Daily Wire star, terminally online transphobe, and self-admitted fascist Matt Walsh has spent his days of late spewing vile nonsense about trans kids. But as we learned last fall, he also has plenty of other opinions—including that child rape victims should be denied abortion care, that 17-year-old girls have an “internal need to breed,” and that people shouldn’t have to wait until women are 18 to have sex with or marry them.
Well, as it turns out, shortly after Media Matters for America resurfaced the old audio of Walsh’s comments on teen pregnancy and his former tweets on child rape made the rounds, the Daily Dot reported Wednesday that Walsh’s employer paid for a significant Facebook ad blitz to downplay the comments.
Starting in October, the Daily Wire paid between $80,000 and $90,000 to push out a video ad in which Daily Wire talking heads including Candace Owens, Michael Knowles, and founder Ben Shapiro claim Walsh is a victim of “cancel culture” and that the left resurfaced his comments “speaking about teen pregnancy” only “because he is the only person successfully exposing their transgender madness.”
In the video, Knowles holds up a print-out of an article on Walsh’s teen pregnancy comments. “They unearthed Matt Walsh speaking about teenage pregnancy,” Owens says, to which Walsh replies, “They found their kill shot against me.” He then claims he’s a victim of defamation…for the resurfacing of his own words, and the ad calls on users to pay for a subscription to DailyWire+ to support free speech—namely, speech about teenage girls as baby-making machines who should legally be sexually accessible to adult men.
The Daily Dot notes that the ad campaign was renewed as recently as Monday. And after YouTube confirmed last month that Walsh’s violation of the platform’s policies by advocating for the “eradication of transgenderism” meant he could no longer receive ad revenue from his videos, the Daily Wire spent $20,000 to $25,000 on an ad campaign to promote an article claiming Walsh was being “canceled” by YouTube.
Last month, Walsh was memorably hacked by an anonymous user who revealed they’d gained access to all of Walsh’s personal accounts and communications. Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing (hilarious last name) offered a fairly blasé response to the notion that Walsh’s old communications might be released: “What scandalous information will the hackers find in Matt’s email? I do not know. I’m sure I said things in my twenties that I wouldn’t feel great having aired publicly. What will The Daily Wire’s response be to things 20-year-old Matt may have said?” he wrote in a tweet, adding an “LOL” to the end for good measure.
As it turns out, the company has found Walsh’s prior comments on child rape and teen pregnancy problematic or threatening enough to the company’s brand to spend north of $100,000 to downplay them. This isn’t the first time the right-wing media company has thrown cash to manipulate a narrative—last year, Vice reported that the company spent between $35,000 and $47,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads pushing sexist disinformation about Amber Heard amid her defamation trial with Johnny Depp.
As for the Daily Wire’s ads in defense of Walsh, specifically, I can understand why the company would try to brush them off: There’s a twisted irony to Walsh, who’s staked his career around baselessly framing queer and trans people as groomers and child sexual predators, romanticizing teen pregnancy, arguing to lower the age of consent for teen girls, and advocating for child marriage.
His comments about why child rape and incest victims should be denied abortions similarly make his claims to oppose trans health care to “protect” kids even more ridiculous. In 2019, he wrote: “If a 12 year old is raped by her father and the father takes her to get an abortion, the evidence of the crime will be destroyed and he will go on molesting his victim for years. If however the child is born, his crime will be discovered and she will be rescued from the abuse.”
All told, I can see why the Daily Wire felt the need to shell out the cash to defend this nastiness.