TPUSA Turns Away Anti-Semitic Activist Because of ‘Optics’

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Bryan Sharpe, who brands himself “Hotep Jesus” online, was turned away from a Turning Point USA conference for young black conservatives in Washington, D.C., yesterday. At the event, he was told that people wanted him to attend the event but that Turning Point USA leadership was concerned how Sharpe’s track record of anti-Semitism would play with reporters covering the conference.

Right Wing Watch was first to report on Sharpe’s anti-Semitic rhetoric and affiliations with the “alt-right” movement after he ascended into the conservative media spotlight briefly in April.  In July, The Daily Beast reported that Turning Point USA was courting Sharpe, including him in meetings and inviting him to a retreat for “black influencers.”

But yesterday, it appeared that Turning Point USA leaders’ coziness with Sharpe had eroded. Sharpe said he had been banned from attending Turning Point USA events. At Turning Point USA’s Young Black Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., this week, a man who identified himself as Taylor (no last name) is seen on a video posted on Sharpe’s “Hotep Jesus” feed, explaining to Sharpe why he was turned away at the event. The video appears to have been recorded surreptitiously.

“The reason they didn’t want you to come to the event was the optics of the anti-Semitic rhetoric,” Taylor said. “And one of the reasons was because they didn’t want there to be an additional attack on you by the media because every media outlet was covering this event. And so you being here is going to cause them to try to focus on you and attack you over anti-Semitic rhetoric, given the fact that our organization is pretty much pro-Jewish.”

Taylor went on to explain to Sharpe that he had been turned away because Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk was concerned about how reporters would perceive Sharpe’s presence and the effect it could have with donors.

Conference organizers landed a big “get” for their event, one that guaranteed attention. Donald J. Trump, Jr., delivered a keynote speech.

“The media was here. CNN, everybody was here for [Donald Trump Jr.] and so that was the problem,” Taylor said. “Personally, none of us have a problem with you. We want you here. It’s the optics, the media. … It ain’t a big deal with you being here, in my opinion. It’s the administrative, donor-based type stuff that is what’s making people make decisions.”

Turning Point USA has faced numerous instances of hiring and courting young people with extremist beliefs.