Is Nick Fuentes the future of America First, or its kiss of death?

Self-described Christian reactionary Nick Fuentes built his youthful following by claiming the title of “The Most Canceled Man in America.” Now, he’s consciously weaponizing it to undermine the America First movement. In part one of this three part investigative series, we sort the fact from fiction in Fuentes’ tale of persecution. 

Read part two of The Grayzone’s investigation into Nick Fuentes here.

Read part three of The Grayzone’s investigation into Nick Fuentes here

  • Far-right agitator livestreamer Nick Fuentes has urged his followers to “rape, kill, and die” for him, while demanding Jews “get the fuck out of America” and vowing to “piss on your Talmud.”
  • Fuentes has claimed credit for destroying the congressional candidacy of Joe Kent, a Trump ally and national security state critic, while vying to ruin the reputations of America First leaders like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
  • While claiming he was placed on the US government’s No Fly List for his political views, Fuentes was, in fact, added to the list for threatening, on video, to strangle flight attendants. He was removed after a short period.
  • While telling his followers the US Department of Justice seized his bank accounts because of his activism, those accounts were briefly held in a money laundering investigation and have since been returned.
  • From US Capitol reflecting pool on January 6, Fuentes urged rioters to “break down the barriers and disregard the police!” Unlike some 900 other participants in the melee who have since been arrested, he has not been questioned over the day’s events. Fuentes wonders whether or not federal authorities are pursuing him as part of their criminal conspiracy case against Trump.
  • Fuentes injected himself into a major New York City rally against vaccine mandates against the wishes of organizers, prompting the media to brand the protest as a “white supremacist” event. Some activists involved in the rally questioned whether Fuentes was “controlled opposition.”
  • A reclusive French crypto-millionaire donated $250,000 to Fuentes a day before committing suicide. The contribution was first reported by a publication funded by the US Department of Justice.

“If you look throughout history in the United States, it’s these kinds of figures that tend to be killed by the government. And you know, if not killed, targeted, censored… they went after Malcolm X and RFK and JFK and MLK and characters like this throughout the 60s and 70s. They went after musical artists and activists and political figures. And I think what differentiates me from most as I’m pushing a message, which is really radically different from the mainstream, and I say that in a good way.” – Nick Fuentes in “The Most Canceled Man in America”

“They’re using us to try to put this guy we’ve never heard of, DeSantis, in office. Like, DeSantis is gonna play by the book.” – Kanye West during an Infowars interview, with Fuentes at his side

“I’m a true radical,” 24-year-old livestreamer and far-right agitator told The Grayzone during a lengthy phone conversation on the afternoon of February 12, 2023. “I’m just about creating disruption.”

Characterizing himself as a “Christian reactionary,” Fuentes described his vision for the future of American politics: a total purge of government agencies, complete shutdown of the border, and constitutional reform to mold the country into a true “Christian nation.”

“Not a violent revolution, nothing illegal,” he adds. “I’m a revolutionary in that way. And so that’s why when people say, ‘oh, like, you’re making the Republicans look bad.’ It’s like, ‘oh, f*ck the Republicans and f*ck their party, because it doesn’t do anything for us anyway.'”

Indeed, since he first attracted the national spotlight during the 2016 presidential election season, Fuentes has functioned like a grenade inside the “America First” wing of the Republican Party. After appearing seemingly out of nowhere to shadow hip-hop artist and fashion designer Kanye West to a now-notorious dinner with former President Donald Trump in November of 2022, the establishment press spent days inundating the public with his provocative persona, quoting his Hitler-sympathetic tirades, and providing breathless coverage of his outrageous antics both on and offline. 

In unified chorus, corporate hosts blasted Trump for associating with a “white nationalist” “neo-Nazi” who represented the “worst of the worst” in American politics. 

Yet bizarrely, amidst the swell of hysteria over the brief Fuentes-Trump encounter, virtually no journalist bothered to ask obvious questions about the livestreamer’s trajectory. How exactly did a seemingly fringe Gen-Z internet phenom manage to embed himself within an A-list artist’s trusted inner circle, and from there gain access to the former president just as he launched a fresh run for office? 

If anyone had bothered to account for Fuentes’ rapid rise, they would have uncovered a captivating yet depressingly zoomer coming-of-age saga that illuminates many of modern U.S. history’s most significant cultural and political moments: from Trump’s insurgent presidency; to the January 6 Capitol riot; to West’s fateful dinner in Florida.

They would have also discovered that Fuentes’ surprise appearance at Mar-a-Lago was consistent with a well-established pattern of contradictory behavior. While cultivating a public image akin to an archetypal MAGA villain plucked from the nightmares of Washington’s media and political elite, Fuentes has in fact defined his entire career through an exceptional ability to instigate conflict – and inflict massive structural damage – within the very movement he claims to represent. 

