Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) returned to Washington DC this week, featuring notable anti-LGBTQ+ figures like Ted Cruz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Donald Trump. One of the speakers, Chaya Raichik, who is known for her anti-LGBTQ+ views on social media and as the creator of “Libs of TikTok,” was invited to join a panel discussion alongside talk radio host Larry O’Connor, author Kurt Schlichter, and conservative activist L. Brent Bozell III. The panel was dedicated to grilling CNN host Don Lemon, but it failed to attract much of an audience, leaving the venue almost empty except for a few people and photographers. This lack of interest was especially ironic considering that Raichik, just last year, mocked Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz for participating in a VidCon panel with what Raichik believed to be very few attendees.
Raichik, however, received a taste of her own medicine at CPAC, and social media users have been quick to point out the irony of the situation. Civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo tweeted pictures of the event, highlighting the emptiness of the venue and suggesting that bots don’t attend conferences. Raichik’s previous mocking of Lorenz’s panel now seems especially misplaced, given that the pictures she was commenting on appear to have been of an event where Lorenz was moderating, rather than being the centre of the discussion.
Furthermore, Lorenz’s report on “Libs of TikTok” revealed that Raichik had attended the US Capitol insurrection in 2021, which only adds to the criticism Raichik has faced for her extremist views. As a prominent figure in the conservative movement, Raichik’s presence at CPAC raises concerns about the normalization of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric within the Republican Party. While the lack of interest in Raichik’s panel may seem like a small victory for LGBTQ+ rights advocates, the larger issue of intolerance and hatred towards marginalized communities in conservative politics remains a significant concern.