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Benny Johnson faced widespread backlash on Twitter after claiming that Native American reservations were an example of socialism “failing” in action in the United States.
Dear Socialists,— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 15, 2019
Do you want socialism in America?
We already have it.
Just travel to an Indian Reservation.
You will see the realities of complete & total government dependence.
Go. I dare you.
We did @TPUSA pic.twitter.com/vytDYnKEKd
Johnson said reservations were an example of “complete & total government dependence” in a tweet which was accompanied by a video before tagging Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)—a self-described democratic socialist.
Johnson, a former reporter for the Daily Caller, now works as chief creative officer for the pro-Trump, conservative student organization Talking Points USA.
The highly partisan and outright inaccurate take was quickly corrected by users who slammed Johnson for his dismissal of Native American genocide.
Reservations aren't socialist experiments, they are former concentration camps. It's because of capitalism and everything else that supported or was spawned from settler-colonialism that 96% of our lands in the "US" are occupied...— SaltyLilOjibwe (@SaltyLilOjibwe) March 17, 2019
It's pretty clear neither of you has ever been to a reservation.— weyodi will be distracted until April 15 (@weyodi) March 17, 2019
*murders indigenous populations to steal their land*— Zelnut (@catcherinthesty) March 19, 2019
*breaks every treaty we ever made with them*
"-understand why -"
*kidnaps their children for reeducation*
"-the reservations -"
*builds pipeline that leaks and contaminate their water*
*-would do this to themselves!"
Nobody checked the history of North American tribespeople? The government didn’t subsidize them as much as murdered millions of them, shunned the rest from white society, downsized them, stole the best land, and when minerals were needed the gov. stole & poisoned more land.— Edward T. Babinski (@edwardtbabinski) March 15, 2019
Some Twitter users questioned the authenticity of the video shared with the tweet, which featured an unnamed woman who identifies herself as a Native American.
And the woman in the video is a #pretendian. She’s as Native as Elizabeth Warren.— SoutheastNative (@SoutheastNative) March 17, 2019
The person in this vid @MikaelaPaw aka Mikaela Lyrea Martinez Verstraete is a fake. She’s not affiliated w/ any tribe, no Native person has heard of her until just recently, her parents identify as Hispanic pastors. She’s a token pawn for right wing groups https://t.co/Zp4ncBGyKS— heatherfeather (@heather28df) March 17, 2019
Others, seemingly aware of Johnson’s career history, were unsurprised at such a take
hey buzzfeed boy what's it like being one of the genuinely stupidest people to ever draw breath on the planet— Goth Ms. Frizzle (@spookperson) March 19, 2019
Johnson first gained notoriety in 2014 after being fired by BuzzFeed after being accused of multiple instances of plagiarism. He then established himself on the right as a conservative social media personality, working at several publications before landing his current role at Turning Point USA.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.