The Unraveling of Candace Owens

Owens is no longer an inspiration but a warning.
March 28, 2024
Candace Owens speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek on February 25, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Candace Owens broke out as a right-wing media star around the time when I moved to Berlin in 2016. I saw in her a role model and kindred soul. As a black woman, she encouraged her own community to question their historic loyalty to the Democratic party in America, calling for “Blexit”, the exit of blacks from a party that she argued only exploits black suffering to lure votes. She was beautiful, articulate, brave, and charismatic.

Around the same time, I became a media curiosity in Germany as a rare Jewish voice telling Germans that welcoming Muslim migrants from countries steeped in anti-semitism, misogyny, and fascism wasn’t a correction to their Nazi past, but rather, a deranged continuation of it. For some, I was a breath of fresh air, Jews included, perhaps in the way Owens was for black conservatives who wanted to think for themselves and not the way left-leaning social justice outfits like the NAACP encouraged them to think.

I even remember, as I started “The Orit Arfa Show” for a German publication called www.Achgut.com, founded by prominent German-Jewish writer, Henryk Broder, I was inclined to liken it to “The Candace Owens Show,” which hosted by conservative media giant, Prager University. She passionately questioned her guests with wit and insight. I even purchased her book, Blackout, which she promoted ad nauseam on her Instagram channel.

But I could not get past the first two chapters. It didn’t read like a down-to-earth, honest coming-of-age memoir of a conservative black woman having been raised by her grandparents. It read more like an Ivy League college application essay filled with superfluous fancy, big words. I wondered how blacks from the inner-city could even relate to it. I returned it to Amazon.

I still liked her occasional videos on social media, like a powerful 18-minute diatribe in the wake of George Floyd riots, in which she astutely outlined Floyd’s history of drug abuse and domestic violence, letting us know he was no hero.

About a year later, my best friend in Israel, shared with me a 2021 Instagram video in which she drove the streets of Nashville with her wealthy, handsome British husband, George Farmer, hunting for a billboard advertising her new show on The Daily Wire, the conservative media network co-founded by Ben Shapiro. She peppered the text with statements like, “Fight every chance you can to be you. Don’t let them intimidate you. Authenticity is greatness” to justify her self-indulgence.

“There is nobody so cool that they do not freak out when they don’t see themselves on a billboard,” she said in the video. Actually, the people who don’t freak out are people who might actually deserve to be on billboards. My friend pointed out that even her husband seemed irritated by her haughtiness.

Then we noticed her habit of not only criticizing celebrities, but picking fights with them, like a parasite sucking off their fame to get more famous. We both unfollowed her on social media.

Our suspicions about her sincerity and righteousness were confirmed when she began defending Kanye West’s antisemitic rants, like when he announced he was “going death con 3 on Jewish people” [sic]. Owens defended him, tweeting, “If you are an honest person, you did not find this tweet antisemitic.” Now, I understand if she doesn’t want to criticize a friend publicly, but to claim a monopoly on honesty? That’s narcissism. As Jewish and conservative voices started accusing her of antisemitism, Dennis Prager came to her defense, saying her merits outweigh her demerits, and that she should learn from her mistakes. How kind of him.

Apparently, Jews catapulted her astounding rise. About seven years ago, Owens’ career was self-admittedly kick-started at a gathering of conservative movers and shakers hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. After she falsely compared Israel to the “segregated South” and implied that Israel was engaged in “genocide” for defending itself against the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7, the Center publicly regretted ever believing in her.

The Twittersphere waited impatiently for Shapiro to follow suit. Owens publicly picked fights with this modern Orthodox, fiercely pro-Israel Jew, insinuating he cares more about Israel than America, calling him “unprofessional and unhinged.” Clearly, she was projecting. Pandering to her Christian base, she quoted Scripture to paint herself as a martyr against, as it seemed, money-grubbing Jews, tweeting: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Shapiro outwitted her with: “Candace, if you feel that taking money from The Daily Wire somehow comes between you and God, by all means quit.”

Finally, on March 22, the Daily Wire announced that it severed their relationship without detailing the terms. Owens “celebrated” in an X post: “I am finally free” then immediately proceeded to ask her fans for…money.

In the end, it’s not her repulsive statements on Jews and Israel that justify her becoming a pariah, but her complete lack of integrity. She publicly insulted her former boss while on the payroll of a company he founded. She turned her back on the nation of people who believed in her and generously lent their success for her own.

For now, she has ironically moved to Locals, a platform for independent creators who fear being deplatformed for right-wing views. It was started by two Jews, media personality Dave Rubin and his Israeli brother-in-law, Assaf Lev. Either she knows deep down she can’t succeed without brilliant Jews behind her, or she is setting them up to cancel her for being an “antisemite” so that she can rally against the “Jewish media cabal.”

In the end, I’m happy I had the foresight to reject her even before her antisemitic madness. Perhaps lack of integrity goes hand in hand with antisemitism, since hatred of the Jews reflects a hatred of the Hebrew Bible which introduced to the world a morality of honor and honesty.

Owens is no longer an inspiration but a warning. So “The Orit Arfa Show” never really took off, but that’s ok. True success can’t come through parasitic creation or headline-making insults but from a humility generated by hard-work, authentic achievement, and the intellectual battles for ideas, not clicks.

Orit Arfa is a journalist and author based in Berlin. Her novel The Settler covers the pull-out from Gaza while Underskin is a German-Israeli love story. This article originally appeared in German on www.Achgut.com. www.OritArfa.net. 

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