Right-wing internet star Kaitlin Bennett, dubbed, “Kent State gun girl,” stands as a controversial figure in today’s society. Her videos on her channel “Liberty Hangout,” with 430 thousand subscribers, features interviews with people concerning political topics like abortion, gun rights, and transgender rights. Bennett’s interviewing style and manner can come off as provoking, causing quite the stir among social media users and can be accredited for her recent notoriety. She first received attention online in 2018 when she posed in a photo carrying an AR-10 rifle while in high heels, with the message “come and take it” written on her graduation cap. She is an outspoken gun rights activist. At the time, she held the position of president at Kent State University’s Turning Point USA chapter (the club has been dogged for allegations of racism).
The Pro-Trump figure makes videos on college campuses for social media. “Bennett is frequently ignored or mocked by the students she interviews in her videos, which have produced several viral clips that are used to further ridicule her online,” Rachel Sandler, Forbes staff writer, said. “In one such example, which has more than 7 million views on Twitter, she asks a student how they would feel about including menstrual products in men’s bathrooms and urinals in women’s bathrooms for transgender students. ‘Sounds great,’ one student deadpans, not bothering to elaborate.”
Just last weekend, the figure clashed with International Women’s Day Cleveland participants, confronting them to talk politics. According to Metro News, “Bennett said during an interview with cleveland.com that she went to the march to see if participants would be supportive of ‘women who don’t think exactly like them.’ She said she hoped to see if they would be supportive of women who favor Second Amendment rights and being anti-abortion.”
Bennett has come under fire for many of her views due to negative connotations like homophobia or white supremacy. In addition, negative feedback floods the internet in response to her videos and standpoints. Writer Mikayla Balmaceda with The Wildcat attempted to explain her opinion on Bennett’s approach.
“It is as if she approaches these young people with the intent to get a reaction out of them. She seems to thrive off of the reactions she receives from the people she interviews and the negative feedback on social media she gets from posting the videos,” Balmaceda wrote. “Most of the people interviewed disagree with Bennett’s stances, and it is as if the videos themselves are uploaded for the sole purpose of shaming people. Her own beliefs and stances on these controversial topics are pretty clear, but Bennett refuses to hear out the people she interviews. She comes off very close-minded.”
The public’s distaste for Bennett took the form of protestors at Ohio State University where they prompted her departure from the scene. A viral video captured the tension on campus as her entourage attempted to drive through the apparently distressed crowd. This exemplifies the negative public reaction to Bennett’s presence, attracting more attention now than ever for her infamous interviews.