ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context : RightWingBlogMobsVsLeftWingAcademics

Right-wing website attacking left-wing academics :

by the LeadershipInstitute

An interesting Twitter thread appeared here :

It's now gone, but I captured it. (CategoryCopyrightRisk)

So, last Thursday a right-wing website published a story about me and another @BYU colleague.

Since then I have received many harassing emails/voicemails.

I have decided to make public those emails/voicemails in this thread. 🧵 /1

I am publicly sharing them because this type of harassment is a growing problem at universities (including @BYU) and I want people to see how ugly it is.


I am also sharing so that folks who read the hit piece from Campus Reform and want to call/email me know that whatever they send me will show up publicly in this thread. /3

Finally, I am sharing b/c a lot of folks who read that @NYTimes editorial have been talking about what it means to be “canceled” without any idea of the right-wing infrastructure that exists to surveil & harass professors. /4

First some background: about a month ago a colleague shared that she has been getting harassing emails b/c of an assignment of hers (w/ her name on it) that was shared w/out permission. /5

The assignment invited students to think about the concept of whiteness and was shared in the Instagram account of a group calling themselves BYU Conservatives.

The group is not an official university club. /6

First, it should be stated that the unauthorized posting of course materials is a clear violation of my colleague’s course policies, of university intellectual property policies, and of BYU’s Honor Code. /7

Here is the language from my colleague’s course syllabus prohibiting sharing her course materials:


Here is the language from the university intellectual property policy which states that all materials created in the scope of our job belong to the university:


Finally, here is the language from the Faculty Resources page on the Honor Code website that explicitly prohibits the posting of course materials to third party websites:


Besides the IP aspect, many profs include syllabus statements b/c a tactic of right-wing groups is to share class content w/out context to advance a narrative of radicalism on college campuses.

This invites threats like these calls to 'clean house' from online commenters.


In any case, the sharing of materials to 3rd party websites is clearly against the Honor Code so I reached out to the BYU Conservatives Insta to politely (but firmly) invite them to take down the course materials.

I did this in a public comment and through a DM.


I want to pause for a second and make clear that all of this (teaching about race/whiteness, encouraging students to follow the HC) is within the normal purview of a BYU professor’s job.

Here is the actual text of the Honor Code:


Broadly speaking, BYU profs are charged w/ teaching the concepts of their fields in the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

The unique religious identity/mission of the school is to nurture both intellect and faith. /14

This means that I teach academic concepts like the social construction of race/whiteness, histories of racial exclusion policies in schools/society, etc.

I teach about race/whiteness using the 1000’s of academic books and journal articles on these topics. /15

But being a BYU prof means that I also help students put concepts into conversation w/ their faith.

I invite them to consider the significance of whiteness in LDS scriptures and leader calls to root out racism, nationalism, and resist white supremacy. /16

In the best moments, my pedagogy seamlessly integrates these perspectives.

Like when I share historian Paul Reeve’s work about how 19th cent. Protestants saw Mormons as not fully white or human b/c of their unique religious beliefs.


Again, I have been teaching these concepts for nearly a decade (much of that time at BYU) and all of this is my normal job.

I have even given interviews about the topics like CRT and whiteness on @byuradio:


So anyway, I politely (but firmly) invited the BYU Conservative Insta to follow their Honor Code commitments and made it clear that I will be following up with the Honor Code office and the BYU Faculty Center if they do not. /19

Here is the text of both messages I sent to them.

Notice how I tell them that conservative views are an important part of society, but they should find a way to express them that doesn’t violate university policies.

It’s not that complicated. /20

The account initially took down the offending post and I thought that was it.

Then, they made a new post w/ my DM’s complaining about my invitation to follow the Honor Code.

I sent them a follow-up DM about it, but the assignment was no longer online so I let it go.


Then, over the next couple weeks I got two emails from a right-wing student org called Campus Reform.

I was informed that they were writing a story about me and creating a profile of me on their 'Professor Watchlist' /22

It was clear from the emails that the student admins of the BYU Conservatives Instagram decided to respond to my invitation to follow the Honor Code by sending my DM’s to a right-wing org dedicated to harassing professors. /23

Some additional background on Campus Reform is helpful.

CR is run by a right-wing student group called Turning Point USA and is dedicated to advancing the narrative that conservative students are marginalized on college campuses.


To advance this narrative, Campus Reform pays students $75-$100 to write stories about how 'radical professors' are oppressing conservative students.

The purpose is to generate harassment of professors and it is not subtle about it.

CR’s logo is literally a target.


Although Campus Reform is funded by billionaire conservative donors like the Koch family, each of its stories ends by soliciting donations/email addresses from its readers.

CR's goal is to surveil/harass professors and make money while doing it. /26

According to a 2021 AAUP analysis, the vast majority of Campus Reform stories are only about a handful of topics (race, gender, etc.) that seem likely to gin up anger amongst their readers. /27

But since topics like race/gender are more likely to be studied by BIPOC folks & women, it also means that these groups are also more likely to be targeted by Campus Reform just by virtue of their interests. /28

Campus Reform’s targeting is effective.

