August 19, 2022


CPAC features actors playing J6 detainees weeping in cells

2 min read
An actor clad in an orange jumpsuit and a red “Make America Great Again” hat...

An actor clad in an orange jumpsuit and a red “Make America Great Again” hat played the role of a despairing January 6 insurrection detainee at CPAC Dallas on Friday.

The actor was truly committed to the bit, according to freelance journalist Laura Jedeed, who tweeted video and images of the man. Jedeed wrote in a tweet that the man wept non-stop for around 30 minutes in a makeshift prison cell with nothing but a chair and a threadbare cot inside.  

Some identified the actor as January 6 detainee and conservative influencer Brandon Straka, who received three years of probation after being arrested for participating in the insurrection at the Capitol. Conference-goers also had the option of participating in the booth by wearing headphones, which played testimony from people arrested in connection with the insurrection, according to Jedeed. 

Straka didn’t just cry in one place while listeners took in alleged insurrectionists’ testimony: every once in a while, he’d move from weeping on the floor, to weeping on the cot, to weeping while he tallied the number of days he’d been incarcerated while awaiting trial, Jedeed reported. 

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The exhibit reflects a strategy popular amongst Texas GOP members: conflating alignment with conservative values with alleged participation in an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government. 

This framing posits that the 880-plus people arrested in connection with the January 6, 2021 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol are political prisoners unjustly persecuted for their conservative beliefs. For example, former Texas AG candidate and current U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert told Business Insider last year that J6 detainees are “victims of an unequal system of justice in a country where rioters and looters on the left are let off the hook… while those on the right are considered hardened criminals without any record before a trial can even begin.” 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, who spoke at CPAC Dallas on Friday, has also pushed the line that J6 suspects in pre-trial detention are there because liberals want to persecute and silence conservatives, not because they are suspected of participating in an attempted coup.   

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