Nick Fuentes
Born
Nicholas Joseph Fuentes

(1998-08-18) August 18, 1998 (age 22)[1]
Occupation
  • Political commentator
  • streamer
Years active2015–present
Known for
  • Political commentary
  • Founder of the Groypers
Movement
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Nicholas Joseph Fuentes (born August 18, 1998)[1] is an American far-right[3] and white nationalist[4] political commentator and live streamer. A former YouTuber, his channel was permanently suspended in February 2020 for violating YouTube's hate speech policy.[5] Fuentes has described himself as an American nationalist,[6] Christian conservative,[7] and paleoconservative,[8] and has also expressed anti-Semitic views.[9]

Fuentes has feuded with Turning Point USA and its founder, Charlie Kirk, for supporting views that Fuentes believes to be insufficiently conservative.[10] On October 29, 2019, Fuentes' followers, known as Groypers, began heckling Turning Point's Culture War Tour, including a speaking event for Donald Trump Jr.[11] In 2020, seeking to rival CPAC, Fuentes began holding the annual America First Political Action Conference.[12][13]

Fuentes was a prominent attendee of and speaker at protests and rallies leading up to the 2021 United States Capitol attack.[14]

Early life and education

Fuentes attended Lyons Township High School, in Western Springs, Illinois, where he was president of the student council.[15] In August 2017, he left Boston University after claiming he received "threats" for attending the white supremacist[7][16] Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.[17] He applied for transfer admission to Auburn University in fall 2017, but he did not confirm his enrollment on time.[18] Fuentes is Catholic, and of Hispanic and Italian descent.[19][20]

Career

Fuentes began commentating on politics through a local radio and TV station hosted by his high school, where he espoused mainstream conservative views.[21][22] He hosts the episodic live stream America First with Nicholas J. Fuentes, which he began in 2017.[23][11][24] America First is characterized by Fuentes' frequent use of ironic humor to appeal to Generation Z while providing plausible deniability for his often extreme views.[25]

On his show in April 2017, Fuentes said "Who runs the media? Globalists. Time to kill the globalists" and "I want the people that run CNN to be arrested and deported because this is deliberate." Fuentes also said that "The First Amendment was not written for the Saudi Royal Family". The publisher of the show at the time, RSBN, issued an apology, calling the comments "unacceptable" and "inappropriate".[26] Following these and other comments, as well as publicity over his attendance of the Unite the Right rally, he left RSBN in August 2017.[18][27]

He co-hosted the Nationalist Review podcast with another white nationalist, James Allsup, until January 2018. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "the two had a public falling out with each host accusing the other of laziness, impropriety and a variety of petty slights."[28] In January 2020, Fuentes' YouTube channel was demonetized and one of his videos was removed by YouTube as a violation of their hate speech policies. Fuentes had previously been banned from Twitch and from Reddit.[29][30] On February 14, 2020, his YouTube channel was terminated for violating policies on hate speech.[5] In January 2020, Time magazine reported that Fuentes was the most-viewed live-streamer on the DLive platform. DLive has been criticized for allowing Fuentes to use their platform.[31][32] According to ABC News, Fuentes has been suspended from "almost all" social media platforms.[33] Twitter was among the last mainstream social media sites to ban Fuentes, permanently suspending his verified account in July 2021.[34][35][36] He has also been banned from financial and e-commerce services, including PayPal, Venmo, Patreon, Shopify, Stripe, Streamlabs, and Coinbase.[22]

Fuentes has received support from conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, who agreed to speak at his first annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) in February 2020, and again at his second conference in February 2021.[19][37][13] In November 2019, Malkin was fired by the Young America's Foundation after 17 years of employment over her support for Fuentes.[38][39][40]

At a pro-Trump protest in Washington, D.C. in December 2020, Fuentes led a crowd to chant "Destroy the GOP", and encouraged them to sit-out the United States Senate special runoff election in Georgia.[41][42] In February 2021, a video of Fuentes' speech was played during the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump by House delegate Stacey Plaskett.[43]

In December 2020, Fuentes reportedly had an altercation on a flight over mask mandates.[7]

