Only 6,000 Showed Up – How TikTok & K-Pop Humiliated Trump, Tricking His Campaign About 1 Million Tickets

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Jun 22 2020
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About a week before his supposedly first massive campaign rally after a three-month hiccup thanks to the Coronavirus shutdown, President Donald Trump brags how a jaw-dropping 1-million people have requested tickets to attend his event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, despite the venue seating just over 19,000. For Trump, a jam-packed MAGA rally was necessary to fire up his supporters.


As his approval rating drops like a rock for his mishandling of Covid-19 and mismanagement of police brutality protests and riots, Trump was hoping the rally would provide him an explosive start to his re-election campaign before November. The state had overwhelmingly voted for him in 2016, so there was no reason that the history won’t repeat again, Trump thought.


He proudly declared – “We have a 22,000-seat arena, but I think we’re going to also take the convention hall next door, and that’s going to hold 40,000 … We expect to have a record-setting crowd. We’ve never had an empty seat, and we certainly won’t in Oklahoma.” But when the big day finally came on Saturday (June 20), it was a huge failure.

Donald Trump Rally - Empty Seats at Bank of Oklahoma Arena

Just over 6,000 people reportedly showed up, leaving the U.S. president furious. At least one-third empty at the Bank of Oklahoma Arena during the rally. According to the Tulsa Fire Marshals’ Office, there were only 6,100 people in the arena. Other estimates put the number at 13,000. There were thousands of empty seats. A prepared outdoor “overflow” space had to be dismantled.


Trump and his campaign quickly blamed protesters outside the arena for scaring away prospective rally goers. Campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh blamed the “radical protesters, coupled with a relentless onslaught from the media,” who “attempted to frighten off the president’s supporters”, as the primary reasons for the low turnout.


Reporters, however, said they didn’t see large numbers of Trump supporters being turned away. There were also very few protests outside the venue. But several reports suggest that “TikTok” may have sabotaged the rally by reserving thousands of tickets they never planned to use, and encouraged their friends to do the same. It was a prank by teens to inflate the anticipated crowd size.

TikTok Protest Against Trump Rally - Mary Jo Laupp

The idea reportedly came from a 51-year-old Iowa woman named Mary Jo Laupp who posted a TikTok video on June 12 pointing out the cultural insensitivity of holding a political rally in Tulsa on a holiday known as Juneteenth. Trump was slammed for holding a rally on a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. (Trump eventually changed the event to June 20).


By the time Trump realised his mistake and changed the date of his rally to Saturday from Friday, it was too late. Ms. Laupp said in her video – “I recommend all of those of us that want to see this 19,000-seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty go reserve tickets now, and leave him standing there alone on the stage.” Her video has more than 2-million views and 700,000 likes.


Ms. Laupp said that many of the people who shared her video also encouraged people to procure the tickets with fake names and phone numbers. She said – “We all know the Trump campaign feeds on data, they are constantly mining these rallies for data. Feeding them false data was a bonus. The data they think they have, the data they are collecting from this rally, isn’t accurate.”

TikTok App

It was discovered that those who signed up for Trump’s rally had been bombarded with texts from the Trump campaign – and there was no way to stop it. Hence, TikTok users exchanged advice on how to acquire a Google Voice number or other internet-connected phone line to prevent the “spamming”. But Mary Jo Laupp was not the only one who used TikTok to screw up Trump campaign.


Enter Korean pop music fans or popularly known as K-pop. Fans of South Korean K-pop have been active in combating hashtags used by opponents of #BlackLivesMatter by spamming #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag on Twitter with endless K-pop videos. They have also raised money following the death of African-American George Floyd last month.


The K-pop fans, an unexpected ally of “Black Lives Matter” protesters, had similarly encouraged people to register for Trump’s Tulsa re-election rally, but with zero intention of showing up. That had misled Mr Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale into believing and claiming 1-million tickets had been requested for the event. Heck, even City officials expected  a crowd of at least 100,000 people.

K-Pop - South Korean Pop Music Fans - Black Lives Matter 

Still, while it’s obvious both TikTok users and K-pop fans were mobilised to reserve tickets for the event with the naughty goal of inflating Trump campaign’s expectations for numbers, it’s unclear if the prank was the sole reason for the low turnout. It could be the concern of Covid-19 pandemic that had spooked Trump supporters from attending the rally.


Those attending the rally had to sign a waiver protecting the Trump campaign from potential lawsuits in case of a Coronavirus outbreak as a result of the event. To make matters worse, as some feared the rally could become a Coronavirus “super spreader”, six staff members involved in organising the rally had tested positive just hours before the event began.


Whether or not the false tickets prank was the reason for the thousands of empty seats at the BOK centre, teenagers online celebrated – calling it the “best senior prank ever”. Trump’s Democratic opponent Joe Biden said the turnout was a sign of weakening voter support. But there’s one very unhappy man – Donald Trump.

Donald Trump Upset - Rally Tricked By TikTok and K-Pop


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