It’s not easy being Lauren Ingram these days. She’s a 28-year-old freelance writer who is constantly on the receiving end of garbage tweets meant for Laura Ingraham, the conservative Fox News host who spews hateful shit at regular intervals.
Ingram lives in Australia, which means that she’s often asleep whenever Ingraham says something ugly and wakes up to see her phone exploding with enraged notifications. Recently, she had to deal with the fallout from Ingraham’s attacks on Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg.
The “abusive mentions,” as she refers to them, come regularly. Ingram can readily and vividly point to the controversial Ingraham-related issues that triggered the waves of hatred that have come at her.
Splinter spoke with Ingram about what it’s like to have progressive politics and constantly be confused for Laura Ingraham.
The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
So, what do your mentions look like when something Laura Ingraham says blows up?
I can’t keep up with them. I have to turn notifications off because otherwise, my phone is not useable.
Usually what happens is that I start getting abusive tweets from people who disagree with her. Then I’ll get tweets from her fans saying things like ‘Oh, Laura, what you said on your show tonight was so right.” Then I reply [with] something like, ‘No, actually I disagree and I’m not her.’ And then the people on the right end up abusing me for saying the opposite of what [Ingraham] is saying.
I end up getting abuse from both sides.
I get the few odd tweets for her a few times a week. But there have been six or seven really big surges. The first one came when it was rumored that she would be Trump’s White House communications director. It also happened when she attacked LeBron James on her show—that went on for a week and a half. When she said the stuff about of Charlottesville, that was a big one too.
Who sends the worst hate tweets? Ingraham supporters or Ingraham haters?
The tweets I get from both sides are equally bad.
I’ve had people on both sides say things like, ‘you should get shot.’ Both sides have called me all sorts of names. And that’s disappointing to me because I don’t think either side takes the higher ground here. They’re both doing it.
What do you know about Laura Ingraham and her politics?
I looked her up and I know she’s a Trump supporter, very right-wing, and anti-immigration. Even people who are conservative here in Australia are very aghast at Trump. He’s not seen as a positive leader here. So to me, I just know that everything that Laura Ingraham has ever said I disagree with.
So your views are nothing like Laura Ingraham’s politics?
It’s literally the complete opposite. I’m a progressive feminist, I write about everything Laura Ingraham hates. If you got [us] in a room together, there would be the biggest argument because I completely disagree with everything she says. That’s why it’s so frustrating, because people get really angry [at her] and I agree with them.
What’s it like waking up to these messages?
That’s the thing, it usually it happens while I’m sleeping. It’s a depressing way to start the day, to be honest. Sometimes I can have a laugh at it. Like, today, when I said I was Australian, someone told me to go crawl into a kangaroo pouch. I had a laugh at that one. But generally it’s not nice to wake up and feel that kind of stuff when you check your social media in the morning.
Today I pointed out we don’t have guns in Australia. For us, looking at the gun debate, it’s hard to understand because we had a mass shooting in the 1990s and we gave them up with a gun ban, and we don’t have them anymore.
You’re a freelance writer. How is this affecting your brand?
My first name and my surname are still different from hers. I’d be more concerned if we had the same name. Most of the problem comes from Twitter. I think what happens is that when people @ her in a tweet as soon as they type L-A-U they see a name a that starts with L-A-U and see my username and click my name thinking it’s her. We don’t have the same problem if you search for me on Google.
What do you think about advertisers fleeing Ingraham’s show?
Advertisers are going to work with people who represent their brands. And if someone is saying horrible things then there’s going to be consequences. This is sometimes the only way to get networks’ attention, when advertisers start dropping out. And then they realize they have to do something.
Some people ignore the abusive tweets, but you often respond and engage with them. Why?
When I see what I think are just flat-out trolls or people who are just trying to inflame and get you to argue with them, then I ignore them.
For me, it’s important to engage people who identify as progressive and are being horrible by sending abusive tweets. There are some people, especially if they’re not being abusive to start with, that can change their mind when you really break it down. Sometimes yelling at each other does solve issues. If you believe in something it’s worth sticking by that and having conversations about that.