Unorthodoxxed: US Right, Left clash on orthodox Jewish activist's 'doxxing'

In an April 19 article by Washington Post internet culture writer Taylor Lorenz, Chaya Raichik was outed as the person behind a series of social media accounts under the name "Libs of TikTok." 

TikTok (photo credit: UNSPLASH)
TikTok
(photo credit: UNSPLASH)

A formerly anonymous orthodox Jewish right-wing activist had her identity and personal information revealed in a Washington Post expose, leading to fierce debate in the US left and right-wing activism and journalism spheres over both her "doxxing" and the mention of her religious identity.

In an April 19 article by Washington Post internet culture writer Taylor Lorenz, Chaya Raichik was outed as the person behind a series of social media accounts under the banner "Libs of TikTok." 

Lorenz and her supporters characterize Libs of TikTok as a project that farms political outrage, especially against LGBTQ+ people, by posting videos with incendiary framing. 

Washington Post Tech reporter Drew Harwell called Libs of TikTok "a giant right-wing outrage account saying LGBTQ teachers groom children," adding that it is "directly influencing Republican policy."

"I still haven't seen an argument, even in bad faith, about why we should not know the name of a person who boasts about getting random teachers fired, appears on one of the highest-rated cable shows, and has the attention of prominent politicos," Tweeted NBC reporter Tyler Kingkade.

 TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021.  (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC) TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

However, Riachik's fans and supporters claim that all she does is curate and repost content that highlights American left-wing extremism and policies.

Ben Shapiro, Right-wing pundit and Editor Emeritus of Daily Wire, described Libs of TikTok as "a Twitter account that literally just posts Leftists owning themselves."

"The question Libs of TikTok often raises — And the Left wants to ignore — Is do parents have a right to know what their children are being taught in their public school, or not?" tweeted Donald Trump Jr. "No Taylor Lorenz hit piece can change the fact that America’s parents are with us, not the groomers."

In an addition to publishing her name, Lorenz's article detailed Raichik's work history, where she had lived, and how the writer visited her family home. According to Lorenz's detractors, this was an example of "doxxing" — revealing and spreading private information of a person on the internet. 

"This isn’t journalism. This is doxxing and smearing of Libs of TikTok by the billionaire-controlled Bezos Post," tweeted right-wing political activist Jack Posobiec.

"Taylor Lorenz is an accomplished and diligent journalist whose reporting methods comport entirely with The Washington Post's professional standards," Washington Post senior managing editor Cameron Barr said in an official statement. " Chaya Raichik, in her management of the Libs of TikTok Twitter account and in media interviews, has had a significant impact on public discourse and her identity had become public knowledge on social media. We did not publish or link to any details about her personal life. "

"Lies," Raichik responded to the statement, "They included a link with personal information which they later removed because they knew what they were doing was abhorrent." 

"All the info in the Libs of TikTok piece was already publicly available online," journalist Matt Binder argued.

Lorenz's critics charged that the journalist was acting hypocritically by revealing personal information that could lead to online harassment — Lorenz had recently shared her own experience with such online engagement.

"I have severe PTSD," Lorenz said of her experience with online harassment in an MSNBC interview. "You feel like any little piece of information that gets out on you will be used by the worst people on the internet to destroy your life."

In a tweet, Lorenz had complained that her "whole family was doxxed again this morning...trolls have now moved on to doxxing and stalking any random friends I've tagged on Instagram." 

Critics were also quick to point out that the article had made special mention of Raichik's religious identity as an Orthodox Jew, the focus on which angered Jewish activists and commentators.

"Why was it crucial for Taylor Lorenz to mention the creator of ‘Libs of TikTok’ was an Orthodox Jew?" said NGO StopAntisemitism, which also said in another tweet that "When a Jewish individual does something positive, the media never mentions they’re [sic] Judaism. When a Jewish individual does something negative, the media almost always mentions their Judaism."

"Why do I have a feeling that if Libs of TikTok was religious in any other form that wasn’t Orthodox Jewish it wouldn’t have made it into her piece," wrote Jewcy Magazine editor Isaac de Castro. 

Libs of Tiktok, which has over 912,000 followers has responded to the doxxing by opening a subscription on Substack. Lorenz has stood by her article, and stressed its importance in several tweets.

"They think doxxing me is going to intimidate me into silence, tweeted Raichik. "I can assure you, that’s never going to happen."