Joseph Randall Biggs
Joe Biggs (left) and Ethan Nordean near the U.S Capitol Building on January 6, 2021
Born1984 (age 36–37)

Joseph Randall Biggs (born 1983–1984),[1] is an American who is a leading figure in the Proud Boys group.[2] In March 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Biggs for conspiracy in connection with the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.[3][4]

Career

Biggs has described himself as a U.S. Army veteran who was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was raised there.[5]

Activism and broadcasting

Biggs is a far-right online personality.[6] He is also a leading figure and organizer of the Proud Boys, an extremist group with nationalist, neofascist and self-proclaimed "Western-chauvinist" views.[7][8][9][10][11]

From at least 2012 through 2016, Biggs posted violent, misogynistic, and sexually violent content on Twitter.[6][12] In 2017, Media Matters for America reported that Biggs had made comments on social media promoting "date rape and sexual violence". He had advocated using chloroform and roofies to have non-consensual sex with women. According to the staff writers, he threatened a past partner with revenge porn and threatened violence against transgender people (posting, "Punch a tranny").[12] Biggs issued a statement to Raw Story describing his personal problems following his Army discharge: "I became very depressed and turned to alcohol and the over abuse of painkillers that had been prescribed to me while I was in."[13] Biggs said that he was suicidal at that time, and "decided to cry out for help," admitting that "I would say outlandish things on Twitter in hopes someone shocked would say 'Hey, what the hell is wrong with you?'"[13]

In January 2017, Biggs announced that he was doing a pilot show for Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN), a pro-Trump online channel. The show was to be dedicated to guns and the Second Amendment, and the pilot episode was posted online.[12] The online TV show was not produced following the pilot, following the reporting on Biggs' history of pro-violence comments on social media.[14] RSBN's CEO Joe Seales told Media Matters that Biggs "never worked for or with us. We worked up the idea of a pilot for a show, which included him, but it wasn't meant to be."[14]

Biggs is an organizer for Proud Boys and a former InfoWars staff member,[15][16] where he was an "on-camera personality".[17] Biggs also hosted a show on censored.TV that has since been removed from that website.[17] His Twitter account was blocked after posting threatening comments about antifa, such as "We hunt them. Get their info. Expose them. Make them scared to be in public."[17]

Biggs works as a talk radio host.[18] He organized the End Domestic Terrorism rally in Portland, Oregon, in August 2019.[19] Prior to the rally, Biggs posted memes about death squads murdering leftists, proclaimed "Death to Antifa!", and suggested a spiked weapon would "be put to good use,” before his Twitter account was suspended.[20] In 2019, Biggs advocated for laws to ban protesters from wearing masks.[19]

In March 2021, Biggs' lawyer, J. Daniel Hull, stated in a court filing that Biggs had acted as an FBI informant in 2019 and 2020, reporting on planned locations and routes for Proud Boys rallies as well as the activities by Antifa that he observed.[21]

Participation in the 2021 Capitol attack

Further information: Proud Boys § Participation in the 2021 Capitol attack

In the weeks before the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Biggs and other leading Proud Boys posted on Parler, calling on their followers to dress "incognito" on January 6, hoping to pass as antifa. "We are going to smell like you, move like you, and look like you. The only thing we’ll do that’s us is think like us!", he wrote, and "Jan 6th is gonna be epic.[22] On January 6, Biggs and Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean led a mob of Proud Boys members and supporters, as they marched near the Capitol. Biggs used a walkie-talkie to issue instructions, while Nordean used a bullhorn to communicate with the crowd. A Proud Boys livestreamer described the pair as "Two men on a mission, with about 500 behind them ready to kick some butt for the benefit of this country".[23] Alongside Nordean and other Proud Boys,[23] Biggs entered the Capitol, where he was seen on a number of video recordings and photographs; in one video, someone calls out Biggs' name and in response, he said, "This is awesome!"[24]

In 2021, Biggs was arrested on charges arising from his participation in the Capitol attack.[24] Three other Proud Boys leaders, including Nordean, were also charged.[25] The charges against Biggs are "conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, destruction of government property, entering and remaining in a restricted building and disorderly conduct in a restricted building."[25] In the March 2021 indictment, federal prosecutors charged in the indictment with participating in the planning, preparation, and carrying out the insurrection, including fundraising for Proud Boys to travel to Washington; acquiring paramilitary and tactical gear and supplies; and using radio and encrypted messaging apps to coordinate the siege of the Capitol.[25] The indictment says that the four Proud Boys leaders were among the first to forcibly breach the police lines and enter the Capitol, alongside the Oath Keepers.[25] Biggs was initially granted pretrial release on condition of home confinement,[25] but his bail (along with the bail for Nordean) was revoked after more serious charges were brought against them and new evidence emerged regarding their leading role in planning the attack on the Capitol.[26] In ordering bail revoked, Judge Timothy J. Kelly said: "The defendants stand charged with seeking to steal one of the crown jewels of our country, in a sense, by interfering with the peaceful transfer of power. It's no exaggeration to say the rule of law and ... in the end, the existence of our constitutional republic is threatened by it."[26] Biggs is held at the Seminole County Jail along with some other federal pretrial detainees.[27]

