Teens on social media are celebrating the success of an online prank to sabotage President Donald Trump’s rally, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where officials anticipated massive crowds, the New York Times reports.
Brad Parscale, the chairman of Trump’s re-election campaign, tweeted on Monday that more than one million ticket requests had been made for Saturday’s rally at the BOK Center, which has a 19,000-seat capacity, however; attendance turned out lower than anticipated.
Celebrating a not-so-full arena, teens on social media revealed how they pulled off the stunt.
According to the report, the trend quickly spread on TikTok, where multiple videos of users encouraging each other to register for the rally and intentionally not show up reached millions of views.
“It spread mostly through Alt TikTok — we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” YouTuber Elijah Daniel, who participated in the campaign, told the Times. “K-pop, Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”
According to the Times, many users deleted their posts about the stunt after 24-48 hours in order to conceal their plan to deprive Trump of a packed arena.
“The majority of people who made them deleted them after the first day because we didn’t want the Trump campaign to catch wind,” Daniel said. “These kids are smart, and they thought of everything.”
According to the Times, TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Trump’s rally.
TikTok user Mary Jo Laupp, who worked on several rallies for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for president, says she believes that at least 17,000 tickets were accounted for based on comments she received on her videos, according to the Times.
“There are teenagers in this country who participated in this little no-show protest, who believe that they can have an impact in their country in the political system even though they’re not old enough to vote right now,” Laupp said.
According to the Times, Twitter users were quick to declare their victory after seeing the crowd size.
“The teens of America have struck a savage blow against @realDonaldTrump,” Steve Schmidt, a longtime Republican strategist, tweeted.
This is what happened tonight. I’m dead serious when I say this. The teens of America have struck a savage blow against @realDonaldTrump. All across America teens ordered tickets to this event. The fools on the campaign bragged about a million tickets. lol. @ProjectLincoln.— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) June 20, 2020
“Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted in response to Parscale, who claims that “radical protestors” had “interfered” with attendance.
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— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud. ☺️ https://t.co/jGrp5bSZ9T