In 2007, while a 17-year-old senior in high school, Owens received three racist death threat phone call voice mail messages, totaling two minutes, that were traced to a car in which the 14-year-old son of then-Mayor Dannel Malloy was present. Joshua Starr, the city's superintendent of schools, listened to the voicemail messages and said that they were "horrendous." Owens' family sued the Stamford Board of Education in federal court alleging that the city did not protect her rights, resulting in a $37,500 settlement in January 2008.
In 2015, Owens was CEO of Degree180, a marketing agency that offered consultation, production, and planning services. The website included a blog which frequently posted anti-conservative and anti-Trump content, including mockery of his penis size. In a 2015 column that Owens wrote for the site, she criticized conservative Republicans, writing about the "bat-shit-crazy antics of the Republican Tea Party", adding, "The good news is, they will eventually die off (peacefully in their sleep, we hope), and then we can get right on with the OBVIOUS social change that needs to happen, IMMEDIATELY."
Privacy violation, Gamergate, and political transformation
Owens launched SocialAutopsy.com in 2016, a website she said would expose bullies on the Internet by tracking their digital footprint. The site would have solicited users to take screenshots of offensive posts and send them to the website, where they would be categorized by the user's name. She used crowdfunding on Kickstarter for the website.
The proposal was immediately controversial, drawing criticism that Owens was de-anonymizing (doxing) Internet users and violating their privacy. According to The Daily Dot, "People from all sides of the anti-harassment debate were quick to criticize the database, calling it a public shaming list that would encourage doxing and retaliatory harassment." Both conservatives and progressives involved in the Gamergate controversy condemned the website.
In response, people began posting Owens' private details online. Owens blamed, with scant evidence, the doxing on progressives involved in the Gamergate controversy. After this, she earned the support of conservatives involved in the Gamergate controversy, including right-wing political commentators and Trump supporters Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich. After this, Owens became a conservative, saying in 2017, "I became a conservative overnight ... I realized that liberals were actually the racists. Liberals were actually the trolls ... Social Autopsy is why I'm conservative".
Kickstarter suspended funding for Social Autopsy, and the website was never created.
On November 21, 2017, at the MAGA Rally and Expo in Rockford, Illinois, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk announced that Owens had been hired as the organization's director of urban engagement. Turning Point's hiring of Owens occurred in the wake of allegations of racism at Turning Point. In May 2019, Owens announced her departure as Communications Director for the organization.
In April 2018, Kanye West tweeted "I love the way Candace Owens thinks." The tweet was met with derision among some of West's fans. In May 2018, President Donald Trump said that Owens "is having a big impact on politics in our country. She represents an ever-expanding group of very smart 'thinkers,' and it is wonderful to watch and hear the dialogue going on... so good for our Country!"
Owens has appeared on fringe conspiracy websites, such as InfoWars. In 2018, she was a guest host on Fox News. After finding mainstream success, Owens distanced herself from the far-right conspiracy websites, although she refused to criticize InfoWars or its hosts.
In May 2018, Owens suggested that "something bio-chemically happens" to women who do not marry or have children, and she linked to the Twitter handles of Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, and Kathy Griffin, saying that they were "evidentiary support" of this theory. Silverman responded: "It seems to me that by tweeting this, you would like to maybe make us feel badly. I'd say this is evidenced by ur effort to use our twitter handles so we would see. My heart breaks for you, Candy. I hope you find happiness in whatever form that takes." Owens responded, accusing Silverman of supporting terrorists and crime gangs.
She hosts The Candace Owens Show on PragerU's YouTube channel.
In April 2020 she said that she had decided to run for office in the U.S. Senate or to be a governor, and that she would only run against an incumbent Democrat, not a Republican. She did not reveal which specific office she would run for, or in which election cycle.
In October 2018, Owens and the Donald Trump presidential campaign launched the Blexit movement, a social media campaign to encourage African Americans to abandon the Democratic Party and register as Republicans. The term Blexit—a portmanteau of ’Black’ and ’exit’—mimics Brexit, the word used to describe the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. On the launch, Owens said that her "dear friend and fellow superhero Kanye West" designed merchandise for the movement, but the following day, West denied being the designer and disavowed the effort, saying "I never wanted any association with Blexit" and "I've been used to spread messages I don't believe in." Shortly after the launch, The Daily Beast claimed that approximately 16 percent of the total tweets using the #blexit hashtag were from Twitter accounts associated with the promotion of Russian disinformation.
Owens said she had no interest in politics whatsoever before 2015, but previously identified as liberal. In 2017, she began describing herself as a conservative Trump supporter. Owens has since characterized Trump as the "savior" of Western civilization. She has argued that Trump has neither engaged in rhetoric that is harmful to African Americans, nor proposed policies that would harm African Americans. She said in October 2018 that she had never voted and had only recently become a registered Republican.
Owens has said: "The left hates America, and Trump loves it." She has said that the left is "destroying everything through this cultural Marxist ideology."
Owens is known for her criticism of the movement Black Lives Matter. She has described Black Lives Matter protesters as "a bunch of whiny toddlers, pretending to be oppressed for attention". Owens has argued that African Americans have a "victim mentality," and often refers to the Democratic Party as a "plantation". She has argued that the American left "like black people to be government-dependent". Owens has argued that black people have been brainwashed to vote for Democrats. She has argued that police violence against black people is not about racism. Owens has referred to police killings of black people as a trivial matter to African Americans. She has characterized abortion as a tool for the "extermination" of black babies.
