THE HOTEL IN WEST PALM BEACH
On May 6th, 2021 Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill (SB 90) designed to discourage mail-in voting and to render the administration of vote-by-mail much costlier for individual localities. The signing ceremony for the bill took place at the Majestic Ballroom at the West Palm Beach Airport Hilton, with Fox News, the Trump booster group Club 45, and anti-Muslim political candidate Laura Loomer the only permitted observers.
A week earlier on April 27th, Loomer co-organized a press conference held clandestinely at the Majestic Ballroom with white nationalist Nick Fuentes. The press conference was about far-right influencers’ and activists’ grievances about being banned from mainstream social media and payment processors. Aggrieved activists in attendance included the embattled Proud Boy chairman and prolific FBI informant Enrique Tarrio, who attended the conference as an honored guest. Tarrio and Loomer then joined other key-note speakers like Newsmax host Michelle Malkin and failed Delaware Senate candidate (and Q-Anon enthusiast) Lauren Witzke in front of a Publix Supermarket in West Palm Beach Gardens.
LCRW determined that the Majestic Ballroom at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport hosted Fuentes’s “Big-Tech” conference through comparing the chairs, carpeting, structural columns, and ceiling to similar venues situated within a 15-minute drive of the Publix rallying site. LCRW verified the venue location through observing local media coverage of the signing ceremony pertaining to SB 90 and compared the interior of the room where the ceremony took place with images posted to Laura Loomer’s social media. Photographs and video uploaded to the Facebook page and Instagram of the “Majestic Ballroom” matched the distinctive decorative details depicted in the images Loomer posted regarding Fuentes’s press conference.
A spokesperson from the Hilton hotel chain responded that the venue in question is “independently owned and operated and therefore, I cannot speak on their behalf”. However, she elaborated that, “Hilton has zero tolerance for discrimination and does not adopt or endorse the views of any individual or group…We carefully review group bookings to ensure they do not pose a risk to the safety and security of our guests and team members”.
The hotel chain previously attracted controversy for covertly hosting Nick Fuentes’ second annual “America First Political Action Conference” at the Hilton Orlando location during February, 2021.
Representatives from the independently owned and operated West Palm Beach Airport Hilton did not respond to LCRW’s request for comment at press time.
Nick Fuentes welcomed Loomer, who is Jewish, as an ally despite his virulent anti-Semitism. Loomer spent tens of thousands on hiring lobbyists in Florida’s state capitol Tallahassee to pass legislation intended to financially penalize tech companies for deplatforming far-right social media users like Fuentes. She also admitted to supporting white nationalism on a fascist podcast in December 2017, mere months after the deadly violence which took place at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Roughly two months before “Unite the Right”, she even “fan-girled” over meeting white supremacist Richard Spencer at the pro-Trump “Deploraball” held in Washington, D.C. Seeking to appease his anti-Semitic detractors enraged over his alliance of convenience with Loomer, Fuentes expounded upon her utility to his white nationalist “groyper” movement euphemistically referred to as “America First”.
“As long as you’re willing to put America first on these core issues—Big Tech, you know displacement of white people in the county. If you’re willing to work against the globalists’ efforts, which often is liberal Jews putting that together, then that’s “America First” …As long as she’s [Loomer] not going to kill me as a Mossad agent, as long as she’s not calling for me to be deplatformed…You know you have to look at politics like posses; we work together for a common goal. She has spent thousands of dollars of her own money lobbying…to protect people like me and you,” Fuentes said on his livestream show.
Not that it matters to racists like Fuentes, but Loomer refuses to protect the free speech of Muslims and Palestinians. She supports state statues banning the peaceful Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement organized in solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by Israel’s current apartheid government. She additionally called pro-BDS, Muslim congressional representatives jihadists in a 2020 interview with the Jerusalem-based Israel News Talk Radio.
Despite Loomer’s complaints of censorship, she managed to meet former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago to discuss “Big Tech” companies deplatforming far-right users only a day after she spoke at Fuentes’ press conference and rally. Fuentes then praised Loomer’s success and defended her in the following rejoinder aimed at his more explicitly anti-Semitic fans and critics: “Laura Loomer met with Donald Trump last week. We’re [the groypers] one degree of separation from the sitting [rather, former] president of the United States.”
