Some users of TikTok and K-pop fans on Twitter believe they were partly responsible for the empty seats at the Bank of Oklahoma Center during US President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma over the last weekend.
Trump’s decision to relaunch his re-election campaign on Saturday night drew criticism from several quarters.
As the campaign opened up registration for free tickets to the rally, there were expectations of a packed Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa which has seating capacity for 19,000 people.
Campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh, who had said that there had been 1 million requests for tickets to attend the main rally, blamed the anti-Trump protests near the stadium for the low turnout.
However, after learning that free tickets can be obtained for the rally, some K-pop fans shared on Twitter how to sign up to get tickets. But these tweets also carried a directive to the fans to not attend the rally, according to a report in the New York Times on Sunday.
The posts were deleted so that other social media users would not know what they were up to, said the report.
The campaign spilled onto short video-sharing platform TikTok where several users urged their followers to do the same.
TikTok user Mary Jo Laupp was one of the first to call for the protests on that platform, according to a report in the USA Today.
“Did you know you can make sure there are empty seats at Trump’s rally?” she captioned a June 12 video which got hundreds of thousands of likes.
Trump’s reelection campaign, however, denied that TikTok users of K-pop fans could sabotage the event.
“Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool,” Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement released Sunday.
“What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission – entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”