ATLANTA, July 8, 2020 — The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch today released the first two installments of an investigative series into the background of One America News Network (OANN) host Jack Posobiec, who has collaborated with white supremacists, neo-fascists and antisemites for years, while producing propaganda that President Trump and his inner circle have publicly embraced, the investigation found.
The series explores Posobiec’s ties to far-right extremists, not only in the United States, but in Europe. The first article in the series examines how Posobiec rose from blogging about “Game of Thrones” under a pseudonym to linking up with white supremacists like Richard Spencer and a neo-Nazi who endorsed terrorism. It also looks at how Posobiec used Twitter to target Jewish journalists with antisemtic hate and promote the now-infamous “Pizzagate” disinformation campaign during a six-month period where he described himself as “fmr CBS News” in his Twitter bio.
“Jack Posobiec’s extensive ties to white supremacists should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who hasn’t made the connection between Trump’s MAGA movement and hate,” said Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter for the Southern Poverty Law Center and author of the series. “President Trump singled out Posobiec with praise telling him to ‘keep up the good work’ and used his spin to whitewash extremist violence in this country. One America News Network hired Posobiec, either without looking into his ties to white supremacists or without caring about them. It’s an absolute disgrace for our country that people like this are embraced by the president.”
This investigation documents how in July 2016, Posobiec connected with far-right figures like Spencer. He introduced himself as a white nationalist sympathizer and described himself as someone “tightly connected” to the Trump campaign when he attended the Republican National Convention (RNC) while working for Citizens for Trump — a 501(c)(4) with ties to longtime political operative Roger Stone.
During the convention, Mike Cernovich, a pro-Trump internet personality, hosted an event at a bar outside of the RNC, where it was reported that, Posobiec, male supremacist Roosh V, Spencer, Peter Brimelow of the white nationalist VDARE and Nathan Damigo, founder of white nationalist group Identity Evropa (now known as American Identity Movement), were among those in attendance. Posobiec continued to correspond and interact with Spencer after the event, making a reference in private text messages to the white supremacist author Harold Covington.
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Posobiec described himself as “fmr CBS News” in his Twitter bio while appearing to cover news events, like press conferences. CBS News and two affiliates where he lived told Hayden that he never worked there. During the time Posobiec presented himself as “fmr CBS News”, he was promoting disinformation campaigns like “Pizzagate,” a lie that suggested Democratic Party officials were running a child sex dungeon out of a Washington, D.C., restaurant.
Additionally, the extreme far-right collective Anti-Com, whose membership crosses over with neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, claimed to be in private contact with Posobiec during the planning of a pro-Steve Bannon rally outside the White House in 2017.
The second piece examines Posobiec’s Twitter account and analyzes how the social media company allowed him to weaponize his platform to promote hate and mislead the public without consequences.
An analysis of his Twitter account showed:
- Posobiec used Twitter to post Periscope videos mocking the Holocaust.
- Posobiec not only spread fake news campaigns like “Pizzagate,” but other false or misleading stories as well.
- The investigation verified a series of tweets in which Posobiec used the “1488” meme, which is a combination of digits popularly used by white supremacists — 14 represents the infamous “14 Words,” a mantra about securing “a future for white children,” and 88 represents “Heil Hitler.”
- Posobiec posted tweets appearing to endorse white vigilantism in response to antiracist demonstrations in June 2020.
When Twitter was shown documentation of his past tweets that would violate its terms of service, the social media company told Hayden that Posobiec, who is on pace to reach 1 million Twitter followers by the end of the year, is not “currently” in violation of its policies.