Meryl Streep's emotional Golden Globes speech was a mic drop on the nightmare that was 2016 and a heartfelt call to action to the creative community. While many applauded Meryl's brutal honesty, she also faced backlash from some conservatives. Then-President-elect Donald Trump personally tweeted a response, for example.
Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a.....- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
Among those sending criticism Meryl's way was Tomi Lahren, a 24-year-old conservative political commentator.
Meryl bout to get some "final thoughts" tomorrow. These entitled Hollywood crybabies still don't understand how out of touch they are!- Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) January 9, 2017
These Hollywood elites wouldn't know average, every day hard-working Americans if we bit them in the ass. #GoldenGlobes- Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) January 9, 2017
This isn't new for her. Lahren is considered a rising star in conservative commentary and often makes waves for her controversial comments. Here's what you need to know about her.
1. She got her own political talk show just before she turned 22.
After graduating from the University of Nevada in 2014, Lahren went in search of an internship (like a lot of fresh-out-of-college people do). A quick Google search for "conservative news outlets" led Lahren to One America News Network. During her interview, Lahren so impressed OANN CEO Robert Herring that he offered her a show of her own.
“[Robert Herring] asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I would literally 'do whatever.' I just wanted the opportunity," Lahren explained to the Rapid City Journal. "He looked at me and said, 'How about your own show.' My jaw dropped. I was stunned. I just wanted an internship. He gave me a show.” That show, On Point With Tomi Lahren, premiered on One America News Network in August 2014 - three days before Lahren's 22nd birthday.
"On Point with Tomi Lahren" debuts tonight on One America News! Don't miss it! 9pmPST 12pm EST! Catch it again tomorrow and Sunday as well!- Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) August 8, 2014
2. Her take on the Chattanooga shootings launched her to fame.
In July 2015, a gunman opened fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, resulting in the deaths of four Marines and one Navy sailor. Lahren responded to the tragedy in her popular Final Thoughts segment, with a rant against President Barack Obama that quickly went viral, launching her to internet fame.
By August 2015, she had completed her last show with OANN and teased "something new" to fans on Twitter. That "something new" was her new job - in October 2015, she premiered her current nightly talk show, Tomi, on Glenn Beck's network The Blaze.
I’ve completed my last show at OANN, and I am profoundly grateful for their support over the last year. Something new is coming...#TeamTomi- Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) August 19, 2015
3. She used to intern for a member of Congress.
Before going into political commentary, Lahren interned for Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem. She says that experience cemented her passion for politics but also taught her that she didn't want to be a politician herself.
“I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to give voice to what our representatives do on a daily basis,” she told the Rapid City Journal.
4. She was an unofficial adviser during Trump's campaign.
According the New York Times, Lahren has said she'd contributed to the Trump campaign as an unofficial adviser to the social media team. She also appeared in Facebook Live broadcasts for the campaign leading up to the election.
5. Her appearance on The Daily Show generated a lot of buzz.
In November, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah interviewed Lahren about her role as a voice for young conservatives. Noah encouraged his liberal-leaning audience to be polite to Lahren during her appearance but he didn't pull punches.
Though the audience did boo and laugh at her at times during the interview, Lahren didn't seem bothered. After the interview, she said, "There were some people in the audience that were just there to razz me."
6. She's even come for Beyoncé.
After Beyoncé's widely acclaimed Super Bowl halftime performance, Lahren dedicated her controversial and popular Final Thoughts segment to an extended criticism of everything from Bey's performance to the Black Lives Matter movement. She also included a personal jab at Jay Z, just for good measure.
In December, she again railed against Beyoncé and the Black Lives Matter movement in a response MTV's "2017 Resolutions for White Guys" video. “Apparently, white males are no longer allowed to say ‘all lives matter' or ‘blue lives matter' or ‘woke' because a group of snowflakes on MTV say so,” she said during the segment. “Nah, I don’t think so. Let me help you all out, because you clearly don’t get it. And since I’m a white female, I guess your crap doesn’t fully apply to me anyway.”
7. She's been called a racist but has denounced the "alt-right."
Although she's been called "White Power Barbie," Lahren has made public statements denouncing some of the more radical conservative groups and ideologies. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Lahren condemned the racist "alt-right" movement, calling it “disgusting,” and claiming that she would never be “an advocate, a cheerleader or an apologist for the K.K.K. or any other hate group.”
