Jason Köhne, a Virginia-based white nationalist podcaster, has close to 21,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. One of those followers, Raymond VanBuskirk, is a 49-year-old extremist who associates with the anti-government militia movement, posts a steady stream of white supremacist content online, and was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to a federal gun charge in 2016.
VanBuskirk isn’t just a fan of Köhne’s content, however. He also boasted on more than one occasion of working as Köhne’s YouTube live chat moderator.
Raymond VanBuskirk currently lives with his wife Heidi — who shares her husband’s deeply racist views — in Jamestown, NY according to online records and information disclosed by the couple. (Heidi VanBuskirk first came onto my radar after tagging me in a tweet which was retweeted by her husband.) Raymond currently operates two Facebook pages, one of which contains numerous posts promoting New York-based militias.
On the first Facebook page, where he lists his name as “Ray,” he has posted pro-militia content since 2014. On Aug. 30, 2014 VanBuskirk changed his profile picture to a photo of a gun-toting man dressed in camouflage. It bore the watermark of “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children” — a Sarasota, FL-based anti-government group — and was captioned with “I AM THE SOLUTION IN CASE THE TEA PARTY FAILS! I AM THE III%!”
The Three Percenters constitute a segment of America’s broader militia movement, and was inspired by the inaccurate claim that only three percent of Americans took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War.
According to the ADL, Three Percenters “believe that, just as a small revolutionary vanguard overthrew the tyrannical British rule in America, a dedicated group of modern patriots could rid the United States of today’s alleged tyranny.” They also note that the Three Percenters aren’t a single group or movement, but instead “constitute a major part of the broader anti-government militia movement, whose ideology they share.”
It should be noted, however, that some anti-government groups do incorporate “III%” into their names, such as the III% Defense Militia and American Patriots Three Percent.
In June 2015 VanBuskirk joined up with other right-wing activists to protest the NY SAFE Act — a gun control measure passed in 2013 as a response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which left twenty children dead. Photos posted to his Facebook page show him protesting alongside members of S.C.O.P.E., a pro-Second Amendment non-profit which vows to “Protect, Restore and Expand the gun rights of all New Yorkers.”
He also shared a video of a “meet and greet” between members of SCOPE and a group called New York Revolution (NYR) in Binghamton, NY.
In the video, three speakers gave a presentation on the militia movement, specifically in New York. One of the three — a bearded man with a tan shirt who said he “sit[s] on the Board for the United American Militia Advisory Council” — told the audience that “the militia really is ‘we the people,'” and encouraged them to “get involved in the Three Percenter branch.”
VanBuskirk also posted multiple photos of himself in front of an American flag with the Three Percenter logo — the Roman numeral III surrounded by thirteen stars. In several of these photos VanBuskirk is dressed in camouflage and posing by holding out three fingers — another nod to the Three Percenters. In one photo he is sporting a Three Percenter patch bearing the name “New York State Liberty Guard.”
Like other militia movement adherents, VanBuskirk has had run-ins with the law. In Sept. 2016 he pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon. According to a Justice Department release, VanBuskirk “moved two rifles, one shotgun, and over one thousand rounds of .223 caliber ammunition from his home to another location” and “retained a third rifle at his home.”
According to the 2016 release VanBuskirk had a previous New York State felony conviction for sale of a controlled substance and was legally prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. Although the charge carried a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine, VanBuskirk was ultimately sentenced to six months in April 2017.
His political beliefs were growing more extreme as well.
On the Facebook page for “Ray VanBuskirk” he changed his cover photo to a banner with “#BLACKCRIMESMATTER” written in a red, blood-like font. A caption underneath reads “If you’re anti white, fuck off!!!!” On a second Facebook page, where he lists his name as “Raymond VanBuskirk,” a caption reads “Extremely pro European, our people all over the world!!!! I love my people of European decent [sic]…”
His second Facebook page is replete with explicitly racists posts, like one which disparagingly refers to Black ballot counters during the 2020 election as “riggers” — a not-so-subtle play on a racial slur — and another in which he asked, “Why are the people who commit a disproportionate amount of crime in this country the same ones counting our votes??”
