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Black gay Republican claims GOP lawmaker took part in racist & anti-gay heckling at right-wing event

Rob Smith, gay Black Republican
Rob Smith Photo: CSPAN screenshot

Rob Smith, the out Black conservative podcaster who claimed that a group of “white supremacists” taunted him with racist and homophobic slurs at a right-wing event last December, now says a Missouri Republican state congressman joined in on the heckling.

Over the weekend, Newsweek reported that Smith had sent the right-leaning outlet previously unreleased video of the December 17, 2023, encounter at a Phoenix, Arizona, bar during Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest. The footage appeared to show Missouri State Representative Chris Lonsdale (R) among the crowd surrounding Smith chanting “gay sex” and an anti-gay slur.   

On Monday, Smith posted the video on X. Lonsdale can clearly be seen at the beginning of the clip wearing a red tie and a distinctive plaid suit — which he also wears in a photo at the top of his own X profile. The majority of the video is shot from behind Lonsdale, but the Missouri Republican can be seen pointing at Smith and moving to the rhythm of the crowd’s chants.

“Also attending the Phoenix incident in which I was harassed by White Nationalists who screamed racist and homophobic slurs at me is @ChrisLonsdaleKC who is a Republican State Representative for Missouri District 38,” Smith wrote on X. “Does @MissouriGOP condone this behavior?”

Smith first posted about the encounter late last year. He wrote in a December 18 X post, “Last night in Phoenix, I was confronted and surrounded by some White Supremacists that don’t like gays or blacks in the Republican Party.”

“However, I served in Iraq,” he said, after detailing the slurs that were hurled at him. “I never back down. Ever.”

Video included in the post showed a group of young white men mocking Smith as he recorded a video of himself on his smartphone repeatedly saying, “I’ve got fans!” The men then started chanting, “Gay sex.” Smith replied, “Yes, [white nationalist broadcaster] Nick Fuentes loves gay sex.” The crowd then booed him. One man in the crowd can be heard saying, “No, he doesn’t,” before another led the group in chanting, “fa***t.” The group then started chanting, “America First.”

Neither the video Smith posted in December nor the one posted today includes the racial slur Smith said he was called.

According to Newsweek, Turning Point USA condemned the actions of the men in the Smith’s initial video, but noted that the confrontation occurred at a “separate bar/venue that is some distance from the convention center after the program had concluded for the day.”

“These people started yelling disgusting slurs at [Smith],” the far-right organization said in a statement. “He responded well and held his ground, but this should have never happened to Rob. What’s captured in the video posted by Rob is truly abhorrent, disgusting behavior and it’s unacceptable anyone should have to endure that type of treatment.”

Smith, a U.S. Army veteran and former contributor to LGBTQ Nation sibling site Queerty, “came out” as a conservative in 2018, telling The Daily Mail that he had switched to the Republican party.

On Monday, however, Smith announced that he had left the Republican party.

“The Neo-Nazis wanted me OUT of the Republican Party,” he wrote on X along with a preview of his new podcast Can’t Cancel Rob Smith. “Guess what? I’m GONE. And being Independent of all the BS feels SO GOOD.”

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