Candace Owens is a controversial political activist in the US. But this time her reputation has gained a new level of notoriety as the Christchurch attacker claims Owens inspired him to commit a massacre in New Zealand.
“The person who has influenced me above all is Candace Owens. Each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped me push further and further into the belief of violence over meekness,” Brenton Tarrant wrote in a “manifesto” he published on Facebook before committing a massacre against Muslims.
At least 49 people have been killed and over a dozen others were seriously injured after terror attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, said New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, terming it a 'terrorist attack'.
Police said they took three men and woman into custody after the incident, without specifying they detained but said none had been on any watchlist.
Tarrant who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for the attack.
And he pointed out Candace Owens as one of his main inspirations.
But who is Owens and how did she “inspire” a terror attack?
Who is Candace Owens?
Candace Owens is a popular 29-year-old American right-wing commentator with over 1.1 million followers on Twitter.
She has repeatedly drawn criticism over her controversial statements on politics.
Owens, an African-American political activist, is the founder of the Blexit movement that calls for all black people to stop supporting the Democratic Party in the United States.
She is one of the few prominent black figures to openly support President Donald Trump who has several times been described as “the most racist president in modern American history,” including by his party members.
Her Blexit movement’s biggest win to date has been through the support of rapper Kanye West, a self-proclaimed supporter of Trump and who has said he likes how Owens thinks,
Owens and West no longer share the same views after a dispute over a T-shirt design featuring a Blexit slogan.
Owens promoted the T-shirt as a Kanye West design, but West denied having anything to do with it.
“My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!,” West wrote in a tweet when he announced he wouldn’t be part of the political movement.
My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!— ye (@kanyewest) October 30, 2018
Her statements on nationalism are some the most discussed and recently she used Hitler in a metaphor.
“When we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. He was a national socialist. If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine,” Owens said last month.
Her statement drew condemnation, which forced her to apologise for using Hitler as “metaphor.”
Here is video of Candace Owens' full answer on nationalism and Hitler pic.twitter.com/NfBvoH8vQg— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) February 8, 2019
However, it wasn’t the first time Owens mentioned authoritarian dictators.
She has used Twitter to quote Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi who once said Europe would turn into a Muslim continent within decades giving the number of Muslims living there.
“We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe— without swords, without guns, without conquest—will turn it into a Muslim continent within decades” -Muammar Gaddafi, 1975— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) July 7, 2018
A Trump balloon won’t save the UK.
The number of Muslims living within Europe was also a key point in the 74-page manifesto of New Zealand shooter Brenton Tarrant.
“You [Muslims] can live in peace in your own lands, and may no harm come to you on the east side of the Bosphorus. But if you [Muslims] live attempt to live European lands, anywhere west of the Bosphorus, we will kill you and drive you roaches from our lands,” Tarrant wrote.
HAHA OMG you racist Leftists are taking your racism and crazy to a whole new level hahah.— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) March 15, 2019
“Black people don’t have to be Democrats” now means...mosque shootings in New Zealand?
This clearly won’t stick but damn if I won’t grow #BLEXIT highlighting your sheer desperation. 😂😂 https://t.co/4vM1aXleL4
Following the reports that Owens inspired him for his actions, she laughed and threatened legal action against media.