In short order, Fuentes evolved from a charismatic campus conservative to the Commander in Chief of “The Groyper Army” — a dedicated band of disaffected youth who found common purpose through the livestreamer’s underground internet community. He now commands his own non-profit, the America First Foundation, which has raked in enough funding to host an annual convention rivaling even the long-established Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) confab of the Republican elite.

During an October 2022 livestream, Fuentes tuned up his supremacist tirades to a new level, demanding Jews “get out fuck out of America.”

“You serve the devil. You serve Satan!” he thundered. “I piss on your Talmud.”


As Fuentes escalates his rhetorical attacks on Jews, immigrants, gays and any public figure that piques his seemingly endless storehouse of outrage, the coffers of his political operation continue to fill up with cash from mostly anonymous backers. In the meantime, he has demonstrated a unique capacity to arrange photo-ops with popular figures from the pro-Trump MAGA movement, tarnishing their reputations and reveling in his destructive handiwork.

Before Fuentes tagged along to Mar-a-Lago for the infamous meeting with Trump, he worked to stifle the political ambitions of Joe Kent, a  Trump-endorsed military veteran and outspoken critic of the US national security state who ran an outsider campaign for one of the country’s most hotly contested congressional seats. Fuentes also managed to rope the MAGA-centric Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene into a controversial appearance at his “America First” convention, only to spend weeks denigrating the congresswoman after she denounced his racial supremacist views. Before that, the Illinois resident unilaterally inserted himself into a grassroots campaign against vaccine mandates in New York City, enabling local media to cast the racially and politically diverse protesters as radical “white supremacists.” 

The mainstream press have been all too eager paint Fuentes’ various encounters with top MAGA figures and the former president himself as friendly meetings between ideological fellow travelers. Within the right-wing grassroots, however, his destructive conduct has fueled speculation that he is a federal law enforcement asset tasked with discrediting a movement that threatened establishment forces, particularly those within the GOP.

Others who have encountered the livestreamer describe him as “controlled opposition,” asserting he may not even be aware of malign forces influencing his behavior. Even so, Fuentes’ massive fan base views him as the voice of Gen Z conservatism. 

“He’ll get tons of young men rallied behind him feeling the energy he creates,” explained dedicated Groyper Kai Schwemmer. “It’s something that’s just really exciting, and so much excitement has been taken away from young people, having something to attach yourself to is just really refreshing.”

With theories about the Groyper leader abound, one thing is obvious: he has proven to be a curse on the America First movement. By undermining MAGA, the self-described “Christian reactionary” has played into the hands of his establishment opponents on both sides of the political aisle, paradoxically advancing the cause of centrism across the country. 

While bashing rebel politicians, Fuentes has cast himself as the leading political dissident of his time, even producing a full length documentary branding himself as “The Most Canceled Man in America.”

“I think I’ve been targeted because I’m effective,” Fuentes explained in the August 2022 film. “I’m somebody that has been isolated, and separated out, and singled out exclusively for this level of persecution.”

To construct his renegade mythology, Fuentes has repeatedly claimed that the US government placed him on its No Fly List and even seized his personal bank accounts as punishment for his radical political views. “I’m essentially on house arrest,” Fuentes complained. “They’ve taken my money; they’ve taken my freedom to travel.”

Yet as The Grayzone will detail, Fuentes was temporarily placed on the No Fly List because he published a video threat to commit violent attacks against airline workers — not because of his political views. Similarly, a document obtained by The Grayzone demonstrates that the Department of Justice placed its hold on Fuentes’ bank accounts as part of a federal investigation into money laundering — once again, not because of his activism.

Like his placement on the No Fly List, federal authorities ended the hold on Fuentes’ account within a matter of months. Even so, he continued to misrepresent his ability to travel and access his personal funds in the “Most Cancelled Man” documentary that was released after the fact, leading some of his former associates to doubt his authenticity. 

This investigation will further explore Fuentes’ previously overlooked involvement in the US Capitol riot of January 6, 2021, where he urged participants to “break down the barricades and disregard police.” He now wonders whether federal authorities are planning to pursue him as they build a criminal conspiracy case against former President Trump.  

Fuentes told The Grayzone that efforts to correct his claims about his past amount to “victim blaming,” arguing that while his story may have been “embellished,” he has been an authentic victim of persecution by federal authorities.

“Why don’t you try waking up one day and having all of your cash dried up, and then you start missing your payments on your bills because you have no money, and then your credit score drops 200 points?” he protested. Fuentes insisted that he was not able to attend weddings and a friend’s funeral due to his temporary placement on the No Fly List.

