- The so-called “KHive” is Vice President Kamala Harris‘s staunchly loyal online fan group.
- Although loosely organized, the group is united in celebrating and defending Harris.
- But the KHive has also been accused of intimidation and harassment.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
When New York Post reporter Laura Italiano tweeted this week, she was resigning due to an inaccurate article she was allegedly asked to write about Vice President Kamala Harris, angry Harris supporters have invaded.
“I think I missed your apology to the vice president,” one person commented on her tweet.
“You shouldn’t be writing that damn story in the first place. Where are you trying to get clicks and likes?” another wrote.
Italiano was feeling the sting of the so-called “KHive” – ââHarris’ staunchly loyal online fan group that has celebrated and defended the vice president since she became a California senator in 2017.
âShe broke so many barriers as a black South Asian woman,â KHive member Lecia Michelle from New Orleans told Insider. “So we have to be here to stand up for her for who she is as a biracial woman.”
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Even though the “KHive” is loosely organized – it doesn’t have a leader, and it’s unclear how many members there are – the online group makes sure its presence is felt.
Members are particularly active on Twitter, marking their dedication to the Vice President by using the hashtag #KHive or adding yellow hearts and bee emojis to their profile descriptions.
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They share videos of the Vice President’s speeches, comment on the various outfits she wears and post selfies in yellow and purple articles with her name on them.
They also organize virtual evenings “on Sunday of the kitchen” and meet on
to watch major political events – most recently they gathered online to watch President Joe Biden‘s first joint speech to Congress together.
The group is united in its celebration of the vice president and amplifies the policies it promotes: KHive members speak out for race, gender equality and LGBTQ inclusion. They support the right to abortion and applauded Harris for his carbon neutral climate plan.
KHive’s support was evident in the run-up to the 2020 election, when many members felt they needed to act as Harris’ defenders.
As the first black woman and the first South Asian woman to be named vice president by either major party, Harris was a main target in Washington and often faced an onslaught of racist and misogynistic harassment.
Members of KHive tell Insider they need to be frank because of the historic significance of Harris’ position.
Eric Chavous, the 31-year-old lawyer behind one of the most popular KHive accounts @flywithkamala, told Insider: âShe sits at the intersection of race and gender, which is at the origin of its unprecedented criticism. People are not used to seeing black people sitting at tables, but certainly not black women. “
“The KHive must work around the clock to overcome stereotypes surrounding black women so that people can see the truth – that Kamala Harris has the experience and knowledge to lead the United States of America,” added Chavous.
The 31-year-old lawyer became a supporter of the vice president in 2009 when he attended Howard University, Harris’ alma mater.
He was also one of the first people to help invent the term “KHive” in 2017, which is loosely modeled on BeyoncÃ© just as fervent “Beyhive” (Several KHive members also thanked Twitter users Biana Delarosa and Elizabeth Blumberg for helping to form the group).
Since Chavous first tweeted the hashtag, it has taken on a life of its own. Harris herself has addressed the group on several occasions and her husband and second gentleman Douglas Emhoff even identifies himself as a #KHive member in his Twitter biography.
But some members of Harris’ digital army have also been accused of pushing their loyalty too far.
Last year a Huffington Post investigation found nearly a dozen people who said they had been threatened or harassed by self-identified members of KHive.
Several people told the Post that their personal information was released online after some fans launched harassment campaigns against them for previously supporting Democratic candidates other than Harris.
One person said they were forced to temporarily move their family to another location for fear of being in physical danger, while two women said members of KHive even made veiled threats against their children.
“People are ugly and disrespectful all over the internet. KHive, in particular, just wants to set the record straight,” Chavous said when asked by Insider about the allegations.
Chantay Berry, a 34-year-old Brooklyn College graduate student and KHive member who has already engaged in online arguments, admitted to Insider that the world of online politics can become toxic.
“Some of us play a role in going back and forth with people. I’m not starting things off, but like, you’re not just going to bully me online either. That’s just what it is. Internet, âBerry said.
In the past, KHive members have specifically targeted those who criticized Harris ‘record during his tenure as prosecutor or who attacked his abandonment of Senator Bernie Sanders’ âMedicare for allâ bill.
Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ press secretary in the 2020 presidential primary, accused the group of repeatedly harassing her.
“They are vicious,” she told the Los Angeles Times last month. She did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
But the group is also aggressively targeting right-wing media, like the New York Post, which has spent the past 100 days frequently criticizing Harris on multiple issues, including immigration.
“I want to know from the right where the hell was that energy when Donald Trump destroyed everything in our country and destroyed everything?” Berry told Insider.
“We all know they only attack her because they know she will one day be president,” she added.
Berry told Insider that KHive has no plans to go anywhere, especially given Harris’ growing chances of becoming president in 2024.
âI think now that she’s in power we’re still all stans, but now we’re all stans watching for the next four years, hoping she becomes president,â she said.