Last weekend Rebel Media reporter Faith Goldy attended the white power “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Goldy, presumably working on a story for the Canadian alt-lite news outlet, witnessed several of the skirmishes which took place that day, as well as the moment when Vanguard America supporter James Fields Jr. plowed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing one and injuring over a dozen others.
On August 17, 2017, Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant posted a video announcing that they had officially severed ties with Goldy. In explaining why, Levant pointed out that Goldy had not only gone to the Charlottesville rally against his wishes, but had appeared on a podcast by The Daily Stormer, which Levant called “too far.”
The podcast in question, The Krypto Report, is hosted by Robert “Azzmador” Ray, a fifty-year-old Neo-Nazi who was also featured in Vice’s documentary Charlottesville: Race and Terror. In the video, Ray claimed that Charlottesville is run by “Jewish Communists and criminal niggers,” and boasted that their supporters “greatly outnumbered the anti-white, anti-American filth” protesting them.
During her time on the Krypto Report, Goldy seemed largely sympathetic toward the white nationalist rally goers. At one point Robert Ray said that alt-righters were “starting to come out, and in force,” and that the “only thing that they have left now is to sic the government on us.” Goldy agreed and added, “I’ll tell you right now, I think today proved that the rule of law is dead in America — the fact that there is one set of laws that is applied to the Left and another side that is applied to the Right.”
And that wasn’t their only point of agreement. Goldy went on to say that “racial identity politics is alive and well in America,” at least for people of color. She lamented that “what you have is a bunch of young, white men who have been completely drenched in non-white identity politics, and any time that their own race has been brought up, they’re told that it’s your fault, you’re culpable, and you basically amount to zero.”
This fixation on non-white identity politics coupled with “young men with lots of testosterone” is what fuels the alt-right, she suggested.
After Ray compared the Charlottesville rally (favorably) to Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, Goldy spoke up to denounce the U.S. as “Weimerica” and “the new Berlin.” “We have been completely steeped in all that is debaucherous, degenerate, pornographic, salacious, self-indulgent, and repugnant.”
She called traditionalism “part of the human psyche,” and alleged that people were “waking up” to the fact that it’s being eradicated “despite decades of lies being rammed down our throats.” Ray agreed and said Goldy made a “great point.”
The backlash to Goldy’s interview was swift. On August 14th, Rebel Media co-founder Brian Lilley quit in protest, writing in a (now deleted) Facebook post that:
I may have helped start The Rebel, but I am no longer with The Rebel.
I wish them well going forward but no longer feel comfortable being part of the group that originally planned to carry on the legacy of Sun News.
. . .
This departure has been a long time coming. What may have started as a concern over the harsh tone taken on some subjects came to a head with this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
What anyone from The Rebel was doing at a so-called “unite the right” rally that was really an anti-Semitic white power rally is beyond me. Especially not a rally dedicated to keeping up a statue of Robert E. Lee, a man that whatever else he stood for, also fought on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of America’s bloodiest conflict.
. . .
What The Rebel suffers from is a lack of editorial and behavioural judgment that left unchecked will destroy it and those around it. For that reason, I am leaving.
As a serious journalist with nearly 20 years experience at the highest levels in this country, and abroad, I cannot be a part of this.
I am not comfortable being associated with a group that, rightly or wrongly, is being increasingly viewed as associated with the likes of Richard Spencer. Like many of you, I had family that fought the Nazis, I never want to be in the same room as one.
I am also not comfortable with the increasingly harsh tone taken on issues like immigration, or Islam. There are ways to disagree on policy without resorting to us versus them rhetoric.
And in an appearance on the radio program As It Happens, Lilley reiterated that Goldy’s appearance in Charlottesville “was just the last straw for me.” He also revealed that he and Ezra Levant parted ways in a less-than-amicable fashion.
