Candace Owens is once again attempting to falsely link a tragedy to transgender people. In her Thursday night appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, the far-right media personality characterized acceptance of trans people as “celebrating mental illness.”
Owens joined the Fox News host ostensibly to discuss criminal justice reform in the wake of a recent deadly shooting spree in Memphis, which left four dead. Authorities arrested teenager Ezekiel Kelly early Thursday in connection with the crimes. Last year, the 19-year-old Kelly had been sentenced to three years in prison, but was released in March after serving 11 months.
“Obviously what we are seeing around us is, under the guise of compassion, we are letting violent criminals back on the streets, and people that are following the law and abiding the law— going out for a jog — are suffering because of it,” Owens said of Kelly’s release.
Get the Daily Brief
The news you care about, reported on by the people who care about you:
She also brought up the recent kidnapping and murder of Memphis kindergarten teacher Eliza Fletcher. Police have arrested 38-year-old Cleotha Henderson in connection with the crimes.
Owens blamed the crimes on “mental illness,” a now-standard right-wing talking point when discussing mass shootings and violent crimes.
“This is, by the way, the product of what we are seeing when we celebrate— in our culture — mental illness. That is what is happening. We have somehow gotten to a point in America where we are celebrating mental illness — in many different forms, by the way,” Owens said.
She then made the leap to equating transgender identity with mental illness: “It’s not just by trying to convince us that we should feel compassion towards criminals and yet feel that the real criminals are the patriots, a total inverted of reality. But it’s also the perverse element that is encouraging mental illness, like telling men they can be women, telling women they can be men if they just mutilate their bodies.”
Earlier this year, Owens was one of many far-right figures who spread the false rumor that the gunman in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, was transgender. She has also used her platform to attack Dwayne Wade’s transgender daughter.