On Sept. 8, 2020 VanBuskirk posted a doctored image of a character from the children’s’ show Paw Patrol kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. “Think I may crack open a beer and celebrate George Floyd’s 109th day of sobriety… We knew he could do it!” he wrote. On Nov. 14 he posted a screen shot from the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes and wrote “How BLM started…”
And in a Nov. 12, 2020 post, VanBuskirk claimed the “african [sic] American average IQ is 85 and European American IQ is 100.”
At some point VanBuskirk became a fan of Jason Köhne, a white nationalist podcaster and author who hosts the YouTube show Going Free and co-hosts two other programs: The After Party with Jared George and Patriotic Weekly Review with Mark Collett. Köhne preaches a euphemism-laden political philosophy, encouraging “Westernkind” to break free from “anti-white” propaganda.
But Köhne’s rhetoric often aligns with that of almost any other white nationalist.
He’s downplayed apartheid, likening it to taking in a homeless person but restricting what parts of your house they can enter. He’s angrily insisted that “there is a danger to miscegenation,” because “if [white women are] not producing babies with white men, they’re not white babies.” And he praised Neo-Nazi author William Luther Pierce, saying the only question is “how tall” his statue will be “when we regain our destiny.”
VanBuskirk has enthusiastically shared Köhne’s videos on both of his Facebook accounts. On Oct. 30, 2020 he shared an article about a Schuykill County, PA billboard which advertised Köhne’s website but had been defaced. (According to the article, Köhne had actually paid for the billboard.) “Fuckers vandalized our No White Guilt[dot]org sign…” he complained.
VanBuskirk also made it clear that he did more than watch and share Köhne’s videos, however. On several occasions he told Facebook friends that he actually worked for him. On July 9, 2020 he posted a video to his Facebook and wrote “Powerful video from a Pod Caster I work for…” The video was made by a white supremacist who goes by “Minotaur of Rebellion,” but it was uploaded to Köhne’s main YouTube channel.
On Sept. 14, 2020 — on the “Raymond VanBuskirk” Facebook page — he posted a banner with an American flag and the words “NO WHITE GUILT” emblazoned on it. A friend of his apparently recognized the banner, writing that he listens to Köhne’s show “from time to time” but “forget[s] even though [he’s] hit the bell for notifications.” (The bell is a YouTube feature that sends notifications to subscribers that a new video has been posted.)
VanBuskirk replied with “Stop in the chat, I work as a mod for Jason.”
And on Sept. 27 — using the same Facebook account — he posted a link to Köhne’s YouTube livestream. “I will be here at 5 EST for the Going Free livestream,” he wrote. “Any of my white positive friends are welcome to join the chat. I moderate the comments so say hello… Going live in 44 minutes… I hope to see a few there.”
I confirmed Raymond VanBuskirk’s moderator status by playing back the YouTube live chat for one of his recent videos. In an episode of Going Free dated Nov. 29, 2020, a replay of the live chat shows several moderators enter the chat before the episode starts.
After five minutes a user named “Greymond VanBuskirk” entered the chat and posted the message “Hey beautiful @Heidi Kunisch VanBuskirk” — using his wife’s full name. Shortly after Heidi responded: “@Greymond VanBuskirk – Hey Honey..” In addition, “Greymond VanBuskirk” is the same name Raymond VanBuskirk uses on his Twitter account — @Ray_VanBuskirk — where he mocks the Holocaust and complains about living near Black people.
He even uses the same avatar — a photo of himself wearing a hat, sunglasses, and skull mask.
In order to designate a person a moderator, a YouTube user must simply open YouTube Studio, click the “settings” option, go to a section labeled “Community,” and then enter a user’s name in the “Moderators” box. A person who has been designated a moderator will be able to remove comments and interact with the audience. To distinguish between moderators and average users, moderators’ names are highlighted blue and accompanied by a wrench symbol.
In the aforementioned Going Free video, the name “Greymond VanBuskirk” is highlighted in blue and is followed by a wrench symbol.
Jason Köhne did not respond to a question via Twitter direct message about whether Raymond VanBuskirk worked for him. But he clearly appreciates VanBuskirk’s support, and addressed him as “good brother” in a Dec. 9, 2019 tweet. On a Nov. 22, 2020 episode of Going Free, Köhne even gave him a shout-out while addressing members of his live chat, affectionately referring to him as “the great Raymond VanBuskirk.”