Home Politics Untimely in the debate, RFK Jr. star shines on TikTok Live

Untimely in the debate, RFK Jr. star shines on TikTok Live

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Untimely in the debate, RFK Jr. star shines on TikTok Live

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. won’t be on stage at the presidential debate next week to answer questions, but he will answer them on TikTok Live.

On Thursday night, a group of TikTok creators livestreamed a town hall with Kennedy titled “America’s Nasty.” For about an hour, Kennedy, a prominent anti-vaccine conspiracist, answered questions from the creators and their followers about food and vaccine safety. Kennedy spoke at length about unfounded claims that vaccines and gluten could cause or worsen autism.

It was the second town hall the independent candidate held with TikTokker Tiffany Cianci and her community. Cianci has become known for hosting livestreams with third-party campaigns and other creators over the past year. Thursday’s event was the fourth event and although it reached only a few thousand viewers, Cianci says they have received hundreds of thousands of views in the past.

“The first one had almost 100,000 (viewers) and they only gave us two days’ notice,” says Cianci, who has more than 150,000 followers. “That was our first interview with Robert F. Kennedy. And we didn’t really know what we were doing at the time. “We were flying blind.”

While Cianci handles most of the logistics, other creators are invited as panelists and to ask the candidates their own questions. The group of creators who organized Thursday’s town hall included two wellness accounts, a conspiracy channel, and a couple of home creators.

TikTok town halls are no different than the town halls that many candidates participate in throughout the election campaign in real life. But instead of answering questions in pizzerias and veterans’ lounges, they operate more like a giant Zoom call, technical difficulties and all. And unlike televised town halls with news networks, it’s the creators who vet the questions and moderate the conversation, rather than the journalists.

Few of the creators have professional experience in politics, but they share a skepticism toward politicians and institutions. These virtual events are intended to challenge candidates like Kennedy and give “real people” the opportunity to hold a potential future president accountable before the election.

“The point of this is to have a conversation with politicians in a general setting where they come directly to us on our platforms, rather than being moderated by the mainstream media and leading questions being filtered and vetted before they speak.” , one of the creators. known as @cancelthisclothingcompany said on TikTok before Kennedy spoke.

Cianci, who used to own a toddler gym franchise in Maryland called Little Gym, met Kennedy after his campaign reached out to schedule a conversation with her about private equity last year. Kennedy’s campaign recorded her discussion and posted clips of it on social media. When Cianci and her fellow creators decided to start doing these town halls, she reached out to Kennedy’s team again for the first one.

Since Kennedy first announced his campaign last year, he has participated in countless podcasts that have allowed him to talk about his controversial views for hours without checking facts or disagreeing, while raising conspiracies. Despite the group’s plans to hold candidates to the fire, Kennedy’s troubling comments went unchallenged. Instead, the panelists agreed with much, if not all, of what he said.

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