She has said, "Black Americans are doing worse off economically today than we were doing in the 1950s under Jim Crow," adding that this is because "we've only been voting for one party since then." She has attributed economic improvements for African Americans, such as a low unemployment rate, to Trump's presidency.
When asked if it was problematic that white supremacist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, support Trump, Owens answered that Antifa was more prevalent than the KKK. Owens has said that the media cover the KKK during Trump's presidency to hurt him. In a 2019 hearing on hate crimes, Owens referred to the KKK as a "Democrat terrorist organization". After the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Owens said that concern over rising white nationalism was "stupid". In 2018, Owens dismissed reports of a resurgence in hate crimes, saying "All of the violence this year primarily happened because of people on the left."
On Facebook, Owens wrote "I proudly self-identify as an Uncle Tom."
Owens in 2019
During her April 2019 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on the rise of hate crimes and white supremacists in the United States, Owens made the claim that the Southern Strategy employed by the Republican party to boost its appeal to racist voters was a "myth" that "never happened". Many on the left said that was a false statement. Her claim was disputed by several historians who said that the existence of the Southern Strategy was well documented in contemporaneous sources dating back to the Civil Rights era. Historian Kevin M. Kruse, who writes about modern conservatism, called Owens's statement "utter nonsense".
In June 2019, Owens said that African Americans had it better in the first 100 years after the abolition of slavery than they have since. She said that "socialism" was at fault.
Owens supports same-sex marriage. On July 28, 2017, Owens came out in favor of banning transgender individuals who are undergoing sex reassignment surgery from serving in the United States military, but said that she is fine with fully transitioned transgender individuals serving in the United States military.
Owens opposes welfare, although she says that she has family on it.
In 2018, Owens warned that "Europe will fall and become a Muslim majority continent by 2050," and "There has never been a Muslim majority country where sharia law was not implemented." She suggested that the United States would then be "forced to save" the British.
In August 2018, Owens had a dispute with a cousin of Mollie Tibbetts. Tibbetts was murdered, allegedly by Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 24 year old Mexicanundocumented immigrant. Tibbetts' cousin said that Owens had exploited Tibbetts' death for "political propaganda". Owens responded, describing the cousin's criticism as a "strange" attack on Trump supporters. Later that month the University of Iowa chapter of Turning Point USA criticized Owens for "public harassment" towards a member of Tibbetts' family.
In October 2018, during the mail bombing attempts targeting prominent Democrats, Owens promoted the conspiracy theory that the bomb mailings were sent by leftists. After authorities on October 26 arrested a 56-year-old suspect who was a registered Republican and Trump supporter, Owens deleted her comments on Twitter without explanation.
Comments about Hitler
At the launch of the British offshoot Turning Point UK in December 2018, in response to an audience member who asked for a "long-term prognosis" about the terms "globalism" and "nationalism", Owens said:
I actually don't have any problems at all with the word "nationalism". I think that the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I don't want. Whenever we say "nationalism" the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. You know, [Hitler] was a national socialist, but if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine. The problem is that he wanted—he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way. That's not, to me, that's not nationalism.
Following heavy criticism for her comments, Owens clarified them on Twitter and in a Judiciary Committee hearing in the US House of Representatives in February 2019. Owens said that "[Hitler] was a homicidal, psychopathic, maniac that killed his own people" and "[Hitler was not a Nationalist, he] murdered his own people, a nationalist would not kill their own people". That the point of her comments was to say that there is "no excuse or defense ever for... everything that [Hitler] did". She also said that her comments were about Hitler's crimes against Jews.
Owens' comments about Hitler were played in April 2019 by Representative Ted Lieu during testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee about the issue of increasing hate crimes and white supremacy in America. Lieu said that he did not know Owens and was just going to let her own words characterize her, before playing the audio clip. Owens responded that Lieu had deliberately omitted an interviewer's question that provided critical context to her words, with the intent of misrepresenting them as an endorsement of Hitler, to smear her reputation.
Donald Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. praised Owens on Twitter for "call(ing) out the Dems on their purposeful manipulation of facts for their narrative".
Mention in Christchurch shooter's ’manifesto’
The terrorist who committed the Christchurch mosque shootings produced a ’manifesto’ in which he wrote that Owens had "influenced him above all". According to journalist Robert Evans, it was "possible, even likely" that the shooter was a fan of Owens, considering her rhetoric against Muslim immigrants, but in context the terrorist's references to her may have been an example of "shitposting" intended to provoke political conflict.
Hours after the shootings, Owens posted a tweet in reaction to allegations that she inspired the mass murder, saying that she never created any content espousing her views on the 2nd Amendment (to the United States Constitution) or Islam. Her tweet was criticized[by whom?] for appearing glib, and it was reported that she actually had posted tweets about the 2nd Amendment and Islam. She later made formal statements rejecting any connection to the shooter.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Owens frequently downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic. In February 2020, after the first Americans died in the coronavirus pandemic, she sarcastically tweeted "Now we’re all going to die from Coronavirus." In late March she argued that the United States was suffering from a "doomsday cult" of liberal paranoia.
^Owens, Candace (March 14, 2019). "LOL". Twitter. Archived from the original on March 15, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2019. LOL! 😂 FACT: I've never created any content espousing my views on the 2nd Amendment or Islam. The Left pretending I inspired a mosque massacre in...New Zealand because I believe black America can do it without government hand outs is the reachiest reach of all reaches!! LOL!