She's also hung out with radio host Charlamagne Tha God (and had him on her show to debate the Beyoncé Super Bowl halftime performance). Though the two of them agreed on almost nothing, they both stressed how important it was that they have a conversation at all.
8. When tweets from her college days resurfaced, her response went viral.
In January, Lahren's tweets from when she was in college resurfaced and started to go viral. They referenced alcohol, the song "Pop That Pussy," and complaints about getting a job during her summer vacation. “I drank beer when I was 21, oh my gosh. I took shots when I was 21, oh my gosh," she said in a Facebook Live video. "And I had fun in college, because, guess what, I’m a human being. I still do that and I’m 24, so if you needed to humanize me, I guess there’s your opportunity.”
9. Trump called her to thank her.
On Feb. 7, Lahren appeared on Fox News where she discussed her support for President Trump during the general election. Everyday Americans "gravitated" toward him, Lahren told Fox News's Sean Hannity. “He’s running against the Democratic party and, in some ways, the Republican party as well. And he won," she said.
Trump reportedly watched the segment live and then picked up the phone. “He called and said, ‘Thank you for your fair coverage of me,’” Lahren told The Washingtonian magazine. They spoke for about 10 to 15 minutes, during which time Trump "was asking about me personally," according to Lahren, who wouldn't say what exactly he asked.
10. She's pro-choice.
During a March 17 appearance on The View, Lahren said she supported abortion rights, which surprised many people on the panel. But she said that her conservative viewpoint actually was what contributed to her stance on abortion. "I’m someone that’s for limited government," she said. "So I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies."
As a result of this proclamation, Lahren received a flood of backlash from her conservative fans and her show on The Blaze was suspended. The host then took to Twitter to address the news in a mostly cryptic fashion - but according to CNNMoney, was not allowed to offer an official statement.
No one hunts small deer 🦌 this too shall pass. #mondaymotivation- Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 20, 2017
"When people praise you, don't let it go to your head. When people criticize you, don't let it go to your heart." #mondaymotivation- Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 20, 2017
So I've got some "me" time tonight. Anything good on TV? 😂 #TeamTomi- Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 20, 2017
11. She sued The Blaze and its founder Glenn Beck.
On April 7, Lahren filed a lawsuit against The Blaze and Glenn Beck, claiming the company retaliated against her by wrongfully terminating her contract after she expressed her stance on The View. She also claimed they tried to block her from reaching her 4.2 million followers on Facebook and alleged that Blaze employees put a yellow X on her office and dressing room door and “embarked on a public smear campaign” against her, according to the Washington Post.
Lay down and play dead really isn't my style. #FinalThoughts- Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) April 7, 2017
On April 17, The Blaze countersued Lahren, claiming she was never actually fired, and was still being paid through her suspension. They claim the suspension was not simply because of her pro-choice comments, however. “Her comments were shocking and disappointing because they demonstrated Lahren was uninformed and unprepared to speak on those issues," the lawsuit reads. "In addition, her comments were inconsistent with positions she had previously expressed.” The suit claims Lahren once called pro-choice people "straight-up baby killers," and offended the site's readers by calling them "hypocrites."
The Blaze's countersuit also claims her suspension was partly due to what they call inappropriate office behavior, including complaining about on-set conditions and refusing to work with one makeup artist. They insist she still has access to her Facebook post, but maintain they own and operate it, and say they had no plans to extend her contract when it ends in September.
On May 1, Lahren settled her suit with The Blaze and Glenn Beck, according to the Dallas Morning News. As part of the settlement, Lahren will be freed from her contract and allowed to keep the Facebook page The Blaze created for her. Her lawyer, Brian Lauten, says Lahren will return The Blaze's "intellectual property” that’s been posted to the page, which has gained 4.3 million followers.
12. She is now working with a pro-Trump advocacy group.
After settling the suit with The Blaze and Glenn Beck, Lahren took on a part-time communications position with Great America Alliance, an offshoot of a pro-Trump super PAC, according to the Washington Post. As of May 22, she will be the senior adviser for communications, though she says her next full-time gig will be on TV as a commentator, according to Dallas News.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani chair the Great America Alliance, which raised $30 million to support Trump in 2016.
Correction 1/12: Per her tweet, this post has been updated to reflect that Lahren's first show aired when she was 21, not 22.
This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been updated.
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