Personal life

Biggs's home is in Volusia County, Florida, in an unincorporated area near Ormond Beach, Florida.[27][17][28]

References

  1. ^ Polantz, Katelyn; Simon, Mallory; Vera, Amir (January 21, 2021). "Proud Boys leader Joseph Biggs arrested in Florida in connection with the Capitol riot". CNN. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  2. ^ Multiple sources:
  3. ^ Katelyn Polantz. "Two more Proud Boys indicted for Capitol riot as prosecutors detail evidence of planning". CNN.
  4. ^ "Proud Boys leaders facing new conspiracy charges related to Jan. 6 Capitol riot". POLITICO.
  5. ^ Jeff Weiner (January 21, 2021). "Who is Joseph Biggs, Ormond Beach man and Proud Boys organizer arrested in Capitol riot?". Orlando Sentinel.
  6. ^ a b Sara Sidner, Anna-Maja Rappard & Marshall Cohen (February 4, 2021). "Disproportionate number of current and former military personnel arrested in Capitol attack, CNN analysis shows". CNN. Biggs became an online personality of the far-right, spouting bombastic and sometimes violent rhetoric toward women and Antifa. As far back as 2012, there were a plethora of tweets mentioning sexual violence on his @RamboBiggs account, which has been archived by the Media Matters For America group.
  7. ^ "Proud Boy organizer arrested in Florida over riot at Capitol". www.wtap.com. Associated Press. Retrieved January 31, 2021. a self-described organizer for the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group ... neofascist group
  8. ^ "Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs charged in Capitol riot". NBC News. Retrieved January 31, 2021. Biggs, an organizer of the far-right, all-male group of self-described "Western chauvinists,"
  9. ^ Hsu, Spencer S. "Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs arrested as FBI alleges more possible planning in U.S. Capitol breach". Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2021. Proud Boys organizer Joseph Randall Biggs ... far-right nationalist group
  10. ^ Feuer, Alan (January 20, 2021). "A leader of the Proud Boys was arrested over his role at the Capitol riot". New York Times. Archived from the original on January 20, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2021. Joseph Biggs, a leader of the far-right nationalist group the Proud Boys
  11. ^ Reimann, Nicholas. "Patrick McCaughey — Accused Of 'Barbaric' Jamming Of Police Officer In A Door— Among Those Arrested After Capitol Riot". Forbes. Retrieved January 31, 2021. Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs
  12. ^ a b c Staff (January 4, 2017). "New Host For "Unofficial Version Of Trump TV" Encouraged Date Rape And Punching Transgender People: Former Infowars Reporter Joe Biggs Also Threatened To Release Revenge Porn And Commented Positively About Sexual Violence And Punching Women". Media Matters for America. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  13. ^ a b Preza, Elizabeth (January 4, 2017). "'Every kiss begins with roofies': Host of unofficial Trump TV promoted rape and sexual violence". Raw Story. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Hananoki, Eric (April 26, 2017). "Pro-Trump RSBN Scales Back, Cancels Mike Cernovich Program". Media Matters for America. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  15. ^ Bernstein, Maxine (August 9, 2019). "Mixed messages, mounting tensions as Proud Boys and antifa prepare to face off in Portland". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  16. ^ "Portland rally: Far-right and antifa groups face off". BBC News. August 18, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  17. ^ a b c d Harper, Mark (January 24, 2021). "Volusia Proud Boy facing charges claimed last fall that threats were made against his life". Daytona Beach News-Journal. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  18. ^ Mesh, Aaron. "Portland Mayor Responds to Right-Wing Organizer's Threat of Monthly Protests: "We Do Not Want Him Here in My City, Period"". Willamette Week. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Controversial organizer of planned Portland demonstration speaks to KATU". KATU. August 15, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Gupta, Arun (August 16, 2019). "Riotlandia: Why Portland Has Become the Epicenter of Far-Right Violence". The Intercept. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  21. ^ "FBI enlisted Proud Boys leader to inform on antifa, lawyer says". NBC News. Associated Press. March 31, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  22. ^ Weiner, Jeff (January 21, 2021). "Who is Joseph Biggs, Ormond Beach man and Proud Boys organizer arrested in Capitol riot?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Kamb, Lewis; Fields, Asia; Green, Sara Jean (February 3, 2021). "Auburn-area man, a prominent Proud Boy, charged in Capitol insurrection". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on February 6, 2021. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  24. ^ a b Melendez, Pilar (January 20, 2021). "'This Is Awesome!': Another Proud Boys Leader Arrested for Storming U.S. Capitol". The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  25. ^ a b c d e Grace Toohey, Ormond Beach Proud Boys organizer now accused of helping to plan Capitol riot, Orlando Sentinel (March 22, 2021).
  26. ^ a b Kyle Cheney & Josh Gerstein, Judge to revoke bail for Proud Boy leaders involved in Capitol riot, Politico (April 19, 2019).
  27. ^ a b Frank Fernandez, Volusia County Proud Boys leader threatened at Seminole County Jail, attorney says, The Daytona Beach News-Journal (July 15, 2021).
  28. ^ "Proud Boys, told by Trump to stand back and stand by, 'all but guarantees violence'". Los Angeles Times. October 1, 2020. Retrieved October 2, 2020.