One evening on a livestream during 2019, a 26-year-old-man named Kerry Cosgriff had a singular mission while playing the online video game Fortnite—not to win against other players, but to evangelize the gospel of white nationalism and Christian supremacy. A very young-sounding boy who claimed he was 14 then introduced himself in the live chatroom.
“Are you a Christian?” the grown man interrogated.
“Yes. I go to church and stuff,” said the boy.
“Then you’re based and redpilled,” Cosgriff replied, smugly smirking to himself when the child sounded confused.
Cosgriff continued. “Did you know the holy book of the Jews, the Talmud, said Jesus will boil for eternity in excrement? That means poop”.
“What?!” exclaimed the shocked child.
Undaunted, Cosgriff next accosted a teenage boy from Florida in the chat.
He blurted out, “Sandy Hook was a massive school shooting, but they demolished the school right after the shooting happened. Almost all of the parents have IMDB [Internet Movie Database] pages. Like they’re all actors.”
Cosgriff was referencing the conspiracy theory that the parents of the 20 children murdered during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were actors hired by the government to imitate grief-stricken parents and staff members, while the school building was a movie set. Far-right radio host Alex Jones first popularized the conspiracy theory on his program “Infowars”. A recent lawsuit forced Jones to retract his story and to pay monetary damages to the parents and educators defamed on his radio show. White nationalists like Cosgriff believe that the government manufactures mass shootings in order to generate political support for confiscating white people’s guns.
Cosgriff moved on and continued spreading hateful conspiracy theories to random Fortnite players.
“’Sup. Are you white?” he asked a man in his late twenties.
“Yup,” the befuddled player replied.
“Did you hear about 5 ‘dancing Israelis’?” He asked the other player on Fortnite. The man said something to placate Cosgriff and left the chat.
The ‘dancing Israelis’ phrase refers to a 9-11 conspiracy theory propagated by white supremacists and anti-Semites. Believers in it claim that two agents from the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, collaborated to bomb the Twin Towers with the assistance of the buildings’ Jewish owner, Larry Silverstein. White nationalists subscribe to this theory in particular because it validates their belief that Jewish people secretly control the United States’ government and have used their power to force the country into war.
“SPECKZO” AT AFPAC 2021
Cosgriff has grown his influence among the far-right since his desperate attempts to sell white nationalism to unwitting Fortnite players. This past year, Cosgriff attended and filmed the November and December “Million MAGA Marches” in Washington, D.C., where he met fellow white nationalist Nick Fuentes twice. Later, in February 2021, Cosgriff attended the America First Political Action Conference–A white nationalist-friendly alternative to CPAC organized by Fuentes’ nonprofit the “America First Foundation”. There he posed for photos with Newsmax commentator Michelle Malkin, current U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar, and former Iowa congressional representative Steven King. King lost his 2020 reelection campaign and was nationally infamous for his racist Twitter comments.
“SPECKZO” MEETS MATT GAETZ
Fifteen minutes away, the American Conservative Union organized the annual Republican Party gathering known as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida. Fuentes and his major followers were nominally banned from the conference and staged AFPAC to troll the mainline Republican party, which officially rejected their white supremacist politics. Cosgriff, Nick Fuentes, and a contingent of Fuentes’ followers known as “groypers”, swarmed the CPAC entrance while Fuentes squawked about the conference banning him in front of a tired security guard positioned between two automatic doors. The security was apparently lax since Cosgriff, along with other groyper influencers like Jaden McNeil, managed to worm their way into the event. Florida congressman and credibly accused child sex trafficker Matt Gatez gave the groypers a wave and even posed for a photo-op with Cosgriff before security got around to politely escorting the group out of the venue.
Cosgriff and fellow groyper Jordan Brown complained about how Gatez was too cowardly to directly acknowledge Nick Fuentes and America First, although Gatez followed Futentes on Twitter and conversed with him over the platform multiple times. “[Gatez] wouldn’t even have turned around and looked at us (the crowd of groypers) if he hadn’t heard of Nick Fuentes. He wouldn’t even have engaged at all, but he did a little bit,” observed Brown, who predictably faces considerable racism as one of the few black groypers.
“We know [Gatez] knows who Nick Fuentes is,” replied Cosgriff. “It’s [a question of] whether or not he’s willing to publicly acknowledge that he knows who Nick Fuentes is, which clearly he’s not”. Cosgriff then compared Gatez to Arizona Representative Paul Gosar, who gave a speech at AFPAC after having coffee with Fuentes himself. “This is why I really respect Paul Gosar…He basically said [the groypers] are people with serious political grievances…They have serious policies they want to enact and deserve to be heard”.
