On July 28, 2019, far-right MMA fighter Tara LaRosa tweeted a supposed list of anti-fascist activists and organizers ahead of an upcoming Proud Boys rally in Portland. According to LaRosa’s tweet, the imageboard site 8chan “just released a massive, comprehensive list of every single #Antifa member and organizer.”
The problem, however, is that the list is a hoax created by racist trolls.
The list was devised on 8chan, an extremist forum where white supremacist terrorists have uploaded their manifestos. On the 8chan thread in question — the tag line of which is “Gas the kikes, race war now” — the top post states “Fight fire with fire. Semper fidelis.” What follows is a list of alleged anti-fascists.
Yet as BuzzFeed News reported in 2017, the list was merely created by using the names of people who signed an anti-Trump petition from Refusefascism.org. Other names were taken from groups such as By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), a pro-immigrant organization, and David Brock’s left-wing ShareBlue website.
In other words, the list is of random left-wing individuals and not of committed anti-fascist activists and organizers. As The Daily Beast pointed out last year after it was revealed that Louisiana police officers fell for the hoax, “antifa” is not a structured organization, “making a ‘full list of antifa’ impossible to compile.”
What’s more, the website LaRosa linked to was that of The Red Elephants, an alt-right media collective whose founder, Vincent James, has made appearances on white supremacist podcasts.
In October 2017 James appeared on a podcast hosted on the Neo-Nazi website Radio Wehrwolf and ranted about “cultural Marxism.” During a September 2018 appearance on the white nationalist Red Ice TV, James blamed Jewish people for social media bans, telling the host that members of the Anti-Defamation League are “connected very similar in DNA to [Facebook COO] Sheryl Sandberg.”
When Twitter users pointed out that LaRosa had linked to white supremacist misinformation, LaRosa lashed out, telling one person “STFU you misandrist, libshit, socialism-lovin’ bitch” and “Take your feminist bangs and kindly fuck off”:
This reaction is entirely unsurprising given LaRosa’s affinity for the far-right Proud Boys group, whose members have engaged in bloody street brawls with anti-fascists. Leaked chat messages revealed several Proud Boys plotting violence at their rallies, while making it appear as though are acting in self-defense.
In early 2018 the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Proud Boys as a hate group.
In an October 19, 2018 tweet, LaRosa wrote, “I roll with the #ProudBoys and I’ll be in Portland, OR for the #HimToo rally November 17th.” The misogynistic #HimToo rally was organized by Patriot Prayer member Haley Adams as a response to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, who had been accused of sexual assault.
Adams has used the #WHITEPRIDE hashtag on social media, and was photographed at a rally wearing a helmet sporting 4chan’s racist “It’s OK To Be White” slogan.
LaRosa currently works as a “cage fighter” who “teach[es] other people how to fight and defend themselves for a living” according to a May 11, 2018 tweet.
LaRosa has also been working in Michigan as a realtor for Keller Williams Realty. LaRosa’s contact information currently appears on the Keller Williams website, and according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, LaRosa is still listed as “active” and doing business as Keller Williams Realty Lakeside Market.
LaRosa confirmed her profession in an August 13, 2018 tweet. “I’m a realtor in MI, and can absolutely hook you up with someone” she wrote in response to a woman who needed a realtor in California.
Photo credit: Wandering Lens