Oklahoma Superintendent Ryan Walters releases statement on Nex Benedict's death and states on X 'I won’t back down to woke mobs.'


Oklahoma Ryan Walters says ‘despicable’ media ‘lied’ about death of Nex Benedict in first comments

Walters also called the death a tragedy.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Feb 26, 2024

Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s Superintendent of Public Instructions, posted a video condemning “radical left-wing groups and the media” for attacking him in the wake of Nex Benedict’s death. He also called Benedict’s death “a tragedy” and says he’s praying for their family.

“Oklahoma, I will never back down to the woke mob,” Walters said in the video, which he posted on X yesterday. “We will not allow leftist radicals and left-wing media to push an agenda that is anti-American.”

Walters’ video marked the first time that he addressed Benedict’s death publicly. Last week, Walters was criticized by many over Benedict’s death, as people noted he disseminated transphobic rhetoric in his role as Oklahoma’s top school official.

Benedict was a non-binary, Oklahoma High School student. They died on Feb. 8, a day after getting in a fight at Owasso High School. Owasso Police have said that Benedict’s death was not caused by head trauma, but Benedict’s family is pursuing an independent autopsy.

Over the weekend, the Owasso Police Department released bodycam footage on YouTube showing Benedict in the hospital after what Benedict described as “getting jumped” at school. Some have interpreted the footage as proof Benedict was not severely injured by the physical altercation, while others focused on Benedict’s mother’s description of the attack shown in the footage as proof the attack could have caused Benedict’s death.

Walters called out what he said were lies by the media over the death.

“Unconscionably, radical left-wing groups and the media have lied about the death of the student and have intentionally lied to push an agenda that was politically motivated to attack me and conservatives in the state of Oklahoma … The media has lied locally and nationally … It is despicable,” he added.

Walters has also been under fire for his ties to a prominent right-wing influencer in the wake of Benedict’s death.

Last month, Walters appointed Chaya Raichik to the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Library Media Advisory Committee. Raichik, who runs the Libs of TikTok account, was accused, alongside Walters, of indirectly causing Benedict’s death through her own transphobic rhetoric, which she vehemently denied on X.

Walters did not address his Libs of TikTok ties in his video.

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*First Published: Feb 26, 2024, 1:44 pm CST