When hackers accessed the accounts of the Daily Wire’s most virulently anti-trans figurehead, Matt Walsh, the CEO of the right-wing media site told the world what would happen if they found and released something offensive.
“What scandalous information will the hackers find in Matt’s email? I do not know. I’m sure I said things in my twenties that I wouldn’t feel great having aired publicly. What will The Daily Wire’s response be to things 20-year-old Matt may have said? LOL,” tweeted Jeremy Boreing.
But if past statements of Walsh getting attention are any indication, it won’t be an “LOL.” Instead, it will be a six-figure ad spend to let people know they shouldn’t care.
Last October, the Daily Wire kicked off a Facebook campaign costing between $80,000 and $90,000, portraying right-wing commentator Matt Walsh as a victim of “cancel culture.”
And what were people online clamoring to cancel Walsh over that necessitated the spend? Things said in his twenties like that 17-year-old girls have an “internal need to breed” and laws making them wait until they’re 18 is “a problem.”
Titled “No one cancels Matt Walsh,” the ads amassed millions of impressions and have been renewed as recently as May 1. While they defend Walsh, they’re also soliciting new subscriptions by urging potential customers to “stand up for free speech” and show their support by becoming DailyWire+ members.
The identical ads contain a brief video, in which several of Walsh’s coworkers praise him for “doing God’s work” by targeting doctors and hospitals that provide gender-affirming care for trans youth and come to his defense by brushing off questionable and disturbing comments he made about underage girls in the past.
In the clip, Candace Owens, Michael Knowles, Andrew Klavan, Brett Cooper, and Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro all claim that “the left” is “going after Matt” by unearthing audio of Walsh “speaking about teenage pregnancy” in order to discredit him “because he is the only person successfully exposing their transgender madness.”
“Here’s the hit piece,” the video begins, with Knowles holding a printout of a story about Walsh’s old comments. “They unearthed Matt Walsh speaking about teenage pregnancy,” says Owens. “They found their kill shot against me,” Walsh says, which he adds is an attempt to defame him.
The comments the group is referring to are from a segment of Walsh’s old radio show in 2011. They resurfaced last year in early October, right before the Daily Wire ads started.
In the audio, published by Media Matters, Walsh suggests that teenage pregnancy is normal and girls under 18 are not too young to start a family, claiming that 16- and 17-year-old girls are the “most fertile.”
He also asserts that 16-year-olds should be considered adults because they are apparently old enough to make their own decisions.
The video then cuts to Walsh, who pleads his case by touting his work and suggesting that the left is trying to cancel him by weaponizing his own words against him. “They’re convinced they’ve found the kill shot against me by using the same method they always use: to find things that were done and said years ago, which can be used to defame and—they hope—silence me,” he says.
Overall, the clip works very hard to convince viewers that Walsh’s view of teenage girls and underage pregnancy isn’t a big deal. On the contrary, they’re apparently reason enough to subscribe.
When the ad is clicked, Facebook users are directed to a page that invites them to “join Matt Walsh and fight back” by subscribing to the Daily Wire for $12 to $14 per month.
As a columnist and podcast host for the Daily Wire, Walsh uses his platform to spread his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, basking in the claims that he’s a transphobe. Most recently, he went after trans TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney for collaborating with Bud Light, leading a boycott against the beer company and launching an increasingly hostile campaign against Mulvaney.
In the wake of a rising backlash against Walsh—and his other Daily Wire colleagues, who are on a campaign to eradicate “transgenderism”—YouTube stripped his channel of ad revenue for violating the platform’s community guidelines and advertising policies, which Boreing announced on Twitter on April 19.
A YouTube spokesperson confirmed this in a statement to Media Matters.
Boreing’s announcement came in the days after Walsh’s Twitter account, email, and phone were hacked
The hacker, in an interview with WIRED, said he has access to all of Walsh’s personal information, including his texts, emails, and direct messages. The hacker did not share any of that with the public.
In response, Boreing’ noted that the hacker might leak Walsh’s emails and reiterated that the Daily Wire doesn’t care about Walsh’s past statements. Unless it’s an opportunity to fundraise.
Which was also the case for Walsh’s demonetization on YouTube. The Daily Wire recently spent an additional $20,000 to $25,000 on new ads promoting a recent article that discusses the YouTube decision, claiming “the left led a coordinated attack” against Walsh.
The article includes quotes from Boreing about the so-called “cancel blitz” against his employees. In total, the Daily Wire has spent a minimum of $100,000 on these Facebook ads.
While it is still unknown how many subscribers have been gained as a result, the Daily Wire clearly believes someone’s old comments aren’t just an “LOL” to be brushed off, but a chance to make money.