“SPECKZO’S” SORDID PAST
Cosgriff’s sordid past served as backdrop for his later venture into white nationalist politics. He spent most of his high school years addicted to Xanax and alcohol, according to a now-deleted Youtube video Cosgriff titled “My Political and Spiritual Journey So Far”. He treated women terribly and over Twitter called his female best friend a “slut” and a “cunt” for putting him in the “friendzone” when she dated another man. During one deranged Twitter rant, he created the hashtag #girlsareslutswhoshouldnothaverights while bragging in graphic detail about sexual encounters he allegedly had at strip clubs. His misogynistic behavior culminated in him getting repeatedly punched in the face after he groped a 16-year-old girl on a party bus, as detailed in Cosgriff’s confessional vlog “My Political and Spiritual Journey So far”. According to the same account, Cosgriff then dropped out of college and stole a bottle of Valium from his sick grandfather. Later he was arrested for felony assault after fighting with another man over the affections of a woman. Cosgriff eventually had the assault charge downgraded to a misdemeanor in exchange for successfully completing rehab, but his long-standing hatred of women and “political correctness” no doubt influenced his receptivity to white nationalism.
“SPECKZO’S” POLITICAL JOURNEY: FROM TRUMP SUPERFAN TO WHITE NATIONALIST
Cosgriff’s political journey, according to his “My Spiritual and Political Journey So Far” video, began in his early twenties when he developed a renewed interest in conservative politics after ending his prolonged addiction to drugs. Cosgriff’s political perspective was greatly influenced by his paternal grandmother who constantly watched Fox News and volunteered for the local Republican Party. She once told Cosgriff that “the reason the Bahamas gets so many hurricanes is because they [the Bahamians] practice voodoo and don’t worship Jesus Christ”. During 2015, she persuaded Cosgriff against considering Bernie Sanders for president when she labeled the presidential candidate a communist.
The great deal of media attention Trump received attracted Cosgriff to supporting him for president. He started a Trump meme page on Instagram and wore a rubber Trump facemask outside a fundraiser for the candidate held on Staten Island in 2015. A student journalist affiliated with the local paper NYCity Lens approached Cosgriff for an interview and talked with him for about 20 minutes. The NYCity Lens journalist then inaccurately claimed in the published article that he dropped out of college due to “liberal bias”; however, Cosgriff stated in the interview that he actually dropped out to care for his ill grandfather. The NYCity Lens later issued a correction after Cosgriff pointed out the error. Despite this correction, Cosgriff resolved to reject all mainstream media narratives and “start[ed] looking into everybody they [the media] said was an extremist. Everybody the media said was a racist, or a fascist, or anti-Semitic, or all these types of names…What I found out was that the vast majority of them weren’t extremist at all and were saying a lot of logical things that shouldn’t even be controversial”.
As described in his YouTube video “My Spiritual and Political Journey So Far”, Cosgriff then immersed himself into the recesses of the internet and engaged in an “extensive research” period lasting only four months. Once this “deep dive” concluded, Cosgriff embraced holocaust denial, race realism, and sympathy for creating a whites-only nation. He repudiated a “political solution” and believed in a race war wherein white nationalists like himself would violently revolt and take America “back” from Jewish control. Cosgriff reflected on this stage in his political evolution through admitting, “I became kind of like a wignat”. For readers who are not hyper-online, “wignat” is short for “wigger nationalist”, and likely originated from the /pol/ discussion board on the website 4-chan. More pragmatic fascists use the pejorative “wignat” to describe Neo-Nazis who eschew strategic media “optics” and electoral politics in favor of openly advocating for white supremacy, holocaust denial, and for political violence to further the white nationalist cause. Although Cosgriff has since regarded a whites-only state as “unrealistic” in the contemporary political climate, he still believes whites will have to form their own state with no more than 10-15% of the population racialized as nonwhite once white people no longer constitute a racial majority by 2045.
MEMBERSHIP IN DEFUNCT WHITE NATIONALIST ORGANIZATION “IDENTITY EVROPA”
Cosgriff has since claimed that he repudiated the more extreme views held by Neo-Nazis, yet his membership in the now-defunct neo-Nazi organization “Identity Evropa” headed by white nationalist Patrick Casey tells a different story. Cosgriff admitted that he joined the organization all the way back in 2017 during a massive Twitter spat between groypers who supported Fuentes’ decision to hold AFPAC only a month after the Capitol riot and between warier groypers who considered the event an FBI honeypot. Defending his white nationalist credibility, Cosgriff referenced his longstanding membership in “Identity Evropa” and his loyalty toward Fuentes’ livestreamed program “America First”.
