His shtick is claiming to be a former “member of antifa.” Gabriel Nadales says he suddenly saw the light and joined the ranks of Turning Point USA. The conservative personality has mostly flown under the radar, save for a few appearances on Fox News and Campus Reform over the last few years. Recently, however, he was in the spotlight as a guest speaker for an event that had its share of controversy.
On January 20th, the Dartmouth College Republicans hosted an event featuring Andy Ngô and Gabriel Nadales named Extremism in America. Ngô is well-known for his “journalism” in which he doxxes left-wing activists, sometimes after fascists break their bones, and steals mostly video content, usually taking it out of context to fuel his narrative that Antifa is a well-oiled “communist” machine bringing death and destruction to America. Intentionally or not, he has also provided material support for members of the Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen, who made a kill list of journalists out of an article Ngô oversaw publishing labeled them as “antifa-affiliated.”.
The event was initially slated to be held in person but was moved online after reports of unspecified threats and the College Republicans’ inability to staff the event or communicate with the university. Ngô himself tweeted that bomb-sniffing dogs had been brought in due to bomb threats, but the college’s Office of Communications confirmed there were no such threats made.
Ngô and Nadales were purportedly there to speak on the topic of radical political movements in the United States but spent 2 hours discussing exclusively left-wing activism. Many of their examples of left-wing extremism were either from 50 years ago or from other countries. They even cited the origin of Antifaschistische Aktion and its support from the Soviet Union, never mentioning that these groups were explicitly fighting the Nazi regime.
Nadales uses his supposed anti-fascist history as a means of legitimizing his rhetoric and advocating for greater penalties against leftists, but the proof of his involvement is scant. Nadales claims he was involved in “antifa” between 2010-2012. He uses photos from a single rally he supposedly attended in 2011 where he dressed in black bloc to stand against Neo-Nazis that had gathered in Pomona. Outside of these pictures, LCRW could find no more confirmation as to his involvement in the anti-fascist scene. In fact, Nadales and the media companies he was represented by were explicitly denied permission to use the photos by the original photographer, Chris Bashaw.
Bashaw provided a statement on the matter:
“I am livid that my work has been used without authorization to help Gabriel Nadales build his brand. I guess I can’t know for sure, but I imagine it has also helped him pay his bills. Too bad it hasn’t helped me pay mine, but I guess having principles isn’t always lucrative.
I’d like to say that the unauthorized use of my work is what hurts the most, but it’s not that. It’s the fact that yet another right-wing grifter causing pain in the world is using it to lend credence to his origin story. That’s what’s kept me up these past few days since I’ve become aware of this issue.
I just want my work to stop being perverted by someone who has no right to use it.”
Bashaw also gave LCRW a copy of a letter he sent proving he denied Nadales’s agent permission to use the photos. It reads:
The best way to proceed is to not use them because I will not license these or any photos to you or your publication. They, along with my other older work, were removed from Flickr for a reason: so they wouldn’t be seen or used. I never authorized these images for publication even when they were up, and that they were used at all without my consent, even in a colleague’s “personal project,” might be considered actionable.
Moreover, although these were anarchist protestors (not antifa, as antifa was not there or even existed in 2011), they were opposing a Nazi rally consisting of members of the Michigan-based hate group National Socialist Movement. The Nazi’s sole purpose for being there was to agitate a predominantly Latino community that was, quite literally, minding its own business.
I have read about Campus Reform and have reviewed your work, and I cannot trust that my work will be used responsibly or fairly as it relates to the truth of what happened that day, or the critical context I just described. I will not permit anything I create to be used in this manner, especially as I see the views espoused by Campus Reform to be antithetical to my sense of humanity and morality.
I appreciate your diligence in asking, but fuck off.
There are a few holes in Nadales’ story including his conflicting claims regarding the timeline of his introduction to the leftist movement. In a Fox Newsroom interview, he says he began his left wing activism in 2010 but his profile on The Leadership Institute’s website says he began in 2009, when he would have been 15 years old. Nadales also alleges he was part of the Anarchist Black Cross Federation of Orange County, but they released an official statement denying he was ever affiliated with them and noted that “ABCF-OC did not exist as a chapter until early 2018.”
Another local activist who has been organizing since at least 2011 and took a class with Nadales at Citrus College in 2014 said the same. The activist told LCRW that, by 2014, Nadales was entrenched in the libertarian group Young Americans for Liberty. Nadales was even involved with a lawsuit against the school on behalf of his YAL chapter at the time.
“He seemed like someone looking for a subculture to be part of,” the activist told LCRW.
Nadales also claims to have been affiliated with Direct Action Claremont but LCRW was unable to connect with anyone from the organization. LCRW also reached out to Gabriel Nadales for comment and received no response.
Mark Misoshnik is a Bay Area-based investigative reporter.
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