ANTI-MUSLIM “WAR ON TERROR” POLICIES PUT GROYPERS ON FBI’S NO-FLY LIST
The FBI inconveniently put a third of the press conference speakers on no-fly lists reserved for alleged terrorists, thanks to polices enacted at the behest of the neo-conservative Bush administration’s “War on Terror” against Muslims twenty years ago. Headliners like Nick Fuentes and Vincent James could not even appear at their own event. Press conference speakers therefore only included Laura Loomer, Michelle Malkin, and Lauren Witzke, who went off-message about “big-tech censorship”, and digressed into a tirade where she labeled all trans women pedophiles.
California white nationalist and keynote speaker Vincent James griped, “I am not going to be able to make it to the Florida Big Tech Censorship event tomorrow due to the complete incompetence of airline/airport personnel”.
James and Fuentes passed through the first set of barricades enclosing the northwest side of the Capitol building and chanted “America First” on Capitol lawn during the January 6thattempted coup now-president Joe Biden’s electoral win. Other groypers crawled up the western side staircase or scaffolding adjacent the inaugural podium. Some even managed to enter the building itself. Groyper Christian Secor made it into the senate chamber. Fuentes fan and sieg-heiling white supremacist Riley June Williams stole a laptop belonging to Nancy Pelosi’s staff. The previous December, Williams posed for a photograph with Fuentes at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C. that Fuentes had promoted with D-List political operative Ali Alexander.
Fuentes himself was barred from attending the press conference he co-organized, likely because he earned a spot on the FBI’s no-fly list due to his involvement in the U.S. Capitol Building attack. The pundit’s thinly veiled threat to kill federal legislators following the assault likely did not dissuade the FBI from potentially classifying Fuentes as a flight risk. Fuentes’s own cell phone footage shows airport staff admitting that he was prohibited from boarding any flights. However, the FBI cannot confirm or deny individuals’ presence on the no-fly list due to statutory restrictions.
Following a greatly truncated press conference, keynote speaker Lauren Witzke (pictured in the “America First” hat) attempted to put a positive spin on the situation while the Kent-State gun girl Kaitlin Bennett smiled awkwardly in the background.
“BIG tech event HUGE success,” she said. “Thanks to Nick Fuentes and Laura Loomer for organizing”.
Fuentes promoted and attended fascist events long before his misadventure in Washington, D.C. Back in 2017, the pundit attended the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which left counter-protester Heather Heyer murdered and 19 others gravely injured. Hours after Heyer’s murder, Fuentes cheerily reflected on the violence in an archived Facebook post.
“Wow—what an incredible rally here in Charlottesville…The rootless transnational elite knows that a tidal wave of white identity is coming. And they know that once the word gets out, they will not be able to stop us. The fire Rises!” he wrote. “Rootless translational elite” here means Jews.
The evening of the “Big-Tech” press conference, Fuentes went on his livestreamed program to nasally bloviate about his persecution as a white nationalist Trump supporter.
“It’s people like me all over the country who are being ground to dust under the heel of the evil American empire, evil American regime…” he complained.
Fuentes then lamented about how the government confiscated “a six-figure sum of money”, contributed in bitcoin from an anonymous donor to his America First program. Frantically gesticulating towards his livestream audience, Fuentes elaborated, “I’m on this no-fly list, I can’t fly, I can’t bank, I can’t get a payment processor, I can’t livestream on a major platform…How long until they just kill me or something? And I say that seriously.”
Then Fuentes’ tirade digressed into decidedly more deranged predictions drawn straight from white genocide conspiracy theories:
“Maybe by 2100 we’ll be able to say white people are under attack, and by that point, we’ll be in the history books. It’ll be Chinese overlords teaching them \[the remaining black and Hispanic U.S. population\] about white people because we’ll be extinct…We will be killed. You’re not going to die of old age. You’re dying of a black person bonking you with some foreign object…Of some COVID vaccination squad shooting a tranquilizer dart in your throat.”