“I watched Nick religiously since 2018 and was a part of one of Pat’s failed political ventures [i.e., Identity Evropa, headed by Patrick Casey]…So suck it people telling me to keep my mouth shut because I’ve ‘only been in the movement a few months’”.
Chatlogs obtained by the antifascist media collective Unicorn Riot additionally confirm that he at least attempted to join the New York state chapter of Identity Evropa in 2018. Cosgriff was trusted enough by white nationalist circles to gain admittance to Identity Evropa’s exclusive Dischord server and thanked a coordinator with the username “ThisisChris” for introducing him in the chat.
“Yes, thank you. Happy to be here and excited to contribute,” he gushed.
“Identity Evropa” is in many respects a prototype for Nick Fuentes’ organization “America First”. Like “America First”, “Identity Evropa” sought to primarily attract an upper-middle-class and mostly male membership base through advertising on college campuses. The initial founder of Identity Evropa was a marine veteran named Nathan Damigo who served 5 years in prison for armed robbery against a cabdriver who he perceived as Iraqi. He also gained fame for punching a female counter-protester in the face and participated in the deadly Unite the Right rally in 2017. Fellow white nationalist and America First affiliate Patrick Casey took over “Identity Evropa” in November 2017 following the bad press and lawsuits resulting from Damigo’s involvement in Unite the Right. Casey emceed and organized the inaugural America First Political Action Conference held last year in Washington, D.C. and has embedded himself within Fuentes’ organization from the beginning.However, the groyper’s rift regarding the risk of holding AFPAC shortly after the Capitol Riot forced Casey to leave the America First Foundation.
WHERE COSGRIFF IS NOW: BAD CONTENT, QANON AND WHITE NATIONALIST PARENTING
Since partaking in AFPAC 2021, Cosgriff has devoted himself to vlogging about fascist politics while driving. He alternatively shares racist and misogynistic memes on Instagram or creates Telegram posts explaining how he will indoctrinate his children into white nationalism.
“I think it is reckless to post your family on the internet,” commented groyper-influencer and guy who hits on kids “Beardson Beardly” during one of Cosgriff’s livestreams in April.
“Instead of making bad content, you should go take care of your kids,” another groyper advised Cosgriff on the same stream.
That bad content included shooting an NPC in Fortnite he nicknamed Breonna Taylor after the black woman was murdered in March 2020 by Louisville, KY Police during a no-knock warrant executed under the false pretense of an illegal drug raid. Cosgriff called the politics of Black Lives Matter “fake”, while he shared vlogs and Instagram memes in support of the QAnon conspiracy theory and the January 6th Capitol riot. Q-Anon encompasses the belief that a secretive cabal of pedophiles affiliated with the Democratic Party (who are often coded as Jewish) traffic and torture children to harvest the chemical adrenochrome from their blood. Anti-Semites like Cosgriff also claim the cabal controls the banking system and the government through an informal institution known as the “deep state,” and God ordained Trump with the task of destroying the deep state through violent retribution. The conspiracy theory specifically originated from the pedophile-tolerating online image board 4chan before migrating to the even more unhinged 8-chan—A website rife with pedophiles freely sharing child porn and tips for committing abuse undetected. Jim Watkins, the current proprietor of 8-chan who had a prominent role in fabricating the QAnon conspiracy, in fact owned an internet porn hosting company which included domains linked to child pornography.
Alluding to QAnon, Cosgriff uploaded a video describing his reaction to the Capitol riot which involved fellow groypers like Nick Fuentes and Jaden McNeil. “If you’re against what these patriots did by storming the Capitol, then you’re just a pedophile. You’re a traitor and a pedophile,” he declared, implying that anyone who supported Biden’s election was in-league with the pedophile-controlled deep-state. Such views seem at least tolerated if not outright endorsed in today’s Republican Party, where white nationalists pose for photos next to beaming GOP politicians happy to court their vote.
Sarlacc Attack is a Pacific NorthWest-based researcher specializing in police brutality and fascist organizing. You can follow them on Twitter and contribute to their work on Venmo (@Sarlacc_Attack) and Cash App ($SarlaccAttack).
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