The alleged perpetrator of the terrorist attack on two New Zealand mosques in which 49 people were killed and over 40 more injured, has cited conservative activist Candace Owens as the inspiration for the shooting.
Owens, a right-wing media personality and prominent Trump supporter was cited by 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, who posted a 74-page manifesto online before allegedly carrying out the shooting.
In it he cites Owens as the person who inspired him the most to commit acts of violence. Tarrant wrote that he was “stunned” by Owens’ insights and claimed her views “helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness”.
“Though I will have to disavow some of her beliefs, the extreme actions she calls for are too much, even for my tastes,” he writes.
Owens was quick to dismiss the ‘praise’, posting “LOL! FACT: I’ve never created any content espousing my views on the 2 Amendment or Islam.” Her use of LOL and a laughing emoji was criticized as being too glib a response for such a tragedy.
As a Twitter backlash ensued, Owens continued to defend herself against “racist Leftists,” before releasing a statement that called the attack a “tragedy” and distanced herself from the “absurd” connection.
“Any insinuation that black conservatism in the United States has somehow inspired radical Islamophobic white supremacy terror overseas is pointedly absurd.”