Kentucky GOP House candidate alleged to have shared antisemitic messages

A Republican Kentucky House of Representatives candidate has been accused of making antisemitic remarks, insinuating that Jewish people promote “white genocide” in a private Facebook chat from 2017.

In a Wednesday article posted on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website, TJ Roberts, a 26-year-old attorney now running for House District 66, reportedly said in Facebook messages he was “sick of them promoting white genocide,” in a reference to Jewish people.

“White genocide” is the unfounded, racist conspiracy theory that there is a deliberate plot to make white people extinct. The alleged plot is often blamed on Jewish people.

Roberts, in a Wednesday afternoon statement to the Herald-Leader, said he recalls the context of the conversation, and that he “never said that Jews promote white genocide.” He also said the Southern Poverty Law Center is notorious for “deliberate misrepresentations.”

“(The story) is littered with inaccuracies, fabrications, and outright lies. I have fought for liberty and justice for all, and I intend to continue this fight. The (Southern Poverty Law Center) has nothing to do with the South, poverty, or law besides their lawfare against conservatives and supporters of President Trump,” Roberts said.

Founded in 1971 in Montgomery, Alabama, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a civil rights and litigation group known best for its legal work against such racist groups as the Ku Klux Klan.

The report was published by Hatewatch, a branch of the Southern Poverty Law Center dedicated to reporting on hate groups in America. The story said messages were provided to Hatewatch by a user who was using antisemitic rhetoric themselves.

According to Hatewatch, the conversation between Roberts and the user was initiated over a post that Roberts, who was a moderator of the “Liberty Hangout” Facebook group, removed so as not to get the group in trouble with Facebook.

Roberts also used three parentheses to refer to Jewish people, a tactic popular with antisemites at the time.

“I’m actually 25% (((them))) and am trying to not get (content removed) again,” Roberts said in response to the user, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center did not identify.

“I did not know that. Are you on (((their))) side,” the user asked.

“No,” Roberts replied. “I’m a religious Christian and quite frankly I’m sick of them promoting white genocide.”

This is not the first time Roberts has been the subject of controversy for his social media posts. In the wake of the May 24, 2022, Uvalde Elementary massacre where 19 children and two adults were killed by a gunman, he posted a widely criticized meme.

In it, a person asks, “How many children have to die before you support gun control?” An angel then flies in with a note that reads, “All of them.”

Roberts later apologized for the post.

The Kentucky Jewish Council said in a Wednesday statement they were “extremely concerned by reports of hateful antisemitic comments made on social media” by Roberts.

“Accusing the Jewish community of ‘White genocide’ is a shameful libel. Mr. Roberts should explain himself or apologize,” the group said.

In an X post late Wednesday night, Roberts said the story was coming to light now as part of “fake smear campaigns” against him.

“This shouldn’t even have to be said, but let me be clear: I reject white nationalism and antisemitism in all forms. I always have, because I love my neighbor,” he wrote. “The only reason these fake smear campaigns are happening now is because my attackers know, as a candidate for office, I cannot sue them into oblivion.”

Roberts was part of a 2020 lawsuit against Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear for COVID-19 restrictions. A court ordered Beshear to pay over $270,000 for Roberts’ legal fees in April 2023.

Roberts, a Burlington resident, has long been a player in certain circles of Kentucky Republican politics, particularly in his native Northern Kentucky.

Before running as a candidate himself, and before recently becoming an attorney, Roberts was a political operative working to support GOP campaigns and political groups around the commonwealth.

Roberts has received the strong support of U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, whose Fourth Congressional district is in Northern Kentucky.

Massie called Wednesday’s story a “flimsy political hit,” and promised to “double (his) support for TJ” in response.

Roberts also has the endorsement of former GOP presidential candidates in Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron Paul, as well as former gubernatorial candidate Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge.

Roberts is a first-time candidate for public office, running against former Republican state representative Ed Massey in the May 21 GOP primary.

Massey, a Northern Kentucky lawyer, was defeated by current Rep. Steve Rawlings, R-Union, in 2022’s primary. Rawlings is now seeking election to the Senate District 11 seat.

“Everyday my opponent proves to the voters of House District 66 why he isn’t fit for office. Since (Roberts) won’t acknowledge and apologize for his (hateful) comments, I will apologize on his behalf,” Massey said in a post on, formerly Twitter.