Anti-trans troll Matt Walsh ‘caught trying to to trick trans people with fake documentary’

Matt Walsh

Self-identified “theocratic fascist” Matt Walsh has been caught trying to trick trans people into joining a fake, “anti-trans documentary”, it’s been reported.

Walsh, a far-right author who presents a podcast for Ben Shapiro’s right-wing outlet The Daily Wire, has a long history of antagonistic, bigoted comments about trans people.

A Christian and Republican, Walsh is also known for opposing abortion and equal marriage. Last year, Catholic church leaders in Missouri cancelled a talk by Walsh because of his “provocative positions on immigration, on communities of colour, on Muslims, and on members of the LGBTQ community” that “seemed designed to stir anger and resentment”.

In January 2022, on a Dr Phil episode that was “debating” the existence of trans and non-binary people, Walsh described being trans as a “delusion”, a “mental illness”, and a “charade”.

Last year, Walsh published a deeply transphobic children’s book called Johnny the Walrus, which was initially listed by Amazon as an “LGBT+ bestseller”.  In previous rants about “gender ideology”, Walsh has compared trans healthcare to experimentation, molestation, abuse and rape.

As a result of his well-known transphobic views, few trans people would ever agree to appear on Walsh’s show.

And that seems to be why he went apparently to elaborate lengths to trick trans people into doing just that.

Trans activist reveals elaborate Matt Walsh hoax

“So Matt Walsh’s crew is trying to trick trans people into joining a fake documentary,” posted Eli Erlick, a trans activist and PhD student at UC Santa Cruz, on Twitter on 7 February.

“His producers set up a whole front organisation, Gender Unity Project, and tried to recruit me into his next anti-trans documentary,” Erlick continued. “Here’s the wild story of how it went down.”

Including screenshots of evidence in her Twitter thread, which has been retweeted more than 17,000 times, Erlick described how she was first approached by Makenna Lynn, an associate from an organisation called Gender Unity Project, who “claimed they were doing a film on the trans community”.

While she said it “seemed normal at first”, Erlick’s suspicions were soon raised by some red flags: the researcher she spoke to said she was self-funding the documentary, despite being a recent college graduate; they kept changing the location that Erlick needed to fly to for the interview, before abruptly cancelling; and other trans people who Erlick had been told were taking part then supposedly dropped out.

When Erlick began digging into things, it quickly became clear that this was, in fact, a stunt being pulled by Matt Walsh. Lynn, under the name Makenna Waters, was the producer of hundreds of episodes of The Matt Walsh Show, and the Gender Unity Project was registered to Justin Folk, “a far-right documentarian who works for Matt Walsh and Prager U”.

Erlick said: “This year, Matt Walsh declared his ‘assault on gender ideology.’ This is only the tip of the iceberg. Who knows how far he and his followers will go to attack, demean, and dehumanize trans people?”

And she warned trans people to be wary of media invites. “The last thing we need right now is another ‘gotcha’ anti-trans documentary,” she advised. “Stay alert and take any media personalities with a grain of salt.”

Dozens of trans people contacted by ‘fake documentary’

Shortly after Erlick posted her Twitter thread, Makenna Waters and Justin Folk deleted their Twitter accounts. Twitter has also suspended the account of the Gender Unity Project.

Based on the responses to Erlick’s post, it seems as if as many as 50 trans people and doctors had been contacted by the anti-trans project before it was exposed, according to The Daily Beast. One of those people reportedly filmed scenes for the documentary.

Another was Debi Jackson, an advocate for trans youth whose trans child Avery, 14, appeared in HBO documentary TranshoodJackson said that when contacted by Waters, she asked questions about the documentary’s funding, whether trans people were involved in making it, and whether it would include people who oppose trans rights.

“We have made sure not to include any bigotry in our film,” Waters reportedly wrote back.

“It’s pretty clear what he’s going to be dealing with,” Erlick told The Daily Beast. “It is juxtaposing poverty in Africa with the trans movement and trying to create a wedge between economic, racial, and trans issues. It’s going to end up trying to portray trans issues as a first-world problem.”

She continued: “Right now, there’s only one thing that we can do that’s going to be effective, which is going through and reporting all of his accounts until his social media platforms can’t avoid suspending him anymore.

“He is breaking their discrimination policies, he’s ignoring their misgendering rules, and he is living it up because they refuse to ban him. So the most effective next steps would be to report his accounts and make sure platforms actually follow through with upholding their policies.”

PinkNews contacted Matt Walsh, Makenna Waters and Justin Folk for comment.