Tomi Lahren has news for the haters.
Although her show on The Blaze was canceled this year after she defended abortion rights, the 24-year-old UNLV graduate and high-profile political provocateur is far from finished in the conservative media sphere.
“People that think I’m fired or no longer have a job, they’re misinformed,” she said in an interview with the Review-Journal. “Because I have about six jobs at this point.”
One of those is as a communications adviser for the pro-Trump Great America Alliance nonprofit. Lahren also plans to launch a premium YouTube channel by the end of July.
But first, Sin City, to speak at the Real Chamber of Commerce’s gala night at the Las Vegas Country Club on Friday.
“I enjoy her candor. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything,” said chamber member Mary Rooney, 66. “She’s not afraid to voice her opinions, which I agree with.”
Lahren’s swift ascent to fame as a viral conservative commentator is intertwined with controversy. She is merciless in her denunciations of what she labels “political correctness” and “snowflake” liberals.
Lahren has defined modern-day feminism as “man hating” and once likened the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan. In a Facebook video with 67 million views, Lahren called former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick a “whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking crybaby” for his protest during the national anthem.
“She’s perfectly willing to say things that would get you kicked off TV,” said Dan Cassino, author of “Fox News and American Politics: How One Channel Shapes American Politics and Society.”
Lahren’s polarizing views have garnered her more than 5 million followers on Facebook and Twitter combined.
“The big things she brings to the table is an understanding of social media and the ability to move incredibly quickly to talk about issues just as they come up,” Cassino said. “When other conservative commentators are still putting their pants on she’s put up videos talking about it.”
Lahren has received plenty of vitriol in return, but the South Dakota native sees the criticism as affirmation.
“I think that a lot of us that exist in that middle space in this country feel ignored, and we feel that we don’t really have a voice and a presence outside of our state and local area,” she said.
“I’m proud of being able to express a voice that is not only my own, but is shared by millions of Americans. A lot of Americans are too afraid to say those things. They’re too afraid to be controversial.”
Lahren said she was raised in a conservative household, but her parents got their news from Peter Jennings and Diane Sawyer rather than Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly.
“My family loves to watch ABC,” said Lahren, an only child. “And I think that was very valuable to me. … If I were to just grow up watching Fox I don’t think that I would be able to cultivate opinions that are authentic and genuine to me.”
She came to UNLV from Rapid City in 2010 and first appeared on air in 2012. UNLV’s broadcast, Studio G, invited her to join as a conservative commentator for coverage of the presidential election. The next year she was moderating and producing The Scramble, a student-run political round table.
Mary Hausch, a retired professor who taught Lahren in two classes, said her former student was always an outspoken conservative.
“I predicted when she was in school that she would have her own show on Fox some day, and I still do,” Hausch said. “It’s interesting because I’ve had other graduates say ‘you must be ashamed or appalled,’ and I say ‘not at all.’ She was true to her beliefs.”
Lahren graduated in summer 2014 with bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.
She applied to intern at the One America News Network, but was offered her own show. “On Point with Tomi Lahren” aired through August 2015, when Lahren left for The Blaze in Dallas.
But her nightly show “Tomi” was canceled in March after Lahren appeared on ABC’s “The View” and said that limited government means women should be able to choose whether they want an abortion.
Lahren sued and settled this summer, regaining control of her Facebook page.
Now she is making speaking appearances across the country, finalizing a merchandise line and negotiating a potential book deal.
“Looking back on it all and what has really been three months of going through hell, I’m coming out on the other side much stronger and much happier,” she said. “I think that everything that happened, happened for a reason, and I wouldn’t change it.”
Contact Michael Scott Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.
If you go
Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren will speak at the Real Chamber of Commerce’s gala night on Friday.
The event lasts from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Ticket costs range from $150 to $2,250 and are available at realchamberofcommerce.com.
Lahren said her talking points will include her ideas on how businesses can innovate through social media and her political views on free-market capitalism.
“It’s no secret that over-regulation hampers innovation,” she said. “Most small business owners don’t have the time or the expertise to deal with the red tape, and it really does detract from their ability to build a successful business.”
The country club is located at 3000 Joe W. Brown Drive, Las Vegas.