At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Daily Wire host Michael Knowles stated that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” His sentiments were echoed on the CPAC stage by another Daily Wire host, Candace Owens, who claimed that “there is no middle ground on transgenderism,” and applauded on Twitter by Daily Wire host Matt Walsh, who urged for “transgenderism” to be “destroyed completely.”
While this level of violent rhetoric may have surprised the mainstream media, it’s fully representative of the content available to consumers of Daily Wire podcasts, available through the DailyWire+ app on both Apple and Google, despite terms of service that appear to ban targeted hate against marginalized groups.
The Daily Wire’s bigotry against LGBTQ people ranges from episodes that sport anti-LGBTQ slurs in their titles to editor emeritus Ben Shapiro’s continued attacks on gay marriage. As recently as in late February, several Daily Wire podcast hosts, including Walsh, Knowles, Owens, and Jake Crain, have encouraged violence against trans people, claimed that violence against trans people is inevitable, or urged the eradication of transgender people from public life.
In September of 2018, Apple removed Infowars, the podcast hosted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, from its platform for violating terms of service. The move spurred other tech companies to do the same, and severely limited the reach of Jones’ harmful rhetoric — rhetoric which also cost him a defamation suit and his financial solvency. In spite of this precedent, and repeated violations of Apple and Google terms of service, Daily Wire podcasts remain accessible through the Apple App Store, Apple TV, Google Play, and through Google TV via Chromecast.
The Matt Walsh Show
Last month, Walsh attacked trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, telling her, “You are weird and artificial, you are manufactured and lifeless, you are unearthly and eerie.” In response to backlash, Walsh doubled down on his extreme anti-trans sentiments, stating that he would “rather be dead” than have a trans child. He added:
MATT WALSH: When it comes to my children, the children that I cherish more than my own life, if you think mean words go too far, then you would be very shocked to hear how far I would really go to protect them. Trust me, words are the least of it. So, yes, my words reflect anger because I am angry. But the problem is not that I'm angry, the problem is that you aren't nearly angry enough.
In a similar statement elsewhere, Walsh said that having a transgender child is a “fate worse than death.”
Walsh has blamed trans people for the higher rates of violence perpetrated against them, claiming that they participate in “those high-risk activities more than average,” and has praised anti-LGBTQ legislation that would force LGBTQ people to flee the country. He has also encouraged violence or other aggression against drag performers, saying that progressive attitudes that allow them to perform are “just like cancer,” in that “stopping it is not a gentle or a painless process. The farther along the cancer is, the more aggressive you have to be in fighting it.” He continued:
MATT WALSH: I don't want to share a country with you. I don't want to share a planet with you. That's how much I despise everything you represent.
So, with this, this is not compromise. All we can do is crush it. Destroy it. That's what you do with evil. And that's what we have to do with this. That should be our objective. Because this is very plainly the mass sexual abuse of kids happening in plain sight.
These statements have spilled out into the real world, as Walsh organizes anti-LGBTQ campaigns and rallies that encourage the violent sentiments of other extremists. In the wake of the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Walsh excused the violence, asking, "if it’s causing this much chaos and violence, why do you insist on continuing to do it?”
MICHAEL KNOWLES: I don't know how you could have a genocide of transgender people because genocide refers to genes, it refers to genetics, it refers to biology. And the whole point of transgenderism is that it has nothing to do with biology. That's what the transgender activists say. They say, forget about biological sex. My gender expression doesn't have to have anything to do with my biological sex. OK, well, then there can't be a genocide. It refers to genetics.
But furthermore, nobody's calling to exterminate anybody because the other problem with that statement is that transgender people is not a real ontological category. It's not a legitimate category of being. There are people who think that they're the wrong sex, but they're mistaken. They're laboring under a delusion. And so we need to correct that delusion.
Following the speech at CPAC, the Daily Wire printed the transcript on their website and Knowles released an episode reading his commentary on “transgenderism” word for word again. He continued to promote the idea that the inclusion of transgender people in society is unacceptable, saying that “if you want to deal with the transgender issue, it's kind of all-or-nothing.” In past episodes, Knowles has also encouraged conversion therapy as a solution for keeping transgender people from appearing in public.
Let's not talk about any of the symptoms leading up to all of the glaring, obvious signs that this person was, perhaps, mentally unstable because right now, we're living in a society where we have accepted the narrative that men can become women and women can be men. And what was once acknowledged formerly as a mental illness, gender dysphoria, just a few years ago, was acknowledged officially in the DSM-5 as a mental illness, is now today considered something perfectly normal.
She has repeatedly stated that LGBTQ people and allies are pedophiles, even calling for parents of transgender children and parents who allow their children to attend drag queer story hour to have their children taken away. She recently stated that, if she had a trans grandchild, she would beat them with a cane.
Crain & Company
While his podcast is usually dedicated to sports commentary, Jake Crain predicted violence against trans athletes throughout a recent episode. While claiming that he was “advocating for not transgender violence” he nevertheless predicted what was “going to happen” when fathers found out that trans women were in the locker rooms with their cis daughters. While refusing to check the direct encouragements of violence from callers into the show, he cited his own male biology as the source that would eventually drive fathers to protect their cis daughters from trans women, claiming that this was “not a threat” but a “forewarning” and a “foreshadowing.”
Terms of service
The Apple App Store and Apple Podcast content guidelines clearly state that objectionable content includes “defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary” about sexual orientation and gender, particularly if the app or content “is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or harm a targeted individual or group.”
Similarly, the Google Play terms of service don’t allow “apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, caste, immigration status, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”
Labeling members of a group “demonic” and accusing them of being “groomers,” while platforming the idea that any public accommodation of that group would be an intolerable compromise, is a clear promotion of hatred. That hatred bears terrible consequences: According to one study by the Williams Institute, trans people are four times more likely than cisgender people to be the victims of violent victimization, including rape and assault. By providing a platform for vile anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, Apple and Google are making themselves silent partners in this violent campaign against trans life.