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Lauren Southern

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Lauren Southern
Lauren Southern.jpg
Southern in 2016
Born
Lauren Cherie Southern

(1995-06-16) 16 June 1995 (age 25)[1]
NationalityCanadian
Alma materUniversity of the Fraser Valley
(withdrew)
OccupationPolitical activist[2]
Political partyLibertarian
Children1[3]
YouTube information
NationalityCanadian
Channel
Years active2015–present
Subscribers680,000
Total views50 million
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2016

Updated: June 2020
Websitelaurensouthern.net

Lauren Cherie Southern (born 16 June[4] 1995) is a Canadian political activist[a] and YouTuber. She has been described as alt-right and a white nationalist.[5][6] In 2015, Southern ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in the Canadian federal election. She worked for The Rebel Media until March 2017, doing independent work before subsequently announcing her retirement from political activism on 2 June 2019.[7] Southern announced her return to YouTube on 19 June 2020.

Southern is known for her promotion of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory. A YouTube video of the same name she released in July 2017[8] has more than 680,000 views[9] and is credited with helping to popularize the white supremacist conspiracy theory.[10]

In 2017, Southern supported the white Identitarian group Defend Europe opposing the action of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea.[11] She was detained by the Italian Coast Guard for blocking a ship embarking on a search-and-rescue mission.[11] In March 2018, she was questioned under the UK Terrorism Act[12] and barred from entering Britain because of her intentions during her March visit.[13][14]

In July 2018, she went on a speaking tour of Australia with Stefan Molyneux. In August 2018, her attempted speaking tour of New Zealand was unsuccessful. The Auckland Council cancelled Southern's booking of a council venue and blocked her from using its venues, saying she wished to "stir up ethnic or religious tensions".[15]

Education and personal life

Southern was born in Surrey, British Columbia.[16] She studied political science at the University of the Fraser Valley and completed two years without graduating.[6][17][18] Southern said she dropped out because "it was a waste of money to pay for knowledge she could obtain on her own."[6]

In a documentary about the alt-right produced by The Atlantic, "Southern admits late in the film that her [then] boyfriend, with whom she's having a baby, is not white."[19] On 29 January 2020, Southern posted on Instagram announcing that, since her leaving public life, she had married and given birth to a son, while also announcing a desire to keep her family life private.[3] As of 2020, she lives in Sydney, Australia with her Australian husband.[20]

Political career

In 2015, Southern was a candidate in the 2015 Canadian federal election representing the Libertarian Party in the district of Langley—Aldergrove.[17] She was briefly removed by the party as a candidate, but was eventually reinstated with support from Breitbart News and The Rebel Media.[11] The election was won by Conservative candidate Mark Warawa. Southern finished last, having received 535 votes, or 0.9% of the total.[21]

Activism

In June 2015, while reporting on the Vancouver SlutWalk for The Rebel Media, Southern's cameraman was shoved and Southern's protest sign stating "There Is No Rape Culture in the West" was torn up.[22][23]

In March 2016, a protester in Vancouver poured an unknown liquid over Southern's head while she was engaging with LGBTQ protesters at a rally in Vancouver, arguing for two human genders.[24][25][26]

Southern was mistakenly suspended from Facebook, having criticized the site for banning several conservative commentators. She later received an email apology from Facebook saying the suspension was an "error".[27]

In October 2016, Southern had her gender legally changed to male as part of a video produced for The Rebel Media to show the ease of Ontario's new gender ID laws.[28][29]

In 2016, Southern authored and self-published Barbarians: How Baby Boomers, Immigrants, and Islam Screwed My Generation.[30][31]

In January 2017, Southern posted to Twitter incorrect rumours from the website 4chan that the Quebec City mosque shooting had been carried out by Syrian refugees; she later deleted those tweets.[32] In March 2017, Southern announced she would be leaving The Rebel Media to become an independent journalist.[33] In the same month, she gained access to White House press briefings.[34][35]

In April 2017, Southern was one of several scheduled speakers at a Patriots' Day rally in Berkeley, California.[36] The rally led to a riot between pro-Trump demonstrators and anti-Trump counter-protesters.[37]

Opposition to NGOs, refugees, and migration

In May 2017, Southern, along with Martin Sellner and Brittany Sellner (nee Pettibone),[38] took part in an attempt organized by the Identitarian group Génération identitare to block the passage of an NGO ship, the Aquarius (co-owned by SOS Mediterranée and by Doctors without Borders), which was leaving Sicily to start a search-and-rescue mission for ship-wrecked refugees and migrants off the shores of Northern Africa.[11] Claiming that the goal of the activists "was to stop an empty boat from going down to Libya and filling up with illegal migrants", Southern was briefly detained by the Italian Coast Guard. NGO ships often rescue migrants and refugees, who disembark from Libyan shores on unsafe makeshift rafts, and bring them to Sicily.[11][39] Regarding her actions, Southern stated: "if the politicians won't stop the boats, we'll stop the boats."[11]

