin.[2]

In June 2017, Loomer gave a speech to a crowd of anti-sharia marchers in New York City and condemned "liberals who aligned themselves with sharia law."[41] Loomer put a burqa on the Fearless Girl statue adjacent to the Merrill Lynch building.[42]

On June 7, 2017, at a Chelsea Clinton book signing event in New York City, Loomer asked Chelsea to sign a copy of her new children's book She Persisted to Juanita Broaddrick, one of former President Bill Clinton's most persistent accusers. The former first daughter refused to sign it.[43]

Julius Caesar play disruption

On June 16, 2017, Loomer disrupted the Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar in New York City, by walking on stage during the live performance shortly after Caesar was assassinated.[44] Before being escorted off the stage by security, Loomer shouted "Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!"[45] The play portrayed a "Trump-like" Caesar with a Slovenian-accented wife.[46] Loomer, who is pro-Trump, was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing.[47][48] The Public Theater responded by saying although they're "champions" of the First Amendment, the disruption was caused by "social media".[49] On June 19, 2017, Alyssa Rosenberg of The Washington Post wrote that she didn't believe Loomer was genuinely offended by the play, and that she disrupted it for attention and to collect a $1,000 bounty that was offered to anyone who would disrupt the production.[50]

On June 19, 2017, as a guest on the Fox News program Hannity, Loomer admitted she knew that disrupting the Shakespeare in the Park play would result in criminal charges against her. During the interview, Loomer compared the "Trump-like" Caesar assassination to a May 2017 video of former CNN host Kathy Griffin holding a mask of a bloody severed head of President Donald Trump, Loomer called the Caesar play and the Griffin video "assassination porn" and accused the "left" of a systematic pattern of using free speech and art as a pretext to promote violence against Donald Trump and the "right".[51]

On June 20, 2017, The Daily Beast reported that 'Free Laura', a website for soliciting donations for her arrest, was purchased by Loomer's employer Ezra Levant, the owner of The Rebel Media, six hours before the play started, according to domain records.[52] Loomer was also promoting separately a WeSearchr page for donations, that had received $12,385 from 241 contributors, receiving more money in donations than the normal penalties for the charges she was facing.[53]

2018

Loomer attended the March 2018 trial of Noor Salman under press credentials, which were revoked after Loomer harassed Salman's family. Loomer returned to the trial the next day and was removed by a U.S. marshal.[54]

Loomer disrupted an event promoting James Comey's book A Higher Loyalty. She was taken out of the building by security.[55]

In September 2018, Loomer briefly disrupted a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. Loomer accused Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who was giving testimony before the committee, of censoring conservatives on the platform and of attempting to influence the election in favor of Democrats. Republican Representative Billy Long, who was an auctioneer before joining Congress, drowned her shouting out with an auction chant until she was escorted from the building.[56]

2019

On January 14, 2019, Loomer and several men she met in a Home Depot parking lot and tricked into following her jumped the fence at Nancy Pelosi's Napa, California, home and set up a tent on her lawn to protest immigration. A Loomer crew member told a reporter it was legal to jump the fence since there were not any "No Trespassing" signs posted.[57][58]

Several days later, on January 19, Loomer attempted to interrupt a speaker at the Women's March in Washington, D.C. Loomer went onstage and shouted "The Women’s March does not represent Jewish people," calling it a Nazi organization. As she was escorted off by security, she continued, shouting "What about the Jews?". A video of the event was posted on Twitter.[58]

On January 30, Loomer and others jumped the wall surrounding the California Governor's Mansion in Sacramento, California, they said to protest Governor Gavin Newsom's stance on immigration. They wore Mexican serapes and sombreros, with one wearing a "large fake mustache". They were arrested, given citations, and released within a few hours. The group then provoked a confrontation outside a Mexican restaurant in downtown Sacramento. They live-streamed their activities.[59][60]

Loomer was banned from PayPal on February 5, 2019. In response, Loomer wrote that she would take action against "the Left wing terrorists and tech tyrants who are trying to shut me down." "I have nothing to lose anymore," she wrote, "so trust me when I say I will stop at nothing to make sure justice is served for the way Silicon Valley has disenfranchised me, falsely accusing me of being a white supremacist, a Nazi, anti-Muslim, a racist, a bigot, and every other smear in the book." Loomer had been banned from Twitter in November 2018 for hate speech against Representative Ilhan Omar, and is also banned from GoFundMe and Venmo.[61]

In May 2019, Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary banned Loomer and several other high-profile far-right extremists from using the company's services for spreading misinformation and extremism.[62][63]

