Nick Fuentes
Nick Fuentes, pictured from a webcam. He is wearing a white shirt and navy sport coat, and the background is a photograph of a cityscape
Nick Fuentes in 2022
Born
Nicholas Joseph Fuentes

(1998-08-18) August 18, 1998 (age 23)[1][2]
Occupation
  • Political commentator
  • streamer
Years active2015–present
Known for
  • Political commentary
  • Founder of the Groypers
Movement

Nicholas Joseph Fuentes (born August 18, 1998) is an American far-right[4] white nationalist[5] and white supremacist[6] Christian nationalist[7][8] political commentator and live streamer. A former YouTuber, his channel was permanently suspended in February 2020 for violating YouTube's hate speech policy.[9] Fuentes has described himself as an American nationalist,[10] Christian conservative,[6] and paleoconservative.[11] He has expressed antisemitic views[12] and Holocaust denial[13][14] and is opposed to women's right to vote.[15]

Fuentes has feuded with Turning Point USA and its founder, Charlie Kirk, for supporting views that Fuentes believes to be insufficiently conservative.[16] On October 29, 2019, Fuentes' followers, known as Groypers, began to heckle Turning Point's Culture War Tour, including a speaking event for Donald Trump Jr.[17] In 2020, seeking to rival CPAC, Fuentes began holding the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC).[18][19]

Fuentes was an attendee and speaker at events preceding the 2021 United States Capitol attack.[20]

Early life and education

Fuentes attended Lyons Township High School, in Western Springs, Illinois, where he was president of the student council.[21] In August 2017, he left Boston University after claiming he received "threats" for attending the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.[6][22][23] Fuentes studied international relations and politics at Boston University.[24] He applied for transfer admission to Auburn University in fall 2017, but he did not confirm his enrollment.[25] Fuentes is Catholic, and of Hispanic descent on his father's side.[1][26]

Career

The official logo of America First with Nicholas J. Fuentes
The official logo of America First with Nicholas J. Fuentes

Fuentes began commentating on politics through a local radio and TV station hosted by his high school, where he espoused mainstream conservative views.[27][28] He hosts the episodic live stream America First with Nicholas J. Fuentes, which he began in 2017 during his freshman year at Boston University.[17][24][29][30] 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.[31] The show has attracted a cult following, which Fuentes refers to as the "Groypers" or the "Groyper Army". Fuentes cites the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump as an inspiration for America First.[6]

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, Right Side Broadcasting Network, issued an apology, calling the comments "unacceptable" and "inappropriate".[32] Following these and other comments, as well as publicity over his attendance of the Unite the Right rally, he left RSBN in August 2017.[25][33] In February 2022, Fuentes claimed that he was fired by RSBN CEO Joe Seales.[24]

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."[34] In April 2018, Fuentes spoke at the American Renaissance conference.[24]

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.[35][36] On February 14, 2020, his YouTube channel was terminated for violating policies on hate speech.[9] In January 2020, Time reported that Fuentes was the most-viewed live-streamer on the DLive platform. DLive has been criticized for allowing Fuentes to use their platform.[37][38] According to ABC News, Fuentes has been suspended from "almost all" social media platforms.[39] Twitter was among the last mainstream social media sites to ban Fuentes, permanently suspending his verified account in July 2021.[40][41][42] He has also been banned from financial and e-commerce services, including PayPal, Venmo, Patreon, Shopify, Stripe, Streamlabs, and Coinbase.[28]

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.[1][43][19] In November 2019, Malkin was fired by the Young America's Foundation after 17 years of employment over her support for Fuentes.[44][45][46]

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.[47] In February 2021, a video of Fuentes' speech was played during the second impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by House delegate Stacey Plaskett.[48]

In December 2020, Fuentes reportedly had an altercation on a flight over mask mandates.[6]

Fuentes hosted his second annual AFPAC event in February 2021, speaking alongside Malkin, former Iowa Representative Steve King, and current Arizona Representative Paul Gosar.[19] Later that month, he was barred from the Hyatt Regency Orlando, where he attempted to "start a commotion" on the CPAC floor.[49]

Fuentes was again removed from CPAC in July 2021 after harassing a journalist.[50][51] At an event held across the street he said that now that he is banned from Twitter, "I have nothing to lose. This is going to be the most racist, sexist, antisemitic, Holocaust-denying speech in all of Dallas this weekend."[50]

On October 13, 2021, Fuentes announced the launch of his own live-streaming platform Cozy.tv after being banned from DLive in 2021.[24][52]

In December 2021, social media platform Gettr permanently suspended Fuentes. The site received backlash from Fuentes' fanbase, as well as from Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, who wrote, "What is the point of a free-speech alternative to Twitter ... that doesn't even honor free speech?".[53] Gettr subsequently banned all use of the word "groyper" on the platform.[54]

