Orthodox Rabbis Criticize W. Post for Noting 'Libs of TikTok' Writer is 'Orthodox Jew' in Hit Piece

By Michael W. Chapman | April 21, 2022 | 9:56am EDT
(Twitter)
(Twitter)

(CNS News) -- On April 19, the Washington Post published an article that was sharply condemnatory of the Twitter-user who posts the "Libs of TikTok" account, a writer whose name, profession, city, and religion -- "proudly Orthodox Jewish" -- were printed in the piece.

The Coalition for Jewish Values, which represents more than 5,000 Orthodox rabbis, responded by describing The Post's actions as "simply unacceptable" and "bordering on antisemitic." 

Libs of TikTok is a highly popular Twitter account that posts the videos and comments, verbatim, of liberals on TikTok. The latter, TikTok, is a social media site where people can post short videos and commentary.  For instance, a gay teacher might post a video on TikTok where he explains why he opposes Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, the so-called "Don't Say Gay" legislation. Libs of TikTok might repost that video on Twitter to show people exactly what the gay teacher said. 

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Libs of TikTok account on Twitter has 915,000 followers and is influential, especially among conservative pundits. 

In the Washington Post article, written by columnist Taylor Lorenz, the name, city, occupation, etc., of the Libs of TikTok writer are revealed, what social media users call "doxxed." This was done, according to critics, to try to intimidate and bully the writer.

After an avalanche of criticism for doxxing the writer, the Washington Post put out a statement saying, "Taylor Lorenz is an accomplished and diligent journalist whose reporting methods comport entirely with the Washington Post's professional standards.... We do not publish or link to any details about [LibsofTikTok’s] personal life."

However, the article  mentions that the Libs of TikTok writer, who prefers to be anonymous to avoid harassment from the left, "has been working as a real estate salesperson in Brooklyn," and then names her. The article also says "the identity of the operator of Libs of TikTok is traceable through a complex online history," and then proceeds to provide more details of that online history.

Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz.  (Screenshot, Twitter)
Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz. (Screenshot, Twitter)

The Post prints her first Twitter handle, then a second handle, where she allegedly identifies "herself publicly as a real estate investor in Brooklyn."  The Post article further provides other Twitter account names the writer used. Armed with this information, any internet user could quickly and easily track down the writer's identity and her location. 

The Coalition for Jewish Values issued a statement on April 20, noting that "the WaPo article highlighted that the subject had, under a previous anonymous Twitter handle, identified herself as an Orthodox Jew, a fact entirely unrelated to the larger story."

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, said, "The Washington Post’s behavior here is simply unacceptable. Jews constitute a small minority, yet are disproportionally targeted by hate crimes. An individual Jew, especially a visibly Orthodox Jew, is thus most likely per capita to be the victim of a hate crime in America today, by far."

"Given this context, identifying the Twitter user as an Orthodox Jewish woman placed her at heightened risk of physical harm," said Rabbi Menken.  "The Post not only did this, but then defended itself by insisting that her membership in our community was not a personal detail."

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values.  (CJV)
Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values. (CJV)

"That ludicrous denial is extremely offensive, bordering on antisemitic, especially at a time when media outlets routinely mask ethnicity details regarding members of every other minority group," he said.  "If this is what the Washington Post describes as its 'professional standards,' we call upon the paper to upgrade those standards immediately."

The Post's Taylor Lorenz has been criticized for essentially doxxing the Libs of TikTok writer. In response, she posted on Twitter, "The amount of insane stuff that's happened over the past 24hrs has been unbelievable. It's eye opening to see how sophisticated & vicious these coordinated attacks have become. I'm grateful to work at a company that takes these issues seriously and is supportive. I'm doing great!"

Since the April 19 article was published, the number of followers of Libs of TikTok has grown from roughly 650,000 to 915,000. 

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