Right-wing personality Candace Owens rocketed to fame earlier this year after Kanye West praised her as his guide to the world of “free-thinker” conservatism. But now she and her employer are facing backlash from a surprising group: fellow conservatives.
Owens is the spokesperson for Turning Point USA, a college conservative organization. As a long-standing internet personality who previously dabbled in Gamergate and an anti-trolling start-up, she had always made for an unpredictable ally for Republicans. Now Owens’s latest career move—launching a series of attacks on the #MeToo movement—has prompted an outcry from young conservatives and cost TPUSA a sponsor for its upcoming convention.
On Monday, Owens launched a salvo against the anti-sexual harassment movement. MeToo, Owens wrote, is premised on the idea that “women are stupid, weak & inconsequential.”
“Too stupid to know what men might want if you come to their hotel room late at night. Too weak to turn around and tell someone not to touch your ass again,” Owens continued.
Owens promised that she would expand on her MeToo attacks later this week in Dallas at TPUSA’s conference for conservative women, the “Young Women’s Leadership Summit.” Owens, set to appear on a speaker list that includes other conservative stars like Ben Shapiro and Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro, promised that her speech would focus on “Why I hate the MeToo movement.”
On Tuesday, the American Conservation Coalition (ACC), an environmental group for millennial conservatives, announced that it was pulling its sponsorship from the conference over Owens’s attacks.
“Words like these should not be tolerated by Turning Point USA or the conservative movement as a whole,” the group said in a statement.
ACC chief of staff Danielle Butcher stressed that the group’s dispute is with Owens herself, not TPUSA or its founder, Charlie Kirk.
“This is specifically about Candace’s comments,” Butcher said, adding, “She has an enormous platform and so many young women look up to her.”
Owens, TPUSA, and Kirk didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Owens came to prominence on the right in April after West, embracing the right-wing internet, praised “the way Candace Owens thinks.” Owens soon joined West’s entourage, decked out in West’s Yeezy clothing brand for the ill-fated appearance on TMZ Live where West claimed slavery was a choice.
But while conservatives embraced Owens and her connection to West’s cultural cachet, she hasn’t shied away from alienating her ostensible allies on the right with off-the-wall tweets.
In May, Owens praised a Louis Farrakhan tweet praising Trump as “a really big deal” and “relevant.” After a backlash from figures on the right, traditionally no fans of the Nation of Islam chief and his history of anti-Semitic remarks, Owens deleted the tweet.
TPUSA is supposed to use its funding from wealthy Republicans to build a new generation of young conservative activists. But Owens has proved to be a controversial figure within TPUSA—so much so that Kirk had to urge conference attendees not to walk out of Owens’ upcoming speech, according to internal texts posted on Twitter by a former TPUSA chapter head.
In the group chat messages, posted online by Alec Sears, who previously ran a TPUSA chapter at Ohio’s Wright State University, Kirk urges TPUSA members attending the conference to keep their disagreements with Owens private.
“Don’t publicly go after allies,” Kirk wrote. “You are free to do whatever you wish obviously but don’t do walk outs or boos. That is [sic] the left does. If you disagree, ask questions, listen, debate and be part of the convo!”