Conservative student group with close ties to Trump administration hires controversial content creator Benny Johnson
- Benny Johnson, a well-known and controversial conservative content creator, has been hired by the pro-Trump student organization Turning Point USA.
- Johnson announced earlier this week that he's leaving his position as a reporter at the right-leaning outlet the Daily Caller.
- "It just kind of makes sense ... Benny is a proven content creator," a person familiar with the discussions behind Johnson's hiring at TPUSA told INSIDER. "He's got a lot of vision when it comes to creating content that's fun."
- Johnson, known by many in the media world as a serial plagiarist, is behind some of the most viral content shared by conservatives on social media in the past several years.
The pro-Trump student advocacy group Turning Point USA (TPUSA) has hired Benny Johnson, a well-known and controversial conservative content creator.
Johnson, who's perhaps best known by many in the media world as a serial plagiarist, is behind some of the most viral content shared across right-wing channels on social media in the past several years - including a widely-derided 2017 video of Federal Communications Commissions Chairman Ajit Pai mocking concerns over the end of net neutrality rules.
The incendiary conservative content creator, for example, took and disseminated the image of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham smiling as he was heckled by protesters amid the chaotic confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
He announced earlier this week that he was leaving his gig as a reporter at the Daily Caller, the conservative news site co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, but didn't say where he was heading.
Johnson emceed TPUSA's Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida in late 2018 and has had close ties to the organization's founder and president, Charlie Kirk, for some time. Kirk is routinely retweeted by President Donald Trump, is close friends with Donald Trump Jr., and has a massive following on social media.
"It just kind of makes sense ... Benny is a proven content creator," a person familiar with the discussions behind Johnson's hiring at TPUSA told INSIDER. "He's got a lot of vision when it comes to creating content that's fun."
Given Johnson's propensity for trying to trigger people on the left, however, the source added that he expects there will be "a lot of haters who are going to bring a different spin to this hire."
In a tweet on Wednesday, Johnson said, "I'm thrilled to be entering a new professional chapter ... I've been a speaker & emcee of dozens of @TPUSA events. It's where the energy is."
He'll serve as TPUSA's chief creative officer, a brand new role for the organization.
In a press press release provided to INSIDER, TPUSA said, "Over the course of the past three years, Turning Point USA has grown rapidly to become one of the largest digital media creators in the conservative space. This growth has necessitated building an internal media department responsible for conceptualizing and creating traditional media, digital media, and now, influencer media. In order to execute on the organization's commitment to being a leader in conservative content, Turning Point USA is pleased to welcome Benny Johnson."
At TPUSA's Student Action Summit in December, Johnson gave a presentation to young Trump supporters that included instructions on how to "own the libs," which offers some insight into the type of content he'll be creating for an organization that's already come under fire over its social media presence.
In late 2018, it was revealed TPUSA's content was routinely shared by Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election. Addressing this in an interview with INSIDER in December, Kirk said "obviously we reject any foreign adversary using any content" but he added that TPUSA "can't control who uses our stuff."