K-pop fans and teen TikTok users took credit for the low turnout at Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
What we know:
- President Trump continued his re-election campaign by holding a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday night. The campaign held the event at the 19,000-capacity BOK Center and had free tickets for the rally. After registration for the event opened up, the campaign announced more than 1 million ticket requests. The Tulsa Fire Department reported a crowd of less than 6,200 people at the venue.
- After the Trump campaign started registration for the rally, K-pop fans spread the information on Twitter and directed people to reserve tickets and not attend. TikTok “zoomers” used a similar tactic, where users urged their followers to reserve tickets and make sure the rally is as empty as possible.
- The Trump campaign tried to downplay the influence that social media had on the rally turnout. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale blamed “fake news media” and protesters, rather than teenagers on the internet. “What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission – entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required,” Parscale said in a statement on Sunday. Regardless, Twitter users were merciless in making fun of the lowered turnout, including jabs from Republican strategist Steve Schmidt and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
- Although social media users may not be responsible for the low turnout, they humiliated the Trump campaign by inflating their turnout expectations. This is not the first time K-pop fans have organized for online activism. The community has become an unexpected ally of the Black Lives Matter movement by overwhelming right-wing hashtags on Twitter and police department apps. Just weeks ago, the K-pop group BTS donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter and their fanbase, ARMY, matched the donation within 24 hours.
@maryjolauppDid you know you can make sure there are empty seats at Trump’s rally? ##BLM.♬ original sound – maryjolaupp
The Trump rally was originally scheduled for Friday, June 19, otherwise known as Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. Tulsa, Oklahoma was also the scene of 1921 massacre, one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history. Many were appalled by the Trump campaign’s audacity to hold a right-wing rally on a day and at a place of such importance in Black history.