WaPo Criticized for Revealing Person Behind Libs of TikTok Account As Orthodox Jew

The Washington Post is under fire for revealing the name of the person behind the anonymous “Libs of TikTok” Twitter account and pointing out that she is an Orthodox Jew.

The Post published a story on April 19 unveiling the popular Twitter account as being run by a woman who is a real estate salesperson at one point based in New York. The report describes Libs of TikTok as an account that shares TikTok videos “primarily from LGBTQ+ people, often including incendiary framing aiming to generate outrage” that “has emerged as a powerful force on the Internet” with “a direct correlation between the recent push in legislation and rhetoric directly targeting the LGBTQ+ community.” The report later mentions that prior to the creation of the account, the woman had another Twitter account where “she also claimed to be proudly Orthodox Jewish” in March 2021.

Some on Twitter took umbrage with the mention. “Why was it crucial for [Post reporter] @TaylorLorenz to mention the creator of ‘Libs of TikTok’ was an Orthodox Jew?” Stop Antisemitism tweeted. Lorenz is the author of the April 19 Post report. “Violent anti-Semitic attacks, especially in [New York City], are skyrocketing. This does nothing but give an already bias[ed] lunatic more ammo to attack Jews!” They also stated they are “highly disappointed” with Post Technology Editor Christina Passariello for approving of the mention.

Conservative columnist Bethany Mandel, who is also the editor of the “Heroes of Liberty” children’s book series, tweeted that the Post is “absolute straight trash” for mentioning that the account they’re “painting as mustached is run by an Orthodox Jew. ” “By specifically identifying @libsoftiktok is an Orthodox Jew at a time when hatred and violence against us is at an all-time high, Lorenz is putting her safety in even more jeopardy,” Mandel added. “And she knows it.”

Joel M. Petlin, Superintendent of the Kiryas Joel School District, highlighted a tweet showing that in the Post’s comments section someone had written that Libs of TikTok is “a Jew Hitler would be proud of” as an example of “why the religious affiliation of the subject of an article shouldn’t be used, unless it’s germane to the story. In the #libsoftiktok story, it most certainly was not.” “Shame on Taylor & WaPo for adding fuel to the fire of Antisemitism.”

Christina Pushaw, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary, highlighted a screenshot of Post Columnist Megan McArdle tweeting that because the woman behind Libs of TikTok is an Orthodox Jew, “the fallout of having her name revealed will be pretty minimal.” “[Jeff Bezos] Post content creators do not have a problem with revealing the personal information and workplace of a private citizen, as long as she is an Orthodox Jew,” Pushaw tweeted. “What kind of twisted logic is this?” Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post. McArdle later tweeted that what she meant was that she approves “of people being cancellation-proof. I am generally opposed to cancellation on principle. I view this as a strength of the orthodox community, not a weakness.” Pushaw replied to McArdle that “it is a strength of the orthodox community. But it’s wrong that your employer, an influential newspaper, would publish a story unmasking this person — and identifying her religion, where it’s not at all relevant to the story. Opens her up to being targeted by antisemites.”

In response to the Journal’s request for comment, Post Senior Managing Editor Cameron Barr defended Lorenz, calling her “an accomplished and diligent journalist whose reporting methods comport entirely with The Washington Post’s professional standards” and that the identity of the Libs of TikTok creator “has had significant impact on public discourse and her identity had become public knowledge on social media. We did not publish or link to any details about her personal life. This appeared to be the same statement that the Post posted to their Twitter account about Lorenz’s report on her; Libs of TikTok accused them of lying, tweeting that “they included a link with personal information which they later removed because they knew what they were doing was abhorrent.”

The Post reported accused the person behind Libs of TikTok of having past Twitter accounts of promoting “election fraud conspiracies and using QAnon-related language” and providing a “play-by-play account claiming to be on the ground” during January 6. It went on to claim that Libs of TikTok has promoted “anti-LGBTQ content” and is “directly impacting legislation” because Pushaw has said the account has reported “her views on the state’s restrictive legislation that bands discussion of sexuality or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, described by critics as the ‘don’t say gay’ bill.” Pushaw has argued that Libs of TikTok is being targeted for sharing videos of “degenerate progressives” who “have sexually explicit conversations with minors.”

Mediaite has reported that the Post and Lorenz are also being accused of doxxing the woman behind Libs of TikTok, pointing to allegations that Lorenz attempted to contact the woman’s relatives by knocking on their doors. Lorenz and her defenders of her have argued that she was engaging in common reporting tactics and that the Libs of TikTok account is “high profile” and that the woman behind the account has made “public appearances in the media.”

The New York Post reported that critics of Lorenz have accused her of hypocrisy, pointing to an MSNBC segment that aired earlier in the month in which Lorenz tearfully recounted how “online harassment targeting her and her family caused her to experience ‘severe PTSD’ and contemplate suicide in the recent past.” Lorenz responded to The New York Post report by sharing a screenshot of a story accusing the outlet of doxxing a first responder’s OnlyFans account. In response to Stanford Internet Observatory’s Alex Stamos saying to Lorenz that she has “eloquently spoken of your own experiences here and you should extend that empathy to somebody you disagree with, if only to maintain some credibility on the topic,” Lorenz replied: “My reporting here doesn’t deny anything I’ve said about online harassment or right wing smear campaigns, those things are what Libs of TT drives, and part of what makes it newsworthy.”

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