‘Monetizing the haters’: how we can stop Kaitlin Bennett

Greta McLaughlin

“Come and take it,” reads Kaitlin Bennett’s graduation cap in her now infamous 2018 tweet posted after her graduation from Kent State University. In the photo, Bennett carries an AR-10 while she walks around the campus, and she uploaded it in order to show her followers her perceived ridiculousness of the college’s ban on students carrying guns.

The post has since been liked, retweeted, quote-tweeted and shared thousands of times, and it was ultimately what catapulted Bennett, who was a biology student and libertarian activist in college, to online fame.

This post introduced me to the world of Kaitlin Bennett, and I remember thinking that like most other viral individuals, she would fade into oblivion in a few days.

Unfortunately, that was not the case, and Bennett continued to rise in the ranks of political activism and started to work for Liberty Hangout, a libertarian news source.

In true Bennett fashion, most of her Twitter and the Liberty Hangout YouTube channel are based on her interviewing liberals using charged and sometimes crude language and trying to humiliate them because of their beliefs. The channel currently has over 400,000 subscribers.

How was Bennett able to create and retain such a high level of engagement? Simply put, her haters.

Every time someone comments on one of her tweets, shares a clip of her harassing a college student or even mentions her name online, they are giving her exposure, which Bennett thrives on. Even if she is receiving hate, Bennett is still getting views, impressions and promotions.

In addition to that, Bennett’s entire brand is based on liberals becoming agitated over her comments and opinions, and her opposition’s views about her are simply feeding into the exact stereotypes that her followers love.

Yes, many of the “communists” or “campus fems” that she interviews have highly intellectual responses to her berating, leaving Bennett stumbling. The interviewee ends up making a fool out of Bennett instead of the other way around. But when it comes down to it, loyal Liberty Hangout followers do not care.

All they see are the “snowflakes” getting offended over her everything-phobic comments (and rightfully so), and it just charges them up even more.

We need to stop giving people like Bennett the attention that she wants. It’s entertaining to watch her videos and see how she’s the one actually being “destroyed,” look at her often wild tweets and see people messing with her. I’m a victim of it, too.

However, as a result of these online interactions, whether they be positive or negative, Bennett’s internet clout, and thus her relevancy, grows. If her “haters” stop feeding into her, Bennett loses much of the power she holds.

That being said, if she tried to interview me, I would demolish her in a debate, but I will always refrain from giving her the comments and views that she craves.