Yesterday it was reported that Nick Fuentes, a virulently racist and antisemitic podcaster, had finally been suspended from YouTube for violating the platform’s ban on hate speech. Fuentes, who attended the white power “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, routinely used his platform to disparage African-Americans, Jews, women, and LGBTQ people.
The America First host wrote in a tweet that his channel had been “wrongly terminated today for an alleged violation of ‘hate speech’ policy.” He asserted that his suspension was “the end result of a concerted effort by leftists, conservative inc gatekeepers, and silicon valley censors to silence my show and the movement it has inspired.”
(Fuentes is a figurehead of the so-called “groyper” movement, a loose confederation of white nationalists and other extremists who have rebranded themselves ahead of the 2020 presidential election. He has also dubbed his fans “Nickers,” which is phonetically similar to a particular racial slur.)
However, given Fuentes’ track record, it is perfectly understandable as to why his channel had been banned. Fuentes cut his teeth as a pro-Trump radio host with the Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN), and made headlines in April 2017 when he called for the execution of CNN “globalists.” In August leaked audio showed Fuentes complaining about Jews and calling interracial sex “degenerate.”
After his attendance at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally was publicized, RSBN severed ties with Fuentes, who went on to co-host The Nationalist Review with white nationalist James Allsup. After that partnership broke down, Fuentes turned full-time to hosting America First, a show where he regularly espoused fascist and white nationalist beliefs.
During an August 5, 2019 episode, Fuentes declared that, “White nationalism literally is what America was founded upon,” and condemned the “bastardized Jewish subversion of ‘the American creed.'” Fuentes also attacked conservative pundit Matt Walsh as a “shabbos goy race traitor” and a “faggot.” The antisemitic outburst was cut from the episode but preserved by a fan of Fuentes.
In a September 16, 2019 post on Telegram, Fuentes implied that Jews were behind the “redefinition of America according to the experience of colored persons as compared to the white man.” And in a video clip from America First posted to YouTube in November 2019, Fuentes opined that Jim Crow was “better” for whites and African-Americans.
In another now infamous video clip, Fuentes read a question from a fan that likened the burning of bodies in Nazi extermination camps to baking cookies: “[I]f I take one hour to cook a batch of cookies, and Cookie Monster has 15 ovens, working 24 hours a day every day for five years, how long does it take Cookie Monster to make six million batches of cookies.”
Fuentes responded that it was a “good question” and that the “math doesn’t seem to add up there.” He ended his answer by saying “it just kind of doesn’t really make sense, this crazy cookie analogy … So six million cookies, eh, eh, I don’t buy it.” Questioning the number of bodies the Nazis were able to cremate is common among Holocaust deniers.
Nonetheless, Fuentes has received support from mainstream conservatives to extreme right commentators to open white nationalists.
Ben Shapiro, the founder of The Daily Wire with his own history of racist rhetoric, tweeted that if Fuentes was “banned for his idiotic, garbage viewpoints rather than for violent threats, YouTube shouldn’t be deplatforming him.” Shapiro was rewarded with a barrage of racist tweets from Fuentes’ fans.
Michelle Malkin tweeted, “I call bull. You need to sit this one out, son” at Shapiro. Malkin, an ally of the groyper movement, will be speaking alongside Fuentes and other white nationalists at the racist America First Political Action Conference. One of the other speakers, white nationalist Scott Greer, tweeted “Big F” — a nod to a funeral cut scene from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Far-right pundit Lauren “Roaming Millennial” Chen tweeted, “I don’t care how you feel about the people getting booted, I’m not OK with Big Tech controlling our public discourse.” Allum Bokhari of Breitbart News decried Fuentes’ ban as “another act of political censorship by YouTube,” and challenged other conservatives to defend the racist podcaster.
Conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson tweeted, “Fuentes banned by YouTube after taking on Conservative Inc. and them all calling for his deplatforming. Really makes you think.” Later he lashed out at the “tedious, insipid bores who are threatened by anything funny, original or authentic,” and called deplatforming the “revenge of the dullards.”
Right-wing YouTube personality and apparent online harasser Jeremy “The Quartering” Hambly tweeted that “unless the dude broke TOS which I have seen no evidence of this is a disgrace.” And Mark Meechan, a Scottish YouTuber who goes by “Count Dankula,” defended his decision to retweet Fuentes by asking, “Wait, I thought I was a Nazi? So why are you shocked?”
Infowars host J. Owen Shroyer invited Fuentes onto his War Room show to discuss the ban, and repeatedly defended him against accusations of racism, antisemitism, and promotion of violence. Pleading ignorance, Shroyer told viewers that he’s “never heard Nick Fuentes say anything that would be considered violent or suggesting violence,” or “anything that would be considered hate speech.”
Instead, Shroyer falsely claimed that Fuentes had been targeted purely for his political opinions. “That’s why he got banned, is because he’s ‘America First,’ because he says what he thinks, he doesn’t back down, he doesn’t get bullied by the Left or the Right,” Shroyer said. “Actually, quite frankly, he takes more heat from the Right because he says things that they’re afraid to say.”
Fuentes told Shroyer that he “hit the nail on the head” as to why his channel was suspended, and played himself up as a victim of what he called “Conservatism, Inc.” “They’ve been using the hate speech — that’s been the pretext for years to censor and silence true conservatives, true nationalists online,” Fuentes told Shroyer.
Shroyer also defended Fuentes’ comments on Israel and the Jews, claiming that “as far as I can tell — I’ve never seen you say anything about hating Jews.” He added that he agreed with Fuentes that Israel has “way too much influence on our foreign policy in the Middle East, which has led to an abuse of the military industrial complex.” In effect, he whitewashed Fuentes’ long history of vicious antisemitism.
Although it is unclear precisely what videos accounted for the final two strikes on Fuentes’ channel — or why it took so long to ban him — at least one white nationalist is celebrating. Prior to Fuentes’ ban, Jean-François “J.F.” Gariépy denounced Fuentes during an episode of his online show, The Public Space.
Gariépy said Fuentes had been “attacking” him and, in response, said Fuentes was now in his “black book.” “I’ve blocked him on Twitter and I will do what I do when people fall in my black book: I will take joy in all of their failures, I will document their failures on this show until the day they die,” Gariépy announced.
“I will not talk with them, I will not engage with them, and the day they die I will write their biography, and underline just how poorly their lives have been spent pursuing bad ideas and being wrong all the time.”
After the news of the ban broke, Gariépy issued the following celebratory tweet: “Nick Fuentes is gone from YouTube. Thanks to all the antifa volunteers who have contributed to our campaign.” Although Fuentes’ fans attacked Gariépy — some pointing out that he once received $25,000 from deceased sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein — not everyone was upset about the ban.