This article contains explicit language.
By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief and Jake Shindel, Senior Editor
Screenshots posted to Instagram that purportedly show members of Towson University’s chapter of Turning Point USA using homophobic slurs and admitting to using racial slurs circulated the campus Tuesday night.
TU’s chapter of Turning Point is an on-campus conservative activist group that focuses on issues including increased gun rights and decreased abortion access.
The Towerlight could not confirm the veracity of the screenshots. It contacted every individual named in the messages, but they did not respond by publication time Tuesday or declined to comment.
Tim Yalinkilincer, the chapter’s media and communications director, declined to comment.
The messages began circulating on Instagram and were the focal point of online discussion late Tuesday. Many took to YikYak to denounce and post identifying information of the group members.
“I hope these tpusa kids know the entire university is against them,” one user wrote. “No one agrees with you, no one thinks you’re funny. We’re all sitting and laughing at you.”
The screenshots appear to show several conversations among group members.
One thread shows a member referring to LGBTQ Pride Month as “f—-” month. Another thread showed someone calling the monkeypox outbreak the “f—- virus.”
Several messages show members ridiculing those with liberal and socialist political ideologies, calling them communist.
“Every single one of these socialist I’ve run into have been the same,” one message read. “They look unwell, they’re rude and nasty, and their faces could’ve honestly been one of those faces in those Antifa mugshots.”
The messages also show members discussing racial and ableist slurs they use to refer to marginalized groups.
“And r—-, as a person with multiple disorders im allowed to say it,” one person said. “Even if I was normal id [sic] say it lol.”
“We are terrible lmao,” a person responded. “I say every name in the book.”
“The forbidden n-word,” the person asked.
“I say everything tbh,” they responded.
In another thread, a chapter leader is shown disparaging Baltimore City.
“This is why I won’t live in Baltimore,” the message read. “When I was driving through there, it didn’t even look like America. It looked like the middle of fucking Uganda. Even war-torn Ukraine looks nicer than west Baltimore.”
Towson University did not provide a comment about the messages by publication Tuesday.
The messages surfaced a day after the group hosted Gordana Schifanelli, Maryland’s Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, and Michael Peroutka, the Republican nominee for attorney general, to lead a conversation about the U.S. Constitution.
Peroutka is also a former member of the League of the South, a pro-confederate white supremacist group.
The event and chapter were met with heavy controversy online, and many TU students denounced Peroutka’s past association with the League of the South.. About 60 protestors, a mix of students, faculty and members of the public, stood outside of West Village Commons protesting during the event Monday.
The chapter has a history of publishing homophobic content on Instagram. In June, the group posted an image of a Pride flag that said: “Day 8 of pride month. I identify as a helicopter. How dare you think otherwise.”
TU’s Turning Point chapter stems from a national organization based in Illinois. Turning Point USA was started in 2012 by right-wing commentator Charlie Kirk, according to a press release from the Anti-Defamation League.
The organization and its university chapters are often the subjects of controversy. The Daily Lobo, the University of New Mexico student paper, reported in September that students of color were denied access to a TPUSA-sponsored event on campus.
The TU chapter is a Student Government Association-affiliated group but does not currently receive funding as it has yet to reach benchmarks laid out in the Tiger Stripes program that would allow it to do so. These benchmarks include attending specific SGA events and completing forms.
The SGA did not provide comment on the screenshots by publication Tuesday.
Matt Hubbard contributed to this story.
This story may be updated.