FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL: The Anti-Defamation League flags “online amplifiers of LGBTQ+ hate” as extremists to be examined by law enforcement, an email obtained by The Oversight Project shows.
The revelation indicates that the Anti-Defamation League, “the leading anti-hate organization in the world,” is specifically pushing law enforcement to scrutinize viral dissenters against transgender ideology, such as The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh and The Manhattan Institute’s Chris Rufo. The email was obtained by The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)
The ADL has historically focused on anti-semitism, but in recent years has directed heavy attention to hate and extremism. The ADL has described content pushing back against transgender ideology as both “dangerous” and “false,” claiming that this content inspires “real-world extremist activities, threats, and even violence.”
“The ADL, and similar organizations, are a key driver of government weaponization,” Mike Howell, the director of the Oversight Project, a division of the Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “They provide the phony predication and intellectual cover in order to point the people with guns at their enemies. Our investigative work continues to expose examples of these groups driving government action.”
The Extremist Landscape
Oversight’s Freedom of Information Act request to Washington State Fusion Center (a “unified counterterrorism” center) turned out a February 2023 email on “the extremist landscape” from the ADL. The email was sent to Tyler Phelan, an intelligence analyst at the center, from the ADL’s “Law Enforcement” address.
The email bears the subject line: “White Supremacist Fight Clubs, Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate.” It then paints a picture of the “extremist landscape:” threats of Islamic terrorism, an alleged rise in white supremacist crews encouraging violence, and “online amplifiers of LGBTQ+ Hate” promoting “false narratives, escalating harassment of LGBTQ+ individuals.”
This section on “LGBTQ+ Hate” describes content pushed by online actors “including the vilification of drag shows” and “baseless claims of ‘child grooming’ by LGBTQ+ people.” The ADL alleges that this content has “further endangered and isolated an already at-risk community,” noting that “these accusations and stances have also been adopted by right-wing media personalities and disseminated on mainstream platforms.”
“The growing online anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry puts LGBTQ+ individuals at greater risk of physical violence and harassment,” the email notes. It refers readers to its blog for more information, and notes that ADL’s Center on Extremism monitors “extremism across the ideological spectrum” through investigators, analysts, researchers, and technical experts.
ADL touts its Center on Extremism as “the nation’s foremost nongovernmental authority on extremism.” It is comprised of “investigators, analysts, researchers and technical experts who strategically monitor and expose extremist threats—on the internet and on the ground.”
That email bears remarkable similarities in both wording and structure to the ADL’s blog post on “Online Amplifiers of Anti-LGBTQ+ Extremism” — a blog post that specifically names the viral “Libs of TikTok” social media account run by Chaya Raichik, the Gays Against Groomers social media account run by Jaimee Michell, the media company Blaze Media, Rufo, and Walsh.
According to that blog post, the ADL is interested in the government targeting these types of individuals due to their influence online related to transgender ideology.
“ADL is advocating for government partners to strengthen laws against perpetrators of online hate, as well as consulting with law enforcement partners to act on online hate speech that incites violence and/or credible threats,” the blog post reads. “ADL will continue to develop community partnerships with LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations such as GLAAD, in efforts to counter hate speech with positive speech.”
That article represents a collaboration between the pro-LGBTQ group GLAAD and the ADL intended to “counter anti-LGBTQ+ Extremism and Hate.” The collaboration explicitly aims to “alert law enforcement and community organizations to threats targeting LGBTQ+ individuals and institutions.”
“You can draw a direct line from anti-LGBTQ content and accounts on social media to real world violence: from extremists showing up at drag shows to vandalism at LGBTQ community centers to bomb threats being called into children’s hospitals that care for transgender youth,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in the November 2022 press release announcing the collaboration.
It appears that the ADL email to the Washington State Fusion Center employee links to this blog post — the email includes links that The Daily Signal could not confirm, specifically on the phrase “online actors” and the phrase “baseless claims,” referring to supposedly baseless claims of child grooming and the “vilification of drag shows.” The ADL did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Law Enforcement Denies Investigations
Chris Loftis, director of communications for the Washington State Patrol, a key partner in the Washington State Fusion Center, denied that there are currently investigations into Walsh, Rufo, Raichik, Libs of TikTok, or Gays Against Groomers.
He also said of Washington state law enforcement agencies that, though they might review information from “an organization like ADL,” they would “recognize that they, like any organization or individual, would be organized and energized around core beliefs and mission thrusts that could impact their perspectives.”
“Therefore, we treat every source of information the same, with appropriate appreciation and skepticism, regardless of where they might be on the political spectrum and do our due diligence assessing the validity of any information received,” he added. “If, after that type of broad-spectrum and multiple source review, we have actionable intelligence on a credible threat, we take appropriate action.”
