News and Commentary

Brian Stelter Partially Credits TikTok Users For Sabotaging Trump Rally
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Brian Stelter attends CNN Heroes at the American Museum of Natural History on December 08, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

CNN’s Brian Stelter celebrated users of the China-owned TikTok allegedly utilizing the platform to sabotage President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

Citing the photos of empty seats at Trump’s rally on Saturday, a notable departure from his typically large crowd size, Stelter credited TikTok user Mary Jo Laupp for the lower turnout due to a video she produced urging people to sign up for the rally and then ditch.

“It seems that one of the other reasons why there were so many empty seats is a no-show protest,” Stelter said on “Reliable Sources,” as reported by Newsbusters. “A no-show protest. This all started with a video on TikTok created by Mary Jo Laupp, who’s being effectively called a ‘TikTok grandma.’ So, she made a video more than a week ago urging viewers to go to Trump’s site, sign up to attend the rally, but pointedly not show up at the rally.”

“Her video was viewed tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands of times, and then her video led to others, you had younger TikTok users going on posting similar videos, K-Pop fans were on there as well trying to sabotage Trump’s rally,” he continued. “And look, it did seem to work to some degree. We don’t know exactly how well, but Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, was out there talking about how many people were signing up. Trump was bragging that there were a million people RSVP’ing, they were gathering all this data about people they can use for the campaign. But apparently it was a bunch of kids, a bunch of teenagers signing up as a protest.”

Stelter then invited on Mary Jo Laupp, a.k.a. “TikTok Grandma,” who expressed anger that President Trump originally planned to conduct his rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa.

“I had educated myself on Black Wall Street and understood better why black content creators on various social platforms were really upset and frustrated with the original plan of Juneteenth for the rally in Tulsa,” she said. “And I posted a video late Thursday night, the 11th, that was just sort of meant to be a frustrated rant. I had 1,000 followers on TikTok at that point. Most of my videos were seen a couple hundred times, maybe.”

After Laupp’s video went viral, which Stelter was noticeably enthusiastic about, hundreds of people started signing up for the rally.

“All I know is I was at a birthday party for one of my grandkids and my phone started blowing up with friends wanting to make sure I’d seen what was going on, and I hadn’t been paying attention,” she said.

“Do you think this is how it’s going to be from now on, whenever the President holds a rally there’s going to be this attempt to prank him, to troll him, to trick him?” Stelter asked.

“And I don’t think it was just an issue of pranking him. I think you’ve got a lot kids in the younger generation, 20-year-olds and teens, who are very aware – they’re much more aware and much more self-educated when it comes to things like black culture,” she replied.

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