Tucker Carlson decided to give a little gift to the far-right by airing an interview with Chaya Raichik on his show Tucker Carlson Today, which streams on Fox News. Who is Raichik? The woman behind the infamous Libs of TikTok account. Now, Raichik’s identity has actually already been revealed by journalists—according to investigative work done by Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz, Raichik was a real estate agent in New Jersey in November 2020, though it’s unclear where she now resides.
Per Lorenz, Raichik took to Twitter to minimize COVID-19, bolster election fraud hysteria, and cover (I use that verb generously) the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. She reportedly had various accounts before she began what would become the conservative Libs of TikTok presence she is today.
What really made her online presence take off? Joe Rogan promoted her on his podcast, and she tweeted a lot of anti-trans stuff. Like, a lot a lot. And people (disturbingly) took that and ran with it. And now, well, here’s what she has to say for herself, per an interview with Carlson.
I have to warn you: What she says in this interview is extremely disturbing. It’s explicitly hateful. It’s inarguably anti-queer and anti-LGBTQ+. She doesn’t mince words on her hate—I don’t think there was a drop in ambiguity in her stance prior to this interview so I’m not surprised, but it’s still not easy to hear.
RELATED STORY: Memoirist Alisson Wood is here to correct the anti-queer 'grooming' rhetoric of the right
During the Tucker Carlson Today segment, Carlson and Raichik discuss the leaked audio that went viral thanks largely to Raichik herself and led to a lot of harassment against the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. As Daily Kos covered at the time, the hospital corrected rumors that it offers gender-affirming hysterectomies to teenagers and said the phone operators in the leaked audio (who seemed to suggest this sort of care was possible at the hospital) were simply incorrect and don’t actually provide care to patients anyway. But conservatives have run with it ever since.
“I assume the person who said that is not like, a serial killer,” says Carlson in reference to the call operator. “Or an evil person ... But that’s so evil.”
And that’s where we get into the clip that’s now going viral online.
“What is going on here?” Carlson says at the start of the clip that was shared on Twitter by Alejandra Caraballo. “Do you have any theories?”
Raichik replies: “I think there’s something so unique about the LGBTQ community ... has become this cult and it’s so captivating. And it pulls people in so strongly, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And they brainwash people to join, and they convince them of all of these things. And it’s really, really hard to get out of it. It’s really difficult. And there are studies on this. Like, there’s been a lot of reporting on this. About people …
Parents, who are like, ‘You know, my child is starting to say they’re nonbinary, they’re transgender, whatever. What do I do? How do I stop this?’ It’s really, really difficult. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen, I think. It’s extremely poisonous.”
Carlson asks: “Do you see a spiritual component to any of this?”
She pauses and chuckles. “Um ...”
“You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to,” Carlson adds. “Well, I do. I don’t think this makes sense at all.”
“I think they’re evil,” she says. “We try to … We try to break it down a lot. We discuss why is this happening. And I think sometimes the simple answer is they’re just evil. They’re bad people. They’re evil people. And they want to … They want to groom kids. They’re recruiting.”
Here is that clip.
During the hour-long interview, Raichik tells Carlson she wanted to keep her identity behind the account private because she feared the “violent nature” and “hate” of the left. She says she remained anonymous until she was “doxxed.”
Again, pretty much everyone who follows her online presence already knows who she is, but Carlson still teased the interview with an avatar over her face.
Raichik also discussed the parents and guardians who actually support their trans and queer youth. “There are a lot of parents who let their kids do this,” she says. “And they promote it. And they encourage it. And there are a lot of parents who are obviously grooming their kids into doing this.”
“People ask me all the time. This is one of my most common questions: If you could say one thing to Taylor, what would it be? Or if you could ask her one question … And I thought about this so much. I was never sure how to answer this question, and I thought about it a lot … And then I realized the answer is: I don’t want to talk to her. She’s a bad person and she’s toxic. We disagree on everything. We have nothing in common. She … She is not a person I ever want to be in the same room with. I never want to be in her presence. So, there’s your answer. I don’t want to talk to her.”
Now, all of this is bad. It’s very bad. It’s hateful, it’s exclusionary, it’s downright mean. It’s (to use her own words) evil. But it’s not just ethically and morally abhorrent. Raichik’s incessant push of misinformation is, in my opinion, stoking violence and mistrust among LGBTQ+ people. The account often shares people’s full names, social media handles, and a video or images of the person doing something extremists have a problem with. Folks are often openly queer teachers or openly queer people who share their journeys with pronouns or gender-affirming care. There isn't necessarily a call to action attached to the posts, but followers seem to get the anti-queer drift.
We’re seeing, for example, folks call in threats against hospitals across the nation (from Boston, to Seattle, to Portland, to Chicago, to Washington, D.C., and specific health care providers who offer gender-affirming health care for trans youth. One scary example comes to us from a children’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, after the Libs of TikTok account tweeted a leaked audio recording to more than 1 million followers. It’s gotten to the point where major medical associations have asked the Department of Justice to step in and investigate the threats that are overwhelming hospitals providing trans-inclusive care.
Press Secretary Christina Pushaw cited the account when pushing the hateful Don't Say Gay bill in Florida. Proud Boys reportedly ruined a Drag Queen Story Hour library event by hurling anti-queer rhetoric at attendees, which, wouldn’t you know it, investigators believed to be spurred by Libs of TikTok, per LGBTQ+ outlet them. There are so many examples of harassment it’s difficult to list, but the effects are clear. Queer people are vulnerable, and the platform given to anti-queer and anti-trans misinformation machines is dangerous.
Here’s Carlson himself teasing the interview per YouTube. Big yikes!