Whether or not Fuentes has been entirely truthful about his targeting by the government, he is not off-base when he argues that his unapologetically reactionary views have provided a growing base of young, mostly white American men with succor for their sense of cultural alienation.

I’m a leader of generation Z,” he stated confidently to The Grayzone. “I speak for this generation.”

Fuentes’ appeal is so intense, apparently, that he attracted the admiration of one of America’s most widely recognizable artists, Kanye West, as he spiraled into the depths of professional crisis. They appeared publicly together for the first time in the Austin, Texas studio of a broadcast personality who might actually be the most canceled man in America.

There, they staged a spectacle so unforgettably bizarre that it vaulted Fuentes into the mainstream media limelight, while his famous newfound friend fled into hiding.

A mission to “make Trump’s life miserable”

“There’s a lot of things that I love about Hitler,” hip-hop artist and fashion designer Kanye West declared during his now infamous marathon interview session with television and radio host Alex Jones on December 1, 2022.

“A lot of things,” West added, dragging out vowels to punctuate his proclamation with impassioned emphasis while a visibly uncomfortable Jones fiddled with his clothing and shifted in his seat. 

The inflammatory remark came after Jones attempted to steer West away from openly praising Nazi Germany, one of several such failed attempts the host made throughout their conversation. Yet as West doubled down on his apparent admiration for Adolph Hitler, one of his companions could not contain their visible delight: to Jones’ left, a 24-year-old livestreamer named Nick Fuentes flashed a devious smile, nodding along to West’s remarks with excited approval.

To many viewers, the fact that Fuentes had managed to third-wheel an interview between two of the most widely recognizable, albeit controversial, cultural figures of the modern era may have come as a surprise. Yet his appearance on Infowars was just the culmination of an eventful week for the young internet star and political operative. 

Days earlier, he made headlines when he accompanied West to Palm Beach, Florida, for a dinner with former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Fuentes’ attendance sparked outcry in the establishment media as hosts, pundits, and politicians alike seized on his presence to accuse Trump of breaking bread with an avowed “anti-semite,” “Holocaust denier,” and supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin

“This dinner, I do think, was a new level for Trump Republicans,” MSNBC host and daughter of Cold War architect Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mika, fumed during a November 28 broadcast of Morning Joe. 

“I think it’s a little too much,” she continued, seeking reassurance from her husband and co-host, the former right-wing Republican congressman-turned-anti-Trump centrist militant Joe Scarborough. According to Mika, Trump’s meeting with Fuentes was enough to cause even die-hard supporters of the former president to abandon ship.

While it’s unlikely that rank and file GOP voters were turning to “Morning Joe” for electoral guidance, Brzezinski’s comments revealed the establishment’s fresh line of attack against Trump. Indeed, Fuentes’ trip to Mar-a-Lago was precisely the type of spectacle the ferociously anti-Trump Beltway press corps had long lusted for: after years of angrily denying accusations he harbored racist and antisemitic views, the former president had been caught in the same room as a proud Jew hater and self-styled Christian reactionary — and just days after officially announcing his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election, no less. 

Corporate media pundits, including Brzezinski and Scarborough, pointed to the fact that Mar-a-Lago security had let Fuentes into the resort as proof that Trump willingly received the far-right agitator. Yet firsthand testimony from those involved in the incident, including Fuentes himself, painted a more complex picture of what actually took place.

According to Fuentes’ own version of events, he did not expect to be allowed into Mar-a-Lago but was able to skirt through security by riding the combined coattails of West and former Trump campaign advisor, Karen Giorno. 

“There’s a guest list and you have to be on it, and there’s a security list, so I was told that I may not even be able to get through, ” Fuentes told Infowars. “Well, we pulled up to the club. They checked out Ye. They checked out Karen’s ID and information, [and] we drove up.”

A little-noticed NBC report titled, “The inside story of Trump’s explosive dinner with Ye and Nick Fuentes,” appeared to support that narrative, revealing the controversy was actually the intended result of a carefully constructed conspiracy masterminded by former Breitbart editor and notoriously theatrical right-wing media personality, Milo Yiannopoulos. 

Speaking on the record with NBC, Yiannopoulos took credit for directing the scandalous scene at Mar-a-Lago, claiming he staged the meeting in order “to make Trump’s life miserable.” 

According to NBC, Yiannopoulos successfully smuggled Fuentes into Mar-a-Lago by convincing Trump’s former campaign advisor, Giorno, to drive West and his companions to the former president’s residence because he knew “news of the dinner would leak and Trump would mishandle it.”

