Candace Owens, conservative activist, among witnesses slated for House hate-speech hearing: Report
Candace Owens, a conservative activist cited in the bigoted manifesto uploaded to the internet prior to last month’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, will testify at an upcoming congressional hearing about online hate speech, The Hill reported Friday.
A communications director for Turning Point USA, Ms. Owens is among the witnesses slated to testify Tuesday on Capitol Hill during a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled in response to the March 15 massacre, the report said.
“This hearing will examine hate crimes, the impact white nationalist groups have on American communities and the spread of white identity ideology. The hearing will also foster ideas about what social media companies can do to stem white nationalist propaganda and hate speech online,” the Democratic-led committee said in a statement earlier this week announcing the hearing.
Ms. Owens is expected to testify at the hearing alongside fellow witnesses including Eileen Hershenov, the senior vice president for policy at the Anti-Defamation League, Eva Paterson, the president of the Equal Justice Society, and Neil Potts, a public policy director for Facebook, among others, The Hill reported.
The hearing was announced by committee leadership on Wednesday, and The Washington Post was the first outlet to report that participants would include Mr. Potts and Alexandria Walden, a lawyer for Google.
The ADL confirmed Ms. Patterson’s participation when reached for comment over the weekend by The Washington Times. Representatives for neither the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, nor any of the other groups reportedly participating in the hearing immediately returned messages concerning their involvement.
Ms. Owens, 29, joined Turning Point in 2017, and the following year she launched “Blexit,” a political movement devoted to encouraging fellow African Americans to leave the Democratic Party and become registered Republicans.
More recently, Ms. Owens made waves last month after being referenced in the 74-page document believed to have been written by the self-described racist Australian man charged with murdering 50 people during the Christchurch attacks.
“Yes, the person that has influenced me above all was Candace Owens,” the author wrote in-between paragraphs echoing white nationalist rhetoric and attacking minorities. “Each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness. Though I will have to disavow some of her beliefs, the extreme actions she calls for me are too much, even for my tastes.”
Ms. Owens denied she inspired the massacre she responded on Twitter by tweeting “LOL” and other sections of the suspected shooter’s manifesto give credence to the claim that she was cited by the author to “troll” readers, or stir the proverbial pot.
The manifesto was uploaded to the internet prior to when themass shooting began, and roughly 17 minutes of the rampage was broadcast live on Facebook, sending Silicon Valley scrambling in the aftermath to purge platforms of copies of either.
Facebook has since announced new rules banning “praise, support and representation” of white nationalism and white separatism.