LONG ISLAND, NY – “I wasn’t going to sit quietly back and have my conservative beliefs censored,” Shawn Farash, one of the three co-founders of the conservative Facebook group “Long Island Loud Majority” (LILM) told me during a recent interview. Farash, 28, was not talking about the awful censorship he and his two co-founders, Kevin Smith and Heather Liebman, had endured since starting their organization in September, 2020.
We agreed to discuss that later in the 60-minute interview. Rather, he was referring to an attack upon his Constitutional right to free speech occurring back in the fall of 2012, when he was a junior majoring in Radio Communication at Hofstra University in Nassau County, NY.
“My assignment for the class called “Radio Feature Production” was to produce a 10-minute radio feature which would later be shown and discussed in class,” recalled Farash. “As I discussed with my professor,” Farash continued, “the segment would be based on short interviews with 3 [Hofstra] university political science professors, covering America’s tax policy, regarding the ‘fiscal cliff’ financial crisis America was facing at the time.”
Farash told me he purposely chose one liberal, one moderate and one of Hofstra’s few conservative professors for the segment explaining, “I wanted my classmates to be exposed to different viewpoints and ideas. That is what a university should be all about.”
However, Farash recollected, that was where, according to the professor, he had made a terrible mistake. “The professor looked shocked as he previewed my production in his office. He told me that he had no idea that I would include the opinions of a conservative in my project,” Farash stated.
“And he warned me,” Farash added, “that he would take points off my grade unless I deleted my interview with the conservative, because he claimed it was biased.”
Before their meeting ended, however, the professor was to discover that he had found a student he couldn’t intimidate. “I wasn’t going to put up with that bullying,” said Farash, who quickly noted that he found a way to reverse roles with his professor.
“He was lecturing me. So I lectured him back,” Farash recalled. “I told him that a professor should never serve as a censor. Rather, if he did his job correctly, he would encourage opposing views, while, of course, requiring his students to be able to describe and defend their opinions.”
Explaining why his “lecture” to his professor did not end with those final arguably convincing words, Farash continued, “I was still concerned that he would make good on his threat to reduce my grade on my project. So I let him know that if he did what he had threatened to do, I would make a formal complaint to the department chair and try my best to have him fired.”
Farash told me that while he assumed that the department chair, a well-known left leaning academic, would not have punished, let alone fired, the professor for suppressing the opinion of a conservative, the threat still worked.
“I don’t think any student had challenged this bully before, so the poor guy looked frightened,” recalled Farash. “He told me to go ahead with the segment as it was. And he wound up giving me an “A” on the presentation and later an “A” in the course. I felt I had done my small part in winning a victory for free speech.”
For Farash, who by then had been transformed from a self-identified independent to a conservative Republican, it was also a victory for his new party.
“The conservative professor explained during his segment how Republican supported lower tax rates result in higher wages for workers and lower prices for consumers, and conversely, how Democratic supported higher tax rates have historically had the opposite effect,’’ Farash stated. “And it was he who received the most [of the three] positive comments from the class. So in a very small way, I also felt that I had done my part to support the conservative economic policies of the Republican Party.”
However, it was to take Farash, who after graduating from Hofstra in June, 2013 found a sales job in a marketing firm (which still currently employs him), six more years after the confrontation with the professor to resume his political activities.
“With work, friends and family, I was not focused on politics for several years. But by the end of 2018, after two years of watching the media, the Democratic Party and the egregious Mueller Commission attempt to destroy President Trump, I was disgusted and felt driven to fight back on behalf of our president and our nation,” Farash recalled.
Farash found a way to do just that. That same year he became involved in pro-Trump social media, gaining thousands of followers. His name and his pro-Trump crusade becoming known throughout the year in conservative circles, Farash was given the life-changing opportunity to serve as the MC of a pro-Trump, pro-America First rally on March 23, 2019. Held just one block from Trump Tower, the rally was attended by nearly 1,000 New York Trump supporters and featured a host of guest speakers.
“What an honor and privilege it was for me to stand and speak at the mike, as I watched almost 1,000 pro-Trump New Yorkers rally to support our great president,” exclaimed Farash. “It was great,’’Farash continued, “to introduce and hear the words of our guest speakers who documented President Trump’s unprecedented accomplishments with the economy and foreign affairs, while exposing the dishonesty of the leftist elite controlling the media and the Democratic Party, which spread total lies and falsehoods to try to destroy his presidency.”