According to the @AAUP, 40% of profs who were targeted in a CR story received threats of harm.

Those who received threats were much more likely to change their behavior as a result. /29

In any case, a profile appeared of me on the Professor Watchlist including my tweets from over two years ago—including the radical idea that white supremacist kidnappers are bad. 🙄

Notice how my profile displays a button that leads to a donation page.

It's all about 💰 /30

But the real fun started when they published the hit piece in Campus Reform last Thursday.

I am going to share the hate mail I have gotten so far but first I want to share what I learned during this attempt to 'cancel' me and my colleague. /31

The first is that folks on the far right seem deeply resentful of having to abide by norms & policies that most people take for granted as a normal part of participating in organizations and in society. /32

All organizations (including universities!) have codes of conduct.

But some of these folks act like a BYU professor telling students to quit harassing a colleague & follow the Honor Code is some grievous assault on free speech. /33

And they know that they are bad actors.

Just like aD*zNat Twitter, the BYU Conservatives Insta is anonymous b/c they want to violate BYU policies & social norms w/ impunity.

In the CR story, they requested anonymity even as they invite harassment of me & my colleague


The second thing I have learned is that far-right entitlement to not have to follow basic norms/policies is mixed w/ a deep fear (for some) of getting 'canceled.'


And how do conservatives manage the fear of 'cancellation?'

Do they seek better ways to articulate the conservative worldview while staunchly defending the speech of all perspectives?


Haha. Nope!

They manage their fear of getting canceled by creating a 'Professor Watchlist' —something that sounds like it could have come out of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. 🇷🇺


It’s all projection.

Conservatives seem deeply afraid that someone will do to them what they are doing to others.

They express fear of their children being 'shamed for being white,' even as they pass laws banning black/brown history in schools.


It would be one thing if there were anything on the Left that resembled a 'Professor Watchlist' or the dozens of state-level bans of black/brown history, LGBTQ topics, trans kids in sports, etc.

It would at least be proportional.


But conservatives don’t just want freedom from cancellation, they also want freedom from even the fear of being condemned for their views.

It’s right there in the Campus Reform fundraising pitch at the bottom of their stories.


This idea of conservative entitlement to freedom from discomfort even shows up in the model language of state-level curriculum bans, like this one that showed up in Utah. /41

I am not saying that cancellation doesn’t exist on the Left (it does).

I am just saying that the type of cancellation is not remotely proportional b/c its impetus on the Right is a desire to be free from a fear as opposed to something real.


No actual Leftist bogeyman can compete with the imagined ones created by right-wing media, pundits, and politicians.

This is why conservatives are completely okay with generating this type of harassment of me and other professors.


This guy reached out over Instagram.

Apparently calling me a p****y is cool but inviting students to live BYU’s Honor Code is beyond the pale.

Again, the viciousness/entitlement is wild. /43

Some folks have also called my office phone.

This guy calls me 'Brother Bybee' before telling me I am 'worthless.' 🙃

Notice how seamlessly he integrates right-wing talking points w/ his religious beliefs (i.e. the 'world' invading BYU). /44

Here is another voicemail calling for my firing.

Notice how considering the concept of whiteness is framed as an attack. DiAngelo coined the term “white fragility” to describe this defensive response.

At least she ends by saying 'thanks.'

Uh, you’re welcome?


Here is another from a guy calling bullsh*t on me.

Uh, you got me? 🎯 /46

TBH, not a fan of randos emailing to quote scripture and prophesies at me. 😬 /47

Here is one from a guy who calls me a 'race pimp' (whatever that means) /48

Lol. /49

Here is one that calls me a disgusting human and a Marxist.

The automatic replies are my favorite part of this one. 😂 /50

This guy told me I was disgusting and then replied w/ an apology (that’s why I blurred his name).

He is the only one who has done this so far. /51

Sounds like a lovely human being. 🙄 /52

I think Art Gary needs to take a chill pill.

Can one of Art’s grandkids please go over to his house and take away his iPad?

Thanks! 🙏🏽 /53

So I felt a little bad profiling Art (it was a bit ageist) until he called my office phone. /54

Art called back and left another message calling me a 'f*cking coward.'

He leaves his number but I am going to ask folks not to call him.

Seriously—he sounds like he is having a tough time and needs some help. /55

I’m not positive, but this sounds like a right-wing YouTuber who has been harassing my @BYU colleagues for quite some time.

I don’t appreciate the reference to contacting my Bishop (ecclesiastical leader) /56

Anyway, I actually have real work to do so I am going to sign off for now.

On my prep schedule this week: several hours of teaching about Race & Whiteness. 😊

I may be back w/ more hatemail/voicemails (but I hope not).

Be kind to each other, folks. /57

An important clarification: /58

Okay, so I just realized that Campus Reform and the Professor Watchlist aren't run by the same organization (sorry, this is all new to me, folks).

This is actually worse b/c it means the BYU Conservatives reached out to TWO orgs to harass us rather one as I had assumed. /59