“I also wanted to send a message to Trump that he has systematically repeatedly [sic] neglected, ignored, abused the people who love him the most, the people who put him in office, and that kind of behavior comes back to bite you in the end,” Yiannopoulos explained. 

Speaking to The Grayzone, Fuentes characterized the NBC report as a “typical Milo lie,” describing the dinner as a “last minute thing.” When asked whether or not he recognized that he compromised Trump by simply showing up at Mar-a-Lago, Fuentes insisted he did not believe news of their meeting “would ever get out” and that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a turkey dinner with his “true heroes.”

Regardless, the ensuing national freakout directly coincided with a plunge in Trump’s popularity among GOP voters, dealing the former president a political blow as his potential primary challengers waited silently in the wings.

“This is a f—ing nightmare,” a source identified as a “longtime Trump advisor” complained to NBC in the midst of the Fuentes scandal. “If people are looking at [Florida Governor Ron] DeSantis to run against Trump, here’s another reason why.”

West himself appeared to acknowledge the political implications of his and Fuentes’ visit to Mar-a-Lago during their interview on Infowars.

“They’re using us to try to put this guy we’ve never heard of, DeSantis, in office,” the artist complained. “Like, DeSantis is gonna play by the book.”

West informally announced his own campaign for president in the 2024 election just days before his spot on Infowars. Though West has yet to officially file for the race, Fuentes claimed to be advising the artist’s campaign as of November 2022.

Given his almost masochistic penchant for inviting public outrage, West’s decision to form an alliance with a popular livestreamer branded as “The Most Canceled Man in America” was only natural. Unfortunately for West, however, his new friend was not merely a master of controversy, but of deceptive marketing.

The most canceled man?

For years, Fuentes has cultivated his image as “The Most Canceled Man in America” in order to win sympathetic coverage from more influential media figures and gain credibility among his rapidly expanding base. And though he has undoubtedly been swept up in an unjust and widespread censorship campaign that ultimately targeted former President Trump himself, Fuentes has also misled his followers about central facts regarding his story of government persecution.

When contacted by The Grayzone, Fuentes asserted he is “treated like a terrorist for saying Jews run the media and Israel is our foe.” Yet a closer look reveals that’s not entirely true.

Throughout August and September of 2018, Silicon Valley censors waged a concerted attack on popular alternative news host and founder of the Infowars outlet, Alex Jones, systematically removing his platforms on YouTube, Twitter, Apple, Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, Paypal, and virtually all other social media and digital payment sites. As political pundits celebrated the coordinated deplatforming of someone they characterized as a “far-right conspiracy theorist,” a new precedent for censorship in the world of online media was successfully established with little to no resistance. 

Within months of its assault on Jones, Big Tech’s suppression effort expanded to include figures such as Fuentes. In 2019, sites and applications including Twitch, Discord, and PayPal permanently banned the livestreamer. YouTube followed suit the following year, while Twitter pulled the plug on his account in July of 2021 (Fuentes’ Twitter account was reinstated, then banned again, in January of 2023). 

Amidst the unparalleled attack on free speech, Fuentes came forward with claims that powerful forces had taken their effort to restrain him even further than their war against Jones or anyone else. On April 27, 2021, Fuentes revealed he was prevented from boarding a flight from Chicago to South Florida because the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had placed him on the No Fly List. 

“This is overt political persecution,” the livestreamer declared. “America is not a free country.”

Later that evening, Fuentes convened a livestream to announce that in addition to placing him on the No Fly List, federal authorities had seized his personal bank accounts without explanation. Though he initially refused to share specifics, he would later tell documentary filmmakers the total funds seized amounted to roughly $500,000. 

“So, when people accuse me of being a fed, it’s like, you have no idea what I have been put through,” Fuentes griped during the April 2021 livestream.

Fuentes’ account of persecution attracted an outpouring of support from conservative media figures, including those with whom he had previously sparred with in public. 

“The government putting citizens on No Fly Lists for their political views is a major issue and all freedom loving Americans should want answers and transparency at a minimum,” tweeted conservative author and filmmaker Matt Walsh, a prior target of Fuentes’ campus crusade against the celebrities of MAGA. 

“You don’t have to agree with Nick Fuentes to feel this way,” Walsh added. 

Walsh’s request for transparency was well-founded. Though he presented a narrative in which the US government had targeted him as punishment for uncouth political views, court documents reveal the TSA actually placed Fuentes on the No Fly List after he published a video in which he expressed his “intent to harm flight attendants.”

“Let me tell you: I’m gonna land, and then I’m gonna get in the airport parking lot, and I’m gonna wait for you, and then I’m gonna put a mask over your face; your mouth and nose,” Fuentes exclaimed as he conjured up an imaginary exchange with a flight attendant during the livestream in question.

“You still need to be wearