Kaitlin Bennett became an internet sensation after posting her graduation photo from Kent State University, in which she posed on her university's campus smiling in a white dress with an AR-15 strapped over her shoulder and “Come and Take It” written across her graduation cap.
Since that moment, Bennett has become a popular media figure due to her far-right activism and pro-gun agenda, earning her a mass following. With almost 275K followers on Twitter, 138K on Instagram and 398K subscribers on her YouTube channel, Liberty Hangout, Bennett has spent a portion of her time as a conservative self-proclaimed journalist traveling to various protests and festivals to push her opinions on those who disagree with her.
For those who disagree with Bennett’s beliefs and decisions to speak out on her political stances, it’s best to ignore the content that surfaces on social media. Although it might be tempting to click on her videos or quote her tweets, the more attention she receives, the more influential she becomes.
Bennett’s success in pushing her agenda has risen quickly due to how many people engage with her posts. Whether the comments directed at her are good or bad, she takes any kind of attention and morphs it into a positive light because no matter what the context is, it still gets people talking about her.
On one of her most viral videos on Liberty Hangout, “College Students Have No Morals,” Bennett travels to the University of Kentucky to ask college students how they feel about putting tampons and pads in men’s bathrooms and urinals in women’s bathrooms. The general consensus of this video is that college students don’t care what’s in their bathrooms if it’s promoting inclusivity as long as no one is getting hurt. This video currently has over 669K views and particularly stands out because the majority of people’s responses are monotonous and unimpressed, giving Bennett less of an opportunity to dig into people’s opinions and reveal why they may be “incorrect.”
Bennett tends to use people’s words against them. Her strategy involves making statements and asking people questions that are deliberately provoking, leading them to react out of anger and defensiveness. Then, Bennett tries to make herself look like the victim who’s is “being attacked” by other people. She feeds off being deemed as the victim and uses it to her advantage by making liberals look like the bad guys when, in reality, she’s the one that’s stirred the pot from the beginning.
In another Liberty Hangout video, “Pride Gets Peaceful,” Bennett goes to a Pride parade located in Des Moines, Iowa. In this video, Bennett goes out of her way to interact with people trying to enjoy themselves at the event. She yells at a group of people and tells them how she’s trying to expose them for being so “intolerant.” In this video, she’s trying to expose people at the event for upholding open-mindedness, but being intolerant to any ideas she argues. She also ridicules people for their attire and attending the event. She calls several people nasty, and when they give her a frustrated reaction, she claims that everyone at the parade is a hypocrite because they’re supposed to be “all about love.” This is a perfect example of her argumentative strategy: She makes her point by belittling others and proceeds to cry wolf when they react. By not giving Bennett any reaction at all, it limits her opportunity to play victim and have an in-depth argument.
Bennett has no issue with being rude to others. She gains fuel from getting reactions out of people, which is why it’s better to not give her any at all. In many of her videos, she can be found acting out in offensive ways or straight up being mean to others. Although she makes it tempting to react by promoting obviously controversial content that draws attention to her, she does it so people can give her the reaction she needs to feel validated.
Ignoring Bennett is the only way to eliminate her arguments. When she realizes that no one cares about her hostile thoughts, the only thing she’ll be able to do is sulk in her own opinion.
Joanna Sommer is a sophomore media arts and design major. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.