Farash wasn’t done emceeing political rallies. On September 28th, 2019 he served as the MC at a pro-Constitution and pro-Second Amendment event held in Southington, Connecticut. And on June 6th, 2020 in Hartford, the Capital of Connecticut, he emceed his third rally, this one intended to support the First Amendment and oppose what he described as the “arbitrary and unscientific” COVID related restrictions.
“Thousands of people at both rallies were there to express their deep concerns about the left’s attempt to empower the federal government to limit our First and Second Amendment rights and to use the COVID epidemic as an excuse to limit our freedom to even leave our own homes,’’ Farash contended.
Noting that the rally in Connecticut’s capital featured among its guest speakers Brandon Straka, the founder of the conservative #Walk Away movement and Shelley Luther, the Dallas, Texas salon owner who had been arrested and jailed for serving customers in violation of COVID restrictions, Farash added, “Brandon explained why he left the Democrat Party and became a Republican, and Shelley explained why she decided to risk imprisonment by refusing to shut down her hair salon business during COVID 19 lockdown. The crowd loved them.”
By the fall of 2020, however, Farash decided to change the mode, but not the message of his rallies. “I decided to have caravan rallies. I felt this would draw the public’s and the media’s attention to our pro-Trump, pro-Constitution, America first message,” he remembered.
Farash’s first caravan rally, which was held on September 6th and spanned 40 miles from Suffolk County’s village of Copiague to the town of Shirley turned out to be a seminal event for him and his cause.
“I was expecting only about 50 drivers to attend. But amazingly there were more than 300. So I decided to hold future events the same way,” Farash explained.
The rally also provided an even greater benefit to Farash. “At the end of the rally I had the good fortune of meeting Kevin Smith and Heather Liebman,” he recalled. “We learned that we shared the same conservative political philosophy and the same passion and commitment to conservatism and loyalty to President Trump.”
Farash and his two new cohorts soon put that passion and commitment into action. Within a week after their meeting at the rally, they co-founded the aforementioned “Long Island Loud Majority,” which within two months had more than 40,000 members.
“Our message was getting through loud and clear to a growing number of Americans,” Farash stated. It was. Starting on September 20th as the presidential campaign geared into full swing Farash, by then joined by Smith and Liebman, held four pro-Trump LILM sponsored caravan rallies- three on Long Island and one in Connecticut. The rallies, which in total drew more than 30,000 participants, were covered by Long Island print and broadcast reporters, Fox News and Donald Trump’s You Tube channel.
“It was a great pleasure for me to hear thousands of people at each event cheer and applaud even the mention of the name President Donald Trump,” Farash enthused. “In addition to the tremendous similar enthusiasm of Trump supporters across the nation that I watched and heard every evening on tv, I was convinced Trump would be re-elected.”
Trump, of course did not ultimately win re-election. But, on November 5th, two days after the general election, with its final outcome then still being hotly disputed, under the banner of their organization Farash, Smith and Liebman spearheaded a broadcast media widely reported, pro-Trump rally attended by several hundred people at the Bellmore Train Station in Nassau County, Long Island. Describing the event, Farash stated, “Thousands of people came to support President Trump and to protest what we believed was a dishonest election.”
Shortly after the rally, however, Farash, Smith and Liebman experienced an unpleasant surprise. “Facebook cancelled Long Island Loud Majority. And they also cancelled the personal pages of all three of us,” Farash lamented.
Even before the day ended, though, the three crusaders found a way to partially recover. “When we realized what Facebook had done, that same day we created a new ‘Long Island Loud Majority’ site. And 10,000 members joined overnight,” Farash proudly noted.
LILM, Farash informed me, has since grown to 20,000 members. That sounded encouraging except, as I pointed out to him, for the very real possibility that Facebook could cancel LILM again.
“Don’t worry about that,’’ Farash replied. “We have already made contingency plans to have several other internet platforms run the website. The message would then ring loud and clear that the Long Island Loud Majority will never be defeated by censors.”
The same, I might add, could be said of Shawn Farash himself, as a certain Hofstra University Professor probably learned eight years ago.