And it wasn’t just Lilley who distanced himself from the Rebel. Conservative National Post columnist Barbara Kay, who had joined Rebel Media this year as the group’s Montreal correspondent, announced her departure as well. In a statement posted to Facebook and Twitter, Kay cited Levant’s hiring of “contributors whose message and tactics have tarnished the Rebel brand.”
John Robson, another National Post columnist, severed ties with the Rebel the same day, and issued the following statement on his personal website:
With regret I have decided no longer to contribute my “It Happened Today” pieces to Rebel Media.
I very much appreciate what Ezra Levant and others in the organization have done to challenge conventional wisdom and defy political correctness and am grateful for the opportunity to be part of it. But I now find the tone too unconstructive and think The Rebel has drifted too far from its mission of covering the news from a refreshing perspective.
If you enjoy the “It Happened Today” feature please contribute on my website if you are not already a backer and we will continue to publish them.
Conservative MP Peter Kent, who appeared on an October 2016 episode of The Ezra Levant Show, denounced Goldy’s Charlottesville coverage as “hateful” and “repugnant.” Asked whether or not he would return to do another segment for the Rebel, Kent replied, “I ruled out appearances when Rebel went off rails with hateful anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic content. Now white supremacy — beyond the pale.”
Meanwhile, the news site Canadaland reported that Rebel Media fixture Gavin McInnes “has planned to announce his departure at the end of August.” Canadaland stated that this was confirmed by Ezra Levant who stated that McInnes “was lured away by a major competitor that we just couldn’t outbid.” McInnes has a longer track record of promoting racism and anti-Semitism than Faith Goldy, having conducted interviews with InfoWars blowhard Alex Jones and American Renaissance founder Jared Taylor.
In March, McInnes posted an anti-Semitic video called “10 Things I Hate About Jews” in which he called Hebrew “spit talk” and said Israelis have a “whiny paranoid fear of Nazis that’s making them scared of Christians and Trumps who are their greatest allies.” He also accused the Jewish people of being insufficiently grateful to America for defeating Nazi Germany.
‘An Ethical Black Hole’
But the Rebel’s problems don’t end with hate speech and disturbing ties to alt-right activists.
To compound the company’s problems, former employee Caolan Robertson posted a damning video to YouTube in which he accused Levant of scuttling unfavorable stories and financial chicanery. According to Robertson, Levant had routinely misinformed supporters about the amount of donations collected and pressured employees to turn stories into petitions in order to collect email addresses and ask for more money.
He alleged that Rebel employees like Lauren Southern were let go for fear that they would blow the whistle, and that Levant used a combination of legal intimidation and bribery to ensure their silence. A surreptitious recording reveals Levant offering Robertson large sums of what Levant called “hush money,” as well as boasting that ex-employees like Southern and Jack Posobiec had been relatively silent about their reasons for leaving.
Robertson urged viewers to download and share his video far and wide, since he anticipates Levant will try to have the video removed. “It’s pretty likely I’m gonna be sued,” Robertson said, “Probably almost immediately. But enough is enough. I’m calling time on this bullshit. For too long people have been allowed to donate literally blindly to a corporation that’s simply a money-making machine. I believe that Rebel is an ethical black hole, and that [if] people are giving their hard-earned money to it they deserve to know the truth.”
In a video rebuttal to Robertson’s video, Levant accused Robertson and his partner George Llewelyn John of blackmailing him after working with the Rebel for only three to four months. According to Levant, he had given Robertson and John several thousand pounds for rent and apartment furniture. Levant said the pair were eventually fired for cause, but that they later successfully extorted him out of thousands of pounds because, he said, they planned on going public with untrue allegations that Levant had been misappropriating donations.
Regardless of which side is correct on this matter and which side is committing fraud, there is no doubt that Rebel Media is currently in a downward spiral. Conservatives are beginning to sour on the alternative media company for its willingness to engage in hate speech and its burgeoning ties to white nationalism. A mass exodus of employees has hobbled its operations. And legal action against Robertson — whether he’s a disgruntled former employee or a whistleblower — could tie up Levant’s company for the foreseeable future, ethical black hole or not.