When Steve Bannon, Breitbart, along with some other conservatives cut ties with far-right activist along with congressional candidate Paul Nehlen, he turned to his private Twitter direct message group, CityRevoltVoteNehlen. Nehlen was facing criticism for a handful of alt-right provocations, among them a string of incendiary tweets with the white nationalist hashtag “#ItsOkayToBeWhite” along with his touting of The Culture of Critique, a book written by the director of a white supremacist political party along with denounced by the ADL as anti-Semitic.
“There are a list of goys attacking me, along that has a separate list of Jews,” Nehlen messaged the group, according to screenshots viewed by BuzzFeed News.
According to two individuals with knowledge of the group, such requests were common by Nehlen, who frequented the group to solicit its help with trolling his critics along with political opponents.
“the item’s pretty obviously coordinated,” Nehlen continued, referring to remarks by conservative along with pro-Trump personalities like Town Hall’s Kurt Schlichter along with the Rebel’s John Cardillo who’d denounced his tweets. “Cardillo along with others like him are working for Jewish media then there are the fake conservatives who happen to be jewish,” he wrote to the group telling members to add Schlichter to his list. “Im going to decimate them all along with y’[all are gonna help me.”
Group members responded to his rallying cry, offering support that has a volley of fist, thumbs up, along with American flag emojis. “Yes we will,” one replied.
Nehlen, a Wisconsin businessman who unsuccessfully challenged House Speaker Paul Ryan for his congressional seat in 2016 (along with is usually running again in 2018), has faced criticism in recent months for his anti-immigrant views along with controversial conduct. Even Nehlen’s most ardent media backers were forced to sever ties. On Dec. 27, Steve Bannon along with Breitbart, who had championed Nehlen’s 2016 primary campaign against Ryan, disavowed him, purging his articles by the site. “Nehlen is usually dead to us,” Bannon adviser Arthur Schwartz told CNN.
Nehlen, for his part, has largely ignored questions about his anti-Semitic views along with white nationalism, dismissing any inquiries as attempts to derail his commitment to an “America First” agenda. nevertheless screenshots reviewed by BuzzFeed News show Nehlen associating with along with soliciting help by people who appear to be prominent members of the alt-right to wage trolling along with harassment campaigns.
Nehlen along with some other members of these groups declined to speak with BuzzFeed News.
“There were all kinds of troll accounts from the group producing memes for Paul to use,” one person with knowledge of the group told BuzzFeed News, noting that will many of the accounts that will made memes for Nehlen quickly left the group after posting them. “Paul had a backup account along with he’d put smear info on the backup account along with ask random people from the group to tweet the item out along with they’d tweet the item out by there,” the individual claimed.
Among the members of the group appear to be the pseudonymous Jazzhands McFeels, one of the hosts of an alt-right podcast called Fash the Nation (on which Nehlen has appeared multiple times) along with Eli Mosley, a leader of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa along that has a leading voice of the alt-right. A Richard Spencer acolyte, Mosley is usually perhaps best known for helping fellow white nationalist Jason Kessler organize the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last August, which resulted from the death of a counterprotester.
Screenshots show that will shortly after joining the group an account with Mosley’s name along with avatar enlisted its members to harass Nehlen’s enemies on Twitter, including former Red Sox pitcher along with Breitbart Radio host Curt Schilling. On Dec. 29 Schilling invited Nehlen on his radio show to discuss his controversial remarks, nevertheless withdrew the invitation a day later, telling his followers he did not want to give Nehlen a platform for his views.
“Let’s get definitely offensive against Curt shilling along with anyone who attacks Paul,” Mosley wrote to the group on Dec. 30. “Make sure they understand that will people don’t like when they attack their own.” Mosley did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
Around the time of Mosley’s call to action, Schilling was bombarded on Twitter by Nehlen supporters attacking him for the reversal. Echoing Nehlen’s combative attitude toward “Jewish media,” Nehlen supporters accused Schilling of being a “paid Jewish shill.”
some other Nehlen supporters photoshopped crude images using derogatory cartoons of Jews including one cartoon of a figure with the Breitbart logo for a face fellating a man whose face was replaced by the Israeli flag. Many of Nehlen’s trolls adopted the moniker “Schilling for Sheckles” — an insult first tweeted by Nehlen himself.
The screenshots reviewed by BuzzFeed News offer a glimpse into the planet of coordinated harassment campaigns on Twitter by troll armies. According to one former member of the group, CityRevoltVoteNehlen was one of numerous DM groups Nehlen used to coordinate messaging campaigns with supporters.
“Everyone uses these private DM groups, the item seems,” one former Nehlen DM group member said. Indeed, screenshots appear to show some users claiming participation in dozens of direct message groups. “A lot of the time the item’s how the #MAGA sausage gets made,” another pro-Trump media personality told BuzzFeed News, referring to the use of DM groups.
One pro-Trump Twitter personality who told BuzzFeed News they’d been invited to many similar groups said that will the groups are mostly used by unknown accounts looking to grow their followings. “Most of these, the groups are just people who’re thirsty for retweets. nevertheless they’re not worth the trouble in my opinion — in these big open chats all the item takes is usually one person to bring the item all down. In some of them the things people say are definitely stupid,” they said.
Whether its harmless gossip, sharing articles, retweet schemes, or coordinated harassment campaigns, the groups suggest that will underneath Twitter’s chaotic political discourse a second, equally important conversation is usually taking place.
Charlie Warzel is usually a senior writer for BuzzFeed News along with is usually based in brand new York. Warzel reports on along with writes about the intersection of tech along with culture.
Contact Charlie Warzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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