In February 2022, social media platform Truth Social verified an account for Fuentes.[55]

Fuentes hosted his third annual AFPAC event in February 2022. During his speech at the event, Fuentes bestowed "giggling praise"[56] on Adolf Hitler, saying that the media had been comparing Vladimir Putin to Hitler "as if that wasn't a good thing".[56][57] Fuentes also asked the audience "Can we get a round of applause for Russia?", which was followed by roaring applause and chants of "Putin! Putin!".[58] Marjorie Taylor Greene attended the conference,[58][59] while Idaho Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin and Congressman Paul Gosar prerecorded videos that were played at the event.[60] This was criticized including by other Republicans such as Mitt Romney. Greene later said that she did not know who the organizers of the conference were.[57]

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.[20][61] His DLive channel was subsequently suspended permanently for "inciting violent and illegal activities".[62][63] 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.[64][65][66][67] 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.[68]

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?"[69][63][70][61]

On January 6, 2021, prior to the attack, 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."[71]

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".[6]

On January 19, 2022, the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack issued a subpoena to Fuentes.[72]

COVID-19 misinformation

Fuentes has frequently spread conspiracy theories and misinformation surrounding the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccinations. At a rally in New York City, Fuentes said to his crowd of supporters, "They are gonna have to kill me before I get this vaccine. I just want to impress upon you the severity of the situation. You are talking about 'gene therapy' in your veins." Fuentes wore a bulletproof vest at the demonstrations, claiming his life was in danger.[73][74]

Views

See also: Groypers

Fuentes has stated that his goal is to turn the Republican Party into "a truly reactionary party."[24] Fuentes strongly opposes immigration, which he believes is a demographic threat to the United States.[29] Fuentes also opposes feminism and mainstream conservatism, claiming that "Christian Republican voters get screwed over" because "the GOP is run by Jews, atheists, and homosexuals."[6][24] He has spoken out against the "LGBT agenda",[75] and has described transgender people and same-sex marriage as "deviancy".[1] Fuentes has spoken positively of "a tidal wave of white identity" following his attendance of the Unite the Right rally in August 2017 and sees America's "white demographic core" as central to the country's identity.[24][76][77] 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".[6] Fuentes argues that the United States is a Christian country and has specified that it is not a "Judeo-Christian" country.[24]

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".[1]

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 the State of Israel and LGBT issues.[78] 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.[78] These campaigns frequently involved asking questions that prompt viewers to look up far-right and antisemitic conspiracy theories and hoaxes online.[79] 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.[80]

In December 2019, Fuentes harassed 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.[1] The encounter was filmed and led to criticism of Fuentes.[81]

After the Afghan government fell to the Taliban while American forces were withdrawing in August 2021, Fuentes posted on the Telegram messaging service, "The Taliban is a conservative, religious force, the US is godless and liberal. The defeat of the US government in Afghanistan is unequivocally a positive development."[82]

In March 2022, Fuentes stated that he is a reactionary who supports autocracy and called himself "a 12th century man", adding "Catholic autocracy? Pretty strong. Pretty strong record. Catholic monarchy? Catholic monarchy, and just war, and crusades, and inquisitions? Pretty good stuff." Fuentes also decried democracy, saying "You know what democracy has given us? Obesity. Low rates of literacy. It's given us divorce, abortion, gay marriage, liberalism, pornography. That's what democracy has given us. Ghettos and crime and political correctness. Diversity. Yeah, the track record of democracy? Not so good."[83]

In a documentary for the BBC, broadcast in 2022, Fuentes told the interviewer, Louis Theroux, that he believes it would be better if women did not have the right to vote.[15]

Fuentes identifies as an incel (or "involuntary celebate"), although some of his supporters have criticized him for being a "voluntary celibate" after he admitted that he kissed a girl while he was in high school.[84] He has attempted to defend himself as an incel by claiming that "having sex with women is gay" and that "the only really straight heterosexual position is to be an asexual incel."[85]

On March 10, Fuentes praised "czar Putin" for the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, which he claimed was "to liberate Ukraine from the Great Satan and from the evil empire in the world, which is the United States."[59] On May 14, 2022, Fuentes falsely claimed on his Telegram account that the 2022 Buffalo shooting was a "false flag" attack.[86]

Following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, Fuentes praised the Supreme Court of the United States for overturning that decision. He said that "Jews stood in the way" of doing so, and that the Dobbs decision meant that "banning gay marriage is back on the menu, banning sodomy is back on the menu, banning contraceptives is back on the menu, and basically we're having something like Taliban rule in America, in a good way."[87][88]

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