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Andrea Austria / Media Matters

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Right-wing media spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day launching attacks on the civil rights icon

TPUSA’s Charlie Kirk: “This guy is not worthy of a national holiday. He is not worthy of godlike status. In fact, I think it's really harmful.”

Several right-wing media figures spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day smearing the civil rights leader as a “bad guy” who “stands for America’s anti-white mania,” and trying to discredit the civil rights movement.

  • TPUSA’s Charlie Kirk recently launched a campaign to smear the civil rights leader

    • Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk is trying to discredit the civil rights leader as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After previously praising King as a “hero” and a “civil rights icon,” Kirk pivoted in late 2023 at the political convention America Fest, calling King “awful” and “not a good person.” Kirk also attributed the advent of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts to the Civil Rights Act at the conference and threatened on his podcast to release the “truth” about King. [Wired, 1/12/24]
  • On and around MLK Day, right-wing media figures highlighted supposed flaws in MLK’s character, blamed him for modern DEI efforts, and criticized the civil rights movement

    • Charlie Kirk dedicated part of his MLK Day show to attacking King and questioning the Civil Rights Act. Kirk said that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a “mistake,” called King a “bad guy,” and questioned whether MLK Day should be a holiday. Kirk said that King “is not worthy of a national holiday. He is not worthy of godlike status. In fact, I think it's really harmful.” Kirk also hosted a guest, right-wing pundit Vince Everett Ellison, who claimed that Black people will “be at the bottom of everything in America” unless they reject the civil rights movement. [Meidas Touch, 1/15/24, 1/15/24; Media Matters, 1/15/24]
    • White supremacist website VDARE republished founder Peter Brimelow’s 2015 call to “rethink” MLK Day. Introducing Brimelow’s original call, VDARE editor and writer James Fulford summarized Brimelow’s rationale as “MLK was a deeply flawed figure and an inappropriate role model for American whites.” Fulford continued, “Now this is even more the case, because the MLK Day symbolic appeasement project has manifestly failed., as the Floyd Hoax/BLM Insurrection showed, and we propose to repeat this call until We (so to speak) Overcome.” [VDARE, 1/14/24]
    • White supremacist-linked pundit Scott Greer praised Kirk’s reported plans to attack King, celebrating that “the TPUSA chief is now ‘redpilled’ on the civil rights activist and his legacy.” Greer also blamed King for modern-day DEI efforts and claimed that “MLK stands for America’s anti-white mania.” [Substack, Highly Respected, 1/14/24; The Atlantic, 9/5/18]
    • Daily Wire host Matt Walsh attacked King as “a communist, a plagiarist, an adulterer, an abuser, allegedly a rapist, and more.” [Twitter/X, 1/15/24]
    • White nationalist pundit Stew Peters smeared King in a series of posts, including posting a picture of King with Jacob Rothschild with the caption “weird” and a picture of King supposedly “studying Jewish Bolshevism.” Peters also wrote: “On MLK, Jr. Day, it would be immoral for us to overlook the fact that King was a plagiarizer, drunkard, woman beater and serial adulterer, including engaging in numerous ‘unnatural  sex acts’ and ‘violent sex orgies’ with prostitutes.” [Twitter/X, 1/15/24, 1/15/24, 1/15/24; Media Matters, 3/13/23]
    • Neo-Nazi collaborator Jack Posobiec attacked the civil rights movement for turning King into a “saint” and complained that “the real legacy of the 1960’s” was “enshrin[ing] racial discrimination and race consciousness into the federal bureaucracy.” Posobiec also challenged people to “find for me any metric by which inner cities are better now than they were by the ‘60s.” [Twitter/X, 1/15/24; Southern Poverty Law Center, 8/24/20]
    • The X influencer account End Wokeness called MLK Jr. a “racial-Marxist.” The account posted: “Contrary to popular belief, MLK Jr. did not support a color-blind meritocracy. He was actually a racial-Marxist.” [Twitter/X, 1/15/24]