References

Informational notes

  1. ^ Sources describing Loomer as "far-right" include:
  2. ^ Sources describing Loomer as "alt-right" include:

Citations

  1. ^ "Rebel Media Loses Another High-Profile Contributor". Canadalandshow.com. 26 September 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Behind the Scenes with the Right-Wing Activist Who Crashed "Julius Caesar"". The New Yorker. June 19, 2017. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "Woman who stormed stage during controversial Julius Caesar is arrested". Belfast Telegraph. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  4. ^ "This is violence against Donald Trump': rightwingers interrupt Julius Caesar play". The Guardian. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "'Do you want Trump to be assassinated?'; Rebel Media reporter arrested after storming stage of Shakespeare play with Trump-like Caesar". The Toronto Sun. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Feldman, Ari (July 14, 2017). "Laura Loomer Is The Jewish Voice Of The Far Right. Can She Tame Jew Haters?". The Forward. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Foreman, Sean D.; Dewhirst, Robert, eds. (2015). The Roads to Congress 2014. Lexington Books. p. 409. ISBN 978-1-4985-1719-5.
  8. ^ a b Feldman, Ari (September 5, 2018). "Jewish 'Alt-Right' Woman Takes On Richard Spencer Amid Infighting". The Forward. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Krupkin, Taly (June 22, 2017). "The Jewish Provocateur Caught in the Turf War as the 'Alt-right' Battles the 'Alt-light'". Haaretz. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Morris, David Z. (May 19, 2018). "Trolls and Bots Moved Fast to Politicize Texas School Shooting on Social Media". Fortune. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  11. ^ Marantz, Andrew (July 6, 2017). "The Alt-Right Branding War Has Torn the Movement in Two". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  12. ^ Wolcott, James (February 6, 2019) "James Wolcott on the Shelf Life of a Deplorable" Vanity Fair
  13. ^ Tani, Maxwell. "Uber and Lyft ban far-right activist who complained about Muslim Uber drivers". Business Insider. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  14. ^ Bailey, Chelsea (November 2, 2017) "Laura Loomer Banned from Uber & Lyft After Anti-Muslim Tweetstorm", NBC News.
  15. ^ a b Mansell, William (August 12, 2018). "Who Is Laura Loomer? Activist Accosts 'Jihadi' Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib at Campaign Event". Newsweek. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  16. ^ Nelson, Emma (August 12, 2018). "Former Project Veritas staffer crashes Ilhan Omar campaign event in Minneapolis". Star Tribune. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  17. ^ "Twitter bans far-right activist Laura Loomer". NBC News. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Wong, Queenie (November 29, 2018). "Right-wing activist Laura Loomer handcuffs herself to Twitter's NYC office". CNET. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "Far-right activist Laura Loomer cuffed herself to Twitter's NYC headquarters; police removed her". NBC News. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  20. ^ Fisher, Alyssa (November 29, 2018). "Loomer Joins Suit Against Twitter For 'Discrimination' Against Conservatives". The Forward.
  21. ^ Foley, Ryan J (April 30, 2019). "Student says Trump backers recruited him for Buttigieg smear". Associated Press. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  22. ^ Garcia-Roberts, Gus (February 26, 2019). "This 21-year-old tweeted lies about Robert Mueller and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Now, he's eyeing the 2020 election". USA Today. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Coaston, Jane (March 2, 2019). "Jacob Wohl, the Trump internet activist cashing in on conspiracy theories, explained". Vox. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  24. ^ Holt, Jared (February 4, 2019) "The Anti-Muslim Hate Group Backing Laura Loomer's 'Independent Journalism'", Right Wing Watch.
  25. ^ Palma, Bethania. "Conspiracy Theories Immediately Appear After Santa Fe School Shooting". Snopes. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  26. ^ Weill, Kelly; LaPorta, James (February 21, 2018). "InfoWars Sends Professional Troll Laura Loomer to Parkland". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  27. ^ Sommer, Will (June 27, 2018). "Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer Fight for Credit Over Vegas Shooting Conspiracy Theory". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  28. ^ "Mandalay Bay security tested as two reach 32nd floor without permission". fox5vegas. January 30, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  29. ^ a b Kludt, Tom. "Right-wing media called him a leftist terrorist. He appears to be a pro-gun conservative". CNNMoney. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  30. ^ Collins, Ben and Abbruzzese, Jason (October 26, 2018) "After 'false flag' narrative takes hold, some conservatives scramble to drown out far right" NBC News
  31. ^ Swift, Jim (October 25, 2018) "The Children of Alex Jones" The Weekly Standard