ANALYZING THE GROYPERS’ FAKE CIVIL LIBERTARIANISM
Fuentes and his allies delight in telling tales about the federal government and “big tech” suppressing their civil liberties to engender sympathy in their followers and to reinforce the narrative that they are martyrs in the “knife-fight for the survival of the white race”. Fuentes wants his audience to believe the government will subject white, male Christians like him to a degree of persecution similar in kind to the civil liberties violations and genocidal warfare endured by Muslims domestically and abroad during the “War on Terror”. A 2006 study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated that civilian casualties in Iraq totaled to as many as 600,000 deaths, with an additional 71,000 civilians killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Fuentes, who is connected to influential conservative pundits and politicians like Michelle Malkin and Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ), equates his relatively comfortable, privileged status to what Muslims endured in America and abroad since the Bush Administration. The groyper coalition exploits the public’s legitimate concerns about the national security state and “big-tech” interference in public discourse to covertly sell their “white genocide” narrative to average Trump supporters and civil libertarians.
Superficial concerns about “free speech” and the consolidation of discursive power in a handful of social media companies serve as red herrings to deflect from the groyper’s own opposition toward preserving civil liberties. Fuentes’s gloating over the violence in Charlottesville against anti-racist protesters notwithstanding, he also celebrated the fascist regime of Francisco Franco which Hitler and Mussolini backed during Spain’s civil war in the 1930s. In a hypothetical scenario which disregards antifascists’ leftist politics, Fuentes blithely admitted, “If antifa were marching in the streets and they were waving the banner of Benito Mussolini or Francisco Franco, I’d be joining them, frankly. If antifa was waving the banner of Falangism [Franco’s interpretation of fascism]; if they were waving the banner of Franco, and they were saying Catholic fascism now, I would join them”.
The Franco regime executed an estimated 151,000 civilians (relative to anti-Franco forces executing 49,000) and sought to reify the power of wealthy landowners and the Catholic Church at the expense of starving landless peasants, whom Franco regarded as subhuman. Franco’s armies would systemically rape and murder tens of thousands of women residing in villages opposed to his regime and they executed by firing squad 20 pregnant women in a maternity ward. Franco even resurrected torture devices deployed in the Spanish Inquisition. Public executioners brought back the garotte_, a_n iron collar that would gradually tighten around the victim’s neck until they suffocated to death while onlookers celebrated.
The groypers are disinterested in challenging the disproportionate corporate power enjoyed by the large tech companies or in challenging the invasive national security policies and endless warfare they championed when the state wielded that violence against Muslims. Case in point, Michelle Malkin–a best-selling far-right author, and the groypers’ proud “mommy” figure and brain trust. Malkin was a keynote speaker at Fuentes’s “Big Tech” conference. During the subsequent rally in front of Publix, she helped introduce ordinary Trump supporters interested in protesting “Big-Tech” censorship to Fuentes’ white nationalist politics rebranded as “America First” with anodyne patriotic and Christian iconography. After Nick Fuentes, Vincent James, and Lauren Witzke either were banned from flying or subjected to intrusive security screenings due to their participation in the attempted coup on January 6th, Malkin remonstrated against the state restricting the “freedom of movement” of “America First Patriots”, and suddenly cared about protecting civil liberties.
However, Malkin supports Bush-era “War on Terror” policies when they curtail the civil liberties and freedom of movement of people whom she deems an existential threat to white, Christian America–namely Muslims and Hispanic immigrants. After all, she literally donned a cheerleader costume and did a cheer routine to support continuing the Iraq War back in 2007, with hundreds of thousands of civilians murdered, and with many more suffering from rare cancers and birth defects due to the toxic fallout from American bombing campaigns. Malkin supported restricting Muslims’ freedom of movement when she promoted racial profiling against Muslims in airports, among other public places, in her 2004 book “In Defense of Internment: The Case for ‘Racial Profiling’ in World War II and the War on Terror”. She supports revoking the civil liberties and freedom of movement from Palestinians and from Hispanic immigrants in the United States. During Nick Fuentes’s inaugural “America First Political Action Conference” in 2020, Malkin called the Israeli apartheid regime an “immigration enforcement system that works”, and aspired to implement similar polices in the United States to stop Muslim and Hispanic immigration to preserve a white, Christian super-majority.
The groypers’ resolve against the national security state in defense of “free speech” seamlessly transforms into hypocrisy when they have the opportunity to wield state violence against Muslims, Hispanic immigrants, or anyone who meaningfully resists white nationalism. As Nick Fuentes himself admitted, “All that matters is we need people in government who are going to help us [white nationalists], and hurt those people…We’re in a knife fight for the survival of our race. Who cares about the original interpretation of the constitution?”
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