Turning Point USA is facing accusations that it censored students attempting to ask Tomi Lahren questions about abortion and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during a talk she gave Thursday at the organization’s annual summit.
Baylor University student Chloe Knox, an attendee at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Fla., tweeted on Thursday that she had attempted to ask Lahren a question about abortion, but was told by the Turning Point USA staff members who were passing around microphones that Lahren would not be answering questions about abortion.
I was just told I could not ask @TomiLahren my question at #SAS2017 because @charliekirk11 and Lahren don’t want to address the abortion issue. I spent hundreds of dollars to be here, but you’re going to deny me my free speech? pic.twitter.com/jSdGQ6eG0u— Chloe Knox (@knoxknoxwhosder) December 21, 2017
I’m livid. You’ve turned away a dozen students wanting to ask Tomi about her pro-abortion stance. Who’s the snowflake afraid of free speech and open discussion now? #SAS2017— Chloe Knox (@knoxknoxwhosder) December 21, 2017
What sort of conservative conference disallows its attendees to ask questions about major components of the conservative agenda? I want to dedicate my life fighting the abortion industry, and you’re preventing me from garnering experience @charliekirk11 @TomiLahren #SAS2017— Chloe Knox (@knoxknoxwhosder) December 21, 2017
During the question and answer portion of Lahren’s talk, multiple attendees became agitated and shouted at Lahren, asking her if she was pro-life. This prompted Lahren to quip, “You need to simmer down! You don’t even want to start with me!”
Five hours after Knox’s original tweet, she updated her social media account, tweeting that Turning Point USA’s founder, Charlie Kirk, had personally reached out to meet with her and apologized for “TPUSA’s mistake.”
Rouser News reported that “several students waited up to an hour after the event before Kirk came to speak with them and offer apologies. Claiming he never gave orders to deny anyone’s questions, Kirk said this was the fault of miscommunication between him and his staff.”
Another attendee, who asked to remain anonymous, told Red Alert Politics that she overheard staff members also blocking any questions related to Kaepernick who started the ongoing national anthem protests at NFL games.
In subsequent tweets, Knox said that she was “livid” over the situation and said that TPUSA had “turned away a dozen students wanting to ask [Lahren] about her pro-abortion stance.” Knox went on to bash the organization saying “What sort of conservative conference disallows its attendees to ask questions about major components of the conservative agenda? I want to dedicate my life fighting the abortion industry, and you’re preventing me from garnering experience”
Knox shared a screenshot showing that Lahren had subsequently blocked her on Twitter and slammed Lahren for “Not only not taking questions, but cowering out and blocking those who dare to question her basic talking points.”
Lahren took to Instagram for a live video around 11:40 p.m. Thursday night to address the controversy, in which she called herself a role model and called for others to have respect.
Student Action Summit attendee Megan Springer told Red Alert Politics that she didn’t have a problem with the alleged censorship of questions.
“She was paid to be here and there is obviously rules and regulations about that and she shouldn't be forced to talk about something she doesn't want to talk about.” Springer said that she “totally understand why people are upset that they didn't get to ask their questions, but at the end of the day if these students really wanted to know how Tomi feels about abortion, they can go to her Twitter or watch her videos.”
Springer asked Lahren a question about how to stand up to liberal women who don’t believe conservative women are “real women.”
Knox’s tweets drew the attention of multiple conservative personalities including Allie Stuckey (a.k.a. the Conservative Millennial), who was promoted at TheBlaze shortly after Lahren’s public falling out with the company.
Stuckey sent Knox a direct message saying “stay strong, keep fighting for the unborn” and that it was “wrong they silenced” her.
In an apparent slight to Lahren, Stuckey tweeted, “the only real snowflakes on the left and right are the ones who are unwilling to have their views challenged.”
She also directly addressed the comparison between her and Lahren.
Feel this needs to be said: Tomi & I get contrasted often. I appreciate the kind words. I do disagree w/ her on a lot. Fact is, we are just different people. She's got what works for her. (I would tag her & wish her well but she blocked me for unknown reasons a while ago )— Allie Stuckey (@conservmillen) December 22, 2017
Lawrence Jones III, a commentator at TheBlaze, tweeted an apparent slight saying, “Don’t give a platform to people that can only recites [sic] the latest talking points & then be shocked when they can’t adequately defend their position on the issues.”
Students for Life of America invited Knox to join their movement.
Jeremiah Poff (@JJ_Poff) is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville where he studies Journalism and Human Life Studies. He is fluent in Spanish and he also writes for The College Fix.