“We do not investigate anyone or anything ‘at the direction of the Anti-Defamation League,'” Loftis added, referencing The Daily Signal’s press inquiry. “We receive tips from a variety of sources and interested parties and we follow each to its logical conclusion to assess if any possible public safety threat actually exists.”
The Online Amplifiers
The ADL blog post on online amplifiers of “LGBTQ+ Hate” accuses both Raichik and Gays Against Groomers of perpetrating “false allegations” of “grooming” and repeatedly accuses Raichik, Michell, the Blaze, and Rufo of vilifying drag shows.
It also describes Walsh as “one of the biggest purveyors of erroneous and harmful narratives surrounding gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary youth,” calling him an “anti-LGBTQ+ extremist commentator.”
Walsh has particularly drawn the attention of gender ideologists through his “What is A Woman” documentary and his exposés of the hospitals and medical professionals across the U.S. who perform experimental transgender medical interventions on children and young people.
Walsh regards the ADL’s tactics as “a very serious threat,” he told The Daily Signal.
“I’m not surprised that the enemies of free speech and common sense are using this tactic but I do find it deeply concerning,” Walsh said.
“Democrats (and the ADL is just an activist arm of the Democrat Party of course) clearly want to use force to shut down speech that threatens their narrative,” Walsh said. “We’ve been moving in that direction for some time. I expect that if Biden wins re-election we will start to see, in the next year or two, outspoken conservatives getting fined and arrested on the grounds of ‘hate speech,’ etc.”
The ADL blog post also describes Rufo, widely known for his work exposing the ideological background and workings of critical race theory (a framework reinterpreting American society as systemically racist), as “an anti-LGBTQ+ extremist.”
“Previously known for his fearmongering around critical race theory, Rufo has now turned his focus to the alleged ‘dangers’ of ‘gender ideology’ – a baseless, decades-old conspiracy theory alleging that the progressive movement seeks to destroy traditional families and conservative values by expanding the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people,” the blog post states.
Rufo weighed in on the ADL’s efforts in a Tuesday phone interview.
“The ADL is attempting to mobilize the government for the purposes of political persecution, putting our right to free speech at risk,” he told The Daily Signal. “The fact that the ADL would like the government to investigate critics of transgender ideology under ‘domestic terrorism’ provisions is outrageous.”
“I will not back down to this intimidation campaign—rather, I will fight harder than ever,” he added. “If counterterrorism agents come knocking, I will tell them to pound sand. This is still America, and we still have the right to free speech.”
The ADL also describes Raichik’s “Libs of TikTok” account as “anti-LGBTQ+ extremist social media” that “frequently targets educators, healthcare professionals and drag performers who either identify as LGBTQ+ or work on LGBTQ+-related issues.”
“Notable narratives promoted by LoTT include an ‘investigation’ into Boston Children’s Hospital and a mega thread vilifying drag shows during Pride Month,” the ADL post says, referring to when Raichik published video of the hospital promoting “gender-affirming” hysterectomies for young people. “Those targeted often report experiencing threats, harassment and real-world violence in the wake of the LoTT campaign against them.”
Raichik told The Daily Signal that the ADL is heading down a “really dangerous road” by essentially saying that “criticizing someone or something means that you’re a criminal.”
“Their whole brand is deciding who is an extremist, who is a racist, who is transphobic, who is a bigot, and then all of the corporations follow them and take cues from them,” she noted.
ADL’s Work With Law Enforcement
The ADL did not respond to many requests for comment for this story. However, the organization notes on its website that it “believes law enforcement has a fundamental obligation to preserve civil rights and liberties in a democracy and is instrumental to efforts to protect people and communities from hate crimes and extremism.”
The leftist organization, which has regional offices across the U.S., claims that it provides law enforcement with “professional development tailored” to each agency’s needs and ranks.
The ADL also says that it provides a number of trainings and “educational opportunities” for law enforcement agencies and personnel, though it has removed the page for those educational opportunities. An archived version of the page examined by The Daily Signal states that “an important part of our work is ensuring that law enforcement agencies and personnel at the local, state and federal levels understand the threats to vulnerable populations.”
“In order to do this effectively, ADL shares our resources and expertise on extremism,” the archived page states. “In 2020 alone, ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) provided law enforcement with critical intelligence about extremism over 1,000 times and tracked over 5,000 new incidents of hate on our online, interactive H.E.A.T. Map.”
ADL says that its efforts to work with law enforcement include “assisting” law enforcement in protecting people and communities from “hate and extremism — both online and on the ground,” as well as “providing” law enforcement with “information and education to address emerging extremist threats, both on and offline.
In 2014, according to the ADL, the Metropolitan Police Department adopted its recommendations “to improve its response to hate crimes and to strengthen the MPD’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community.”
Some of the ADL’s violent extremism modules for law enforcement include material on “elements of violent extremism” and “recognizing violent extremism,” which includes an overview of the ADL’s perception of “extremist ideologies and groups.”
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