On February 26, 2021, Fuentes hosted his second annual AFPAC event, speaking alongside Michelle Malkin, former Iowa Representative Steve King, and current Arizona Representative Paul Gosar.[13]

On February 27, 2021, Fuentes was barred from the Hyatt Regency Orlando, where he attempted to "start a commotion" on the CPAC floor.[44]

Fuentes was again removed from CPAC in July 2021 after harassing a journalist.[45][46] At an America First Foundation event held across the street he said that now that he is banned from Twitter he has "nothing to lose", and is free to be racist, sexist, antisemitic, and "Holocaust-denying".[45]

Relation to the 2021 Capitol attack

Fuentes was among the far-right individuals and groups who participated in the rallies that led up to the 2021 United States Capitol attack.[14][47] His DLive channel was subsequently suspended permanently for "inciting violent and illegal activities."[48][49] He was also among a group of far-right activists and groups who received large donations in bitcoin from a French donor on December 8. Fuentes received 13.5 bitcoin (approximately $250,000), which was by far the largest share. The donor also posted an apparent suicide note, according to Blockchain analysis group Chainalysis, although the donor's status has not been confirmed.[50][51][52][53] The FBI is launching an investigation as to whether any of this money went toward the financing of illegal acts, such as the storming of the US Capitol.[54]

On January 4, 2021, two days before the storming of the U.S. Capitol, Fuentes discussed killing state legislators who were unwilling to overturn the results of the 2020 election, saying "What can you and I do to a state legislator — besides kill them? We should not do that. I'm not advising that, but I mean, what else can you do, right?"[55][49][56][47]

On January 6, 2021, prior to the storming of the U.S. Capitol, Fuentes spoke to a crowd of supporters at Freedom Plaza, stating, "It is us and our ancestors that created everything good that you see in this country. All these people that have taken over our country—we do not need them... It is the American people, and our leader, Donald Trump, against everybody else in this country and this world... Our Founding Fathers would get in the streets, and they would take this country back by force if necessary. And that is what we must be prepared to do."[57]

Following the storming of the U.S. Capitol, Fuentes claimed that his bank account had been frozen, that he had been placed on a federal no-fly list, and that he had been banned from Airbnb, Facebook and Instagram. Fuentes has described these actions as "overt political persecution."[7]

Views

See also: Groypers

Fuentes strongly opposes immigration, which he believes is a demographic threat to the United States.[23] Fuentes also opposes feminism and mainstream conservatism.[7] He has spoken out against the "LGBT agenda",[58] and has described transgender people and same-sex marriage as "deviancy".[19] Fuentes has spoken positively of "a tidal wave of white identity" following his attendance of the Unite the Right rally in August 2017.[59][60] Despite promoting white supremacist beliefs, such as the white genocide conspiracy theory, Fuentes has claimed that he is not a white supremacist, calling the term an "anti-white slur."[7]

In January 2019, Fuentes aired a monologue in which he compared the Holocaust to a cookie-baking operation, which led to accusations of Holocaust denial. Fuentes later disputed that he had ever denied the Holocaust, calling his monologue a "lampoon".[19]

Fuentes has repeatedly criticized Turning Point USA and its founder Charlie Kirk, accusing them of betraying Donald Trump by advocating in favor of mass legal immigration, support in foreign aid for Israel and LGBT issues.[61] Throughout October and November 2019, his supporters were present at many of Kirk's public speaking events, which featured guest speakers including Donald Trump Jr., Lara Trump, and Kimberly Guilfoyle.[61] These campaigns frequently involved asking questions that prompt viewers to look up far-right and anti-semitic conspiracy theories and hoaxes online.[62] Fuentes has characterized the campaign as a grassroots effort to expose TPUSA as ideologically inconsistent with the ideology espoused by Donald Trump and other conservative populists. As a result of this campaign, some right-wing mainstream politicians and pundits disavowed Fuentes, characterizing his beliefs as extreme and out-of-touch with mainstream conservatism.[63][64][65]

In December 2019, Fuentes confronted conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro, who was with his family at the time, outside a TPUSA event in West Palm Beach, Florida. Fuentes had confronted Shapiro to ask why he had given a speech at Stanford University bashing Fuentes.[19] The encounter was filmed and led to criticism of Fuentes.[66]

References

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