Southern supported similar actions by Defend Europe, which chartered a vessel to track and stop what it called collusion between NGOs and human traffickers. In July 2017, Southern revealed that Patreon had deleted her account citing concerns about her "raising funds in order to take part in activities that are likely to cause loss of life".[40][41] Southern denied these allegations, stating that Defend Europe's actions were likely to save lives and that none of her funding went towards the group.[42]

In November 2018, Southern released a video that appeared to show an NGO worker admitting that she had coached asylum seekers on how to speak to immigration officials in order to gain refugee status. BuzzFeed News reported that a UNHCR spokesperson said: "Greece has rigorous asylum procedures in place, within a robust legal framework."[43] In May 2019, Southern released a YouTube documentary, Borderless, about the refugee and migrant crisis. The film was temporarily taken down by YouTube.[44][45][better source needed]

Ban on entering the United Kingdom

In February 2018, Southern, along with Brittany Pettibone and Caolan Robertson, distributed flyers in the English town of Luton describing Allah as "gay", as part of a "social experiment" video.[12]

In March 2018, Southern, Pettibone, and Identitarian activist Martin Sellner were all denied entry to the United Kingdom.[46] Southern was also questioned under the Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.[12] Her denial of entry was due to her intentions during her March visit[13] and on the same grounds as Pettibone and Sellner.[12][14][47][48]

2018 Australian tour

Shortly before a planned speaking tour of Australia in July 2018, Australia's Department of Home Affairs denied Lauren Southern an Electronic Travel Authority visa, saying it was "not a working visa".[49] She intended to charge $79 for a basic ticket and up to $749 for an "intimate dinner".[50] The Australian government allowed her to enter the country once she had the correct visa.[51] Arriving at Brisbane airport, she was wearing an "It's OK to be white" shirt.[52][53]

When she asked people on the street in Melbourne "Should we kill Lauren Southern?", many had never heard of her.[54] A speaking event in Melbourne was opposed by more than 100 protestors.[55]

There were no protestors at her event in Sydney, where ticket holders were notified of the venue by receiving a text on the day.[56] The Sydney event included a $200 meet-and-greet, a $500 VIP meet-and-greet and a $750 dinner.[57]

In Brisbane, Southern mentioned bombing the Australian city of Melbourne, quoting the Bible, as a joke.[58] She was opposed by around 60 protesters.[59]

2018 New Zealand tour

In July 2018, Southern applied for a travel visa to visit New Zealand for a speaking tour with Canadian podcaster and YouTuber Stefan Molyneux. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway described their views as "repugnant", but said they met immigration character requirements and cleared their entry.[60] The pair had not secured a venue, as Auckland Council had cancelled their initial booking, citing health and safety concerns.[61] The pair briefly cancelled and then resumed the tour over difficulties with the venue.[62][63][64] The subsequent booking of a private venue was revoked by its owners.[65] In retaliation, their venue was vandalised.[66] The failure to find a venue was celebrated by around 1,000 protestors, who said the planned event had nothing to do with freedom of speech. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Southern's views "are not those that are shared by this country".[67]

In August 2018, the Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff tweeted that Council venues should not be used to "stir up ethnic or religious tensions", and that "we've got no obligation at all" to provide a venue for hate speech.[15][68] For agreeing with the cancellation, an MP received threats of violence.[69]

Tāmaki Anti Fascist Action spokesperson Sina Brown-Davis said her group feared "dehumanising depictions of indigenous people" in New Zealand.[70] Molyneux had called Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people "the lowest rung of civilisation".[71]

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand is "hostile" to the views of the speakers and "I think you'll see from the reaction they've had from New Zealanders that their views are not those that are shared by this country, and I'm quite proud of that".[67] Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson added "Aotearoa does not stand for your messages of racism, hatred and especially white supremacy".[72] Justice Minister Andrew Little said the speakers "clearly have misled people" in trying to secure the venue.[73] TV personality Te Hamua Nikora said the pair were against multiculturalism, unlike New Zealand.[74] The minimum ticket price for the cancelled Auckland event was $99.[75]

Brief retirement

On 2 June 2019, Southern announced her retirement from political activism in her website. She stated that her reasons for leaving were that she needed to move on and find fulfillment in a more private capacity.[76] On 19 June 2020, Southern announced in a YouTube video her return and new plans, expressing some remorse for her previous hardline stances.[77] She was invited to speak at the Australian Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2020, to be held on 4 November 2020, but in October 2020 it was announced that her invitation had been rescinded by the organisers.[20]

Views

Southern has been widely described as alt-right,[b] far-right[a][78] and right-wing.[c] She rejects the label "alt-right". The Southern Poverty Law Center has described Southern's videos as antifeminist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and borderline white nationalist.[79] She is anti-multicultural and has called the Black Lives Matter movement a "terrorist organisation".[80]

Gender

Southern said transgender people have a "genuine delusion" adding "It’s body dysmorphia and that is a mental illness".[81] She criticised legal recognition for changing one's gender, because people doing so might be "dishonest".[80]

