Podcast Movement’s Performative Allyship

Tal Minear
5 min readAug 4, 2023


This story was updated on 8/23/23 to add that Cumulus Podcast Network is an exhibitor at Podcast Movement Denver.

It’s been about year since Podcast Movement Dallas, and the perfect time to look back on what exactly went wrong.

Maybe you attended, or a friend did, and hearing that something went wrong comes as a surprise. Here’s an article I wrote about it last year, and another by Wil Williams. But I’ll break it down into facts, more briefly:

  • The Daily Wire has a booth on the first floor of the conference (ironically, right next to the pronoun buttons).
  • Ben Shapiro shows up at this booth on the 24th. He does not have a badge.
  • I tweet about it.
  • Jared Easley, head of Community and Content at Podcast Movement, confirms to me personally that Shapiro was not invited or expected. Later, he’s seen on twitter supporting Shapiro fans.
  • Dan Franks, President of Podcast Movement, confirms to me via DM that “there was no badge registered for [Shapiro] or any talent associated with him.”
  • The morning of the 25th, Podcast Movement apologizes on twitter for the unexpected appearance of Shapiro.
  • A bunch of Shapiro fans harass the PodMov twitter account, my personal twitter account, and the accounts of my friends who had tweeted supporting me. This includes Libs of TikTok (an account connected to multiple bomb threats against children’s hospitals that provide gender-affirming care).
  • The Daily Wire posts a video that included screenshots of my tweets. More fans harass me online as a result. My podcasts start getting review-bombed.
  • Still on August 25, a fan of Shapiro enters the conference area without a badge, and films videos heckling attendees and workers. I’ll find out later he’s not the only one.
  • On the last day of Podcast Movement, friends escort me to my final panel in case anyone else is let in without a badge.
  • I receive no communication from Podcast Movement after the event ends.
  • On September 2, Podcast Movement unfollows me on twitter. This is their last “direct” message to me.
  • On September 8, Podcast Movement tweets an apology to Shapiro.

And now you’re caught up. Podcast Movement is currently gearing up for their next big event in Denver on August 21. They’ve failed to address why people were let into the Dallas conference without badges or provide a plan to prevent it from happening in the future. Their actions have shown that they don’t care if speakers at their events are put in danger.

The organization joined the likes of Bud Light and Target before events put those two companies on the map. There’s a pattern here, and I’d like to dive into it.

Bud Light worked with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, then received violent emails in response. They abandoned Mulvaney to a torrent of harassment.

Target worked with a number of queer and trans creators to create Pride merchandise, then received harassment and threats. They removed the Pride merch from display across their stores.

Podcast Movement has worked with several trans speakers at their events. When they get online vitriol after an attempt to make their conference safe for trans guests and speakers, they backpedal. Trans attendees being harassed online are left out to dry, no attempt is made to help them during the conference, and after the event, Podcast Movement ignores them.

Their support of trans individuals is performative. They’ll put pronoun pins out at their events, but also have a booth for The Daily Wire (an organization well known for their attacks on trans rights). They’re happy to have trans people speak at Podcast Movement, but as soon as that person receives targeted harassment during the event, they’re on their own.

What if I had been attending the conference alone? What if the people let in without badges had run into me? I was put in an incredibly unsafe position by this organization last year. It’s only thanks to good luck and the support of my friends that nothing went wrong.

Speakers at Podcast Movement should not have to “hire” friends to escort them. We should not have to explicitly tell people not to speak about our whereabouts online, and hide when we’re flying home. Nobody should spend their nights at the event blocking hundreds of people online, and their days looking over their shoulder.

Podcast Movement should not have apologized to the individual who directly sent his fans to harass me online.

They should not have supported a company like The Daily Wire in the first place, but especially should not have doubled down in the aftermath of Shapiro’s appearance. Their apology on September 8 emboldened the people who had spent their weeks sending me slurs and threats. Intentional or not, it welcomed those individuals to future events. Intentional or not, it told transgender podcasters that they are not welcome at future events.

I said on August 30, 2022, “Build an event I can safely be at, and you’ll have me there.” The actions Podcast Movement have taken in the past year have shown that they simply don’t care. They’re unwilling to put in the work to build an event that’s safe for trans people. They simply distance themselves from any criticism, ignore those of us asking what they’re going to do about it, and continue on.

I will not be at Podcast Movement this year, as a speaker or attendee. I don’t want to support an organization that won’t support me — an organization that didn’t support me. It’s fine if you’re going; I know how fun the event is. But if you were able to purchase tickets without a second thought to your personal safety, take a minute to recognize that privilege.

If we keep holding podcast industry events that are not safe for trans people, what does that say about our industry?


Cumulus Podcast Network, which hosts The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro Show and Matt Walsh Show, is an exhibitor at Podcast Movement Denver. I am very glad I didn’t attend. It was obvious from the moment they apologized to Shapiro and unfollowed me on twitter that this was their game plan — continued partnership with Cumulus and The Daily Wire.

This sends a message to speakers and attendees at Podcast Movement. If an exhibitor or sponsor behaves like this (has collaborates attend without a badge, directs fans to harass you during the event, or puts your safety in danger), they will ignore you and invite them back. Money trumps ethics. Fascists welcome.

No thanks.



Tal Minear

Tal (they/them) is fiction podcast producer who cannot be stopped from making things and will occasionally write about audio fiction.