The massive online protest was reportedly orchestrated by teen users and Korean pop music superfans.
Teenage TikTok users and K-pop fans joined forces to reserve tickets to Donald Trump’s Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 6,200 people attended the event at the BOK Center which has 19,200 seats, reports Forbes.
According to a New York Times report, it all began when the Trump campaign announced supporters of the president could use their phones to register for free tickets on TikTok. K-pop fans then spread this information and urged users to sign up and not show up.
User Mary Jo Laupp reportedly was instrumental in the lack of attendance at the rally. In a TikTok video posted last week, she shared, “All of those of us that want to see this 19,000 seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty go reserve tickets now and leave him standing alone there on the stage.” The video has been liked over 707,000 times and viewed over 2 million times.
YouTuber Elijah Daniel who also participated shared with the New York Times that the protest worked quickly since it targeted a specific corner of TikTok. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly,” he said. “They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”
The protest videos were viewed millions of times and then deleted by the TikTok users within 24 to 48 hours. By deleting, the protest seemingly happened secretly. Daniel added, “The majority of people who made them deleted them after the first day because we didn’t want the Trump campaign to catch wind.”
On Saturday, Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted “radical protestors” and “apoplectic media coverage” led to the low turnout at the rally. Yet, news outlets including CNN from the event showed something different, there were peaceful protesters surrounding the stadium. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, medical experts warned a major indoor event could lead to a spike in case numbers.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted the following in response to Parscale, “Actually, you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID.”
Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID
Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud. ☺️ https://t.co/jGrp5bSZ9T
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
The same night users took to Twitter to share they’d been successful in derailing the rally. The protest proved the power of young TikTok users and K-pop stans. Earlier this month Korean pop music fans proved their social media influence when they reacted aggressively to the #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag. This began trending after the death of George Floyd, in response the fans flooded Twitter with images, GIFS, and memes, per The Verge.
Take a look at tweets from users below who supported the monumental protest.
My 16 year old son just told me he knows a bunch of KPop Stan’s who were getting tickets to the Trump Rally. He said he didn’t do it because Trump isn’t even worth a fake ticket
— Lynn V (@lynnv378) June 21, 2020
People were saying the democrats would need Bernie Bros in the online fight against Trump supporters but it turns out KPop fans were the heroes the world needed.
— M’BlockU (@rodimusprime) June 21, 2020
In 2016, Trump had Russia on his side.
It made a huge difference.
In 2020, Biden has Kpop stans and TikTok Zoomers in his corner.
Trump, Parscale, Russia & the “Silent Majority” have nothing on these GEN Z teen-titans!#EveryonesLaughingAtYouDonald
— Mrs. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) June 21, 2020
Best thing about the TikTok & Kpop fans reserving tickets is that it actually didn’t block anyone from attending, the tickets don’t reserve seats. That small crowd was legit. They just blew up Trump’s expectations and killed their data haul. #tiktokteens #Emptyseats
— Caitlin Bennett (@caitlinfxbg) June 21, 2020
i just want my fellow gen-z’ers to know we deadass pranked the president and if that isn’t a sign that we can do anything then i don’t know what is #tiktokteens
— mahi kaur (@mahi_kaurr) June 21, 2020
Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind @robyn_mowatt.