  32. ^ Sommer, Will and Weill, Kelly (October 24, 2018) "Trump Allies Insist Bomb Threats Against Clinton, Obama, CNN Are 'Pure BS,' a 'False Flag'" The Daily Beast
  33. ^ "Two Protesters Disrupt 'Julius Caesar' in Central Park". New York Times. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017. the conservative activist known for selectively edited undercover video investigations.
  34. ^ "Blogger booed off stage after rushing 'Julius Caesar'". New York Post. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  35. ^ Sommer, Will (March 2, 2019). "Anti-Muslim Activist Laura Loomer Banned From CPAC After Harassing Reporters". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  36. ^ Levine, Jon (March 2, 2019). "Right-Wing Activist Laura Loomer Loses CPAC Press Credential After Heckling CNN Reporter (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  37. ^ "Group Claims Barry University Approved Pro-ISIS Club". NBCMiami.com. March 30, 2015. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  38. ^ "Barry University professor files criminal complaint against student". www.local10.com. April 9, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  39. ^ "Barry University faculty accused of supporting Islamic State terrorists". www.local10.com. March 30, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  40. ^ "Clinton Campaign On Alert For Undercover Conservative Sting". Time.com. August 21, 2015. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  41. ^ "At NYC 'Anti-sharia' Rally, White Nationalists and Conservative Jews Find Common Ground". Haaretz. June 10, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  42. ^ "Two Trump/Pizzagate Supporters Tried To 'Shutdown' A Shakespeare Play And Got Arrested For Their Efforts". Uproxx. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  43. ^ "Cringe Video: Chelsea Asked to Sign Book for Bill Clinton-Accuser Juanita Broaddrick". Fox News. June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  44. ^ "Two Protesters Disrupt 'Julius Caesar' in Central Park". The New York Times. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  45. ^ "Pro-Trump protester arrested after rushing stage at controversial 'Julius Caesar' production in New York". The Washington Post. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  46. ^ "Pro-Trump protester storms stage at 'Julius Caesar' performance". New York Daily News. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  47. ^ "Pro-Trump Protester Arrested After Rushing Stage at 'Caesar' Play in Central Park". NBC News. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  48. ^ "Pro-Trump Protesters Interrupt 'Shakespeare in the Park' Performance of 'Julius Caesar". Time. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  49. ^ "Laura Loomer, woman who stormed stage during 'Julius Caesar,' is arrested". The Washington Times. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  50. ^ "Trolls, hypocrites and performance artists are trying to hack our lives. Don't let them". The Washington Post. June 19, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  51. ^ "'Assassination Porn': Activist Defends Disrupting NYC Trump Stabbing Play". Fox News. June 19, 2017. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  52. ^ "The Domain Troll Behind Pro-Trump Stunts". The Daily Beast. June 20, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  53. ^ ""Julius Caesar" stage crasher nets financial windfall". Salon. June 21, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  54. ^ Jeltsen, Melissa (March 29, 2018). "Far-Right Activist Thrown Out Of Courthouse At Pulse Nightclub Trial". HuffPost.
  55. ^ Delk, Josh (April 19, 2018). "Far-right activist interrupts Comey book event". The Hill.
  56. ^ Watson, Kathryn (September 5, 2018). "Congressman drowns out protester with auction call in Twitter hearing". CBS News. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  57. ^ Mortiz-Rabson, Daniel (January 14, 2019). "Right-Wing Activist Laura Loomer Allegedly Trespasses at Nancy Pelosi's California House to Stage Protest". Newsweek. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  58. ^ a b Williams, Janice (January 19, 2019) "Laura Loomer Showed up at the Women's March, Screaming 'What About the Jews'" Newsweek
  59. ^ "Laura Loomer Arrested at California Governor's Mansion for Jumping Wall – Dons Poncho & Sombrero". Jewish Voice. January 31, 2019.
  60. ^ McGough, Michael (January 30, 2019) "Group in ‘Build the Wall’ gear argues with La Cosecha management, calls restaurant 'anti-American'" Sacramento Bee
  61. ^ Anapol, Avery (February 5, 2019). "Far-right activist Laura Loomer banned from PayPal". The Hill. Retrieved May 2, 2019.)
  62. ^ Lorenz, Taylor (May 2, 2019). "Instagram and Facebook Ban Far-Right Extremists". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  63. ^ "Trump attacks social media companies after Facebook bans". APNews.com. May 5, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2019. The company also removed right-wing personalities Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, along with Jones’ site, Infowars, which often posts conspiracy theories. The latest bans apply both to Facebook’s main service and to Instagram and extend to fan pages and other related accounts.