A former contestant on the reality show, Survivor, has been using an alias to ‘honey pot’ Democrats and then secretly record them while luring them to make incriminating statements.
Hope Higgins, whose real name is Anna Khait, has been working for Project Veritas.
The right-wing activist group is known to produce videos which are deceptively edited, often via the use of secret recordings and entrapment to discredit mainstream media organizations and progressive groups.
One of those caught by Khait is Democratic campaign worker Michael Kolenc who was approached under the Hope Higgins alias in July 2018.
Hope Higgins, whose real name is Anna Khait, was a former contestant on Survivor, pictured, who has been working for Project Veritas, in an attempt shoot undercover video with unsuspecting Democrats in the hope they may say something incriminating
Claiming to be a journalist working on a politics podcast Red State Blue State, Khait posed as its co-host.
She posed as a Democrat adding that she was keen to discuss Beto O’Rourke’s chances in the Texas Senate race later that year.
‘I am looking forward to hearing about Beto. I’ve heard some not so great things but we have got to win in 2018!’ Khait wrote to Kolenc hiding behind her liberal Hope Higgins persona.
After the interview was complete, Khait tried to break down Kolenc’s defenses further by inviting him for drinks saying she would ‘enjoy the company’.
Kolenc had already been interviewed in Houston by Khait but she was hungry for new material.
Khait managed to lure former Democratic campaign worker Michael Kolenc, pictured
Kolenc spoke disparagingly about his former boss, Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Kolenc had been dismissed by Brown two years earlier. He claims Khait posed as a journalist and then pretended she was attracted to him
‘She was very flirty, she would touch my arm,’ Kolenc told The Daily Beast. ‘I was definitely picking up a more romantic feeling than a ‘journalist’.’
Weeks after the interview when Khait had returned to Brooklyn, Kolenc had felt a connection and flew to New York to meet her once again.
He managed to spend a few days with her but she seemed reluctant to spend too much time together. After he returned to Houston, Texas, Khait ghosted him and was never heard from again.
Kolenc only realized he had been the victim of an elaborate ruse after receiving a voicemail from Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe.
O’Keefe told him that he was going to release video of Kolenc being critical of his former boss, Democratic Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
Former Survivor contestant Anna Khait is seen wearing a MAGA hat in photos from her Instagram page
The undercover video saw Kolenc criticizing Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s management of her campaign. The governor is pictured last month
The footage of the Khait/Kolenc encounter was released a month before Oregon’s gubernatorial election in 2018.
Kolenc had already been fired as Brown’s campaign manager two years earlier.
The undercover video saw Kolenc criticizing Brown’s management of her campaign.
‘I said Brown was a bad manager, and I probably would criticize some of her management skills. But that’s nothing that deserves a hidden camera exposé by someone who’s trying to honey pot me,’ Kolenc said.
Oregon Republicans used the video to file an ethics complaint against Brown while Oregon Democrats described Kolenc as ‘disgruntled and discredited’ party worker.
‘It took a toll on my mental health. It made me less trusting of people,’ Kolenc said.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe has defended the methods his group use. In 2018, he wrote that a ‘key distinction between the Project Veritas journalist and establishment reporters’ is that ‘while we use deception to gain access, we never deceive our audience’
Khait was one of several women who were tasked with secretly recording targets on camera according to the New York Times.
Project Veritas would not go into detail about how they go about coordinating their business.
‘We do not comment on the details, real or imagined, of our investigations. Project Veritas is proud of its investigations, including that of Oregon Governor Kate Brown,’ ‘the organization wrote in an emailed statement to The Beast.
O’Keefe defended the methods his group use. In 2018, he wrote that a ‘key distinction between the Project Veritas journalist and establishment reporters’ is that ‘while we use deception to gain access, we never deceive our audience.’
Former Survivor contestant Anna Khait is seen with General Michael Flynn in a Facebook photo posted from April of this year
Khait first appeared in public as a Survivor contestant in the show’s 32nd season.
She was eliminated by her fellow castmates early on in the season after just a few episodes.
Khait describes herself on her social media profiles as a ‘Follower of Jesus- Forgiven and Redeemed, Animal Lover, Conservative.’
She also has her own YouTube channel with almost 83,000 followers where she discusses dreams she has had and interprets passages from the Bible.
Nevertheless, the Hope Higgins alias still appears to be alive and well.
Khait recently teamed up with Accuracy in Media president Adam Guillette, pictured
In March 2021, Khait went after union activists in West Virginia for another conservative group called Accuracy in Media.
Under her pseudonym, Khait sent messages to union activist Jay O’Neal.
In that instance, she pretended to be looking to sell a house she owned in order to donate the proceeds to an organization in the state.
O’Neal met with Khait and a man pretending to be her husband, the president of Accuracy in Media, Adam Guillette.
Although the aim of the meeting was to discuss the donation, O’Neal was pushed on issues of education such as whether union members were more radical than their leadership and whether what was taught in schools might be influenced through donations.
Anna Khait is pictured at the January 6 Donald Trump rally in Washington D.C.
The question came just as the topic of critical race theory became a major flashpoint within the nation’s schools.
Three months after the bizarre meetup, Accuracy in Media released the undercover video of O’Neal but it had a muddled message and failed to make any sort of impact generating fewer than 3,400 views.
O’Neal has thought back to the day of the meetup and says that he realized things were amiss.
Khait managed to surreptitiously record West Virginia teachers union member Jay O’Neal, pictured, for another Conservative group, Accuracy in Media
He only appears fleetingly in the video as he mentions his membership of the Democratic Socialists of America while briefly discussing high salaries for school superintendents.
‘I thought ‘Holy s***, this is the weirdest and craziest thing ever. ‘Who paid them to come out here, and what was the purpose?”
However, it appears the days of Hope Higgins are numbered.
In May she is said to have targeted local union branches of the Texas American Federation of Teachers under the guise she wanted to learn more about ‘Texas public school culture’ with a view to applying for a union job.
Officials were immediately suspicious and quickly learned about her undercover activities with members warned to avoid her.