Southern has spoken in opposition to feminism[82] and has said that women are "not psychologically developed to hold leadership positions",[83] and "not going to be as great being CEOs".[81] In 2015 she attended SlutWalk and held a sign that read, "There is no rape culture in the West."[6] She also said that it was "insane" to focus on the issue.[84]

Multiculturalism

Southern is against multiculturalism.[85] She has asked whether a multicultural society would require "witch doctors" at medical conferences,[73] and has claimed that "multiculturalism will inevitably fail unless 50 per cent of the population believes in Western culture".[86] New Matilda reported that the core message of her 2018 speaking tour of Australia was that "multiculturalism doesn't work".[87] On the tour, she caused controversy for publicly criticizing an "Asian only" room-share advert that she had photographed and called it "extremely tribalistic".[88] This was an attempt to highlight the supposed failure of multiculturalism, by suggesting that it produced a form of "segregation".[88]

Race

Southern has defended the American neo-Nazi Richard B. Spencer, who had said "Hail Trump" in a speech at a white nationalist gathering, and had called for a "peaceful" ethnic cleansing of America. Southern has said "Richard Spencer is not a white supremacist, he is a white nationalist. He believes in a white ethnostate, he doesn’t believe in whites being superior."[11][89][90]

Southern has been cited as a proponent of white genocide conspiracy theory.[91][92] In 2018, Southern produced a documentary called Farmlands which claimed that racially motivated farm attacks in South Africa may represent an impending genocide, a common talking point for white nationalists.[83][93][94] While producing the documentary, Southern worked with Charlottesville Unite the Right rally attendee Simon Roche,[95] a spokesperson for the racist, ethnonationalist (völkisch) Afrikaner organization Suidlanders.[96][97] In 2017, Southern produced a video on the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which posits that non-white immigration will lead to a "genocide" of white Europeans.[98][99] Southern's video is credited with helping to popularize the conspiracy theory.[100]

Religion

When she was asked about her religion, specifically to the question whether she is Christian, she stated she is not, but that she is "searching".[101]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Sources describing her as "far-right" include:
    • Gordon, Graeme (27 July 2017). "Why Lauren Southern Got Banned From Patreon". Canadaland. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
    • Wilson, Jason (24 August 2018). "White farmers: how a far-right idea was planted in Donald Trump's mind". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
    • Baidawi, Adam (3 April 2018). "South Africa Says Australia Retracted Claim of 'Persecuted' White Farmers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
    • "Canadian far-right activist Lauren Southern barred from Britain for anti-Muslim views". National Post. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
    • Oppenheim, Maya (13 March 2018). "Far-right Canadian activist detained in Calais and banned from entering UK". The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
    • Maxwell, Tani. "'There's no one for right-wingers to pick a fight with': The far right is struggling to sustain interest in its social media platforms". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 31 January 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. ^ Sources describing her as "alt-right" include:
  3. ^ Sources describing her as "right-wing" include:

References

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  2. ^ Warren, Rossalyn (28 July 2017). "Europe's far-right pirates of the Mediterranean are targeting refugee rescue missions". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b 🖉"Lauren Southern on Instagram: "God is good. In the midst of a chaotic life, I rediscovered my faith in the most amazing way. I found love with the best man I've ever…"". Instagram.
  4. ^ Southern, Lauren [@Lauren_Southern] (16 June 2017). "It's my birthday so the only thing I want to see in my notifications today are pictures of your pets or anime versions of politicians. TY" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 27 July 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2017 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ O'Brien, Luke (30 May 2019). "Twitter Still Has A White Nationalist Problem". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019. President Trump routinely violates Twitter policies against abuse and harassment, uses the service to whip up his racist followers and retweets white nationalists like Lauren Southern.
  6. ^ a b c d Khandaker, Tamara (10 March 2017). "Lauren Southern is the alt-right's not-so-secret weapon". Vice News. Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
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  29. ^ Tamara Wernli: Total durchgeknallt Archived 25 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Basler Zeitung (in German). 1 December 2016.
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  32. ^ Hutchins, Aaron (30 January 2017). "Twitter, the mosque shooting, fake news and bias". Maclean's. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
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  39. ^ Claudio Cartaldo: Migranti, blitz contro l'Ong Archived 7 June 2017 at the Wayback Machine (in Italian). In: il Giornale, 13 May 2017.
  40. ^ Southern, Lauren (21 July 2017). PATREON BANNED MY ACCOUNT??. Archived from the original on 23 July 2017 – via YouTube.
  41. ^ Gilmour, David (8 August 2017). "How Patreon stepped into a war between Antifa and the alt-right". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  42. ^ Gordon, Graeme (27 July 2017). "Why Lauren Southern Got Banned From Patreon". Canadaland. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  43. ^ Buchanan, Rose Troup; Broderick, Ryan (13 November 2018). "A Far-Right YouTuber Has Been Secretly Recording NGO Workers Inside One Of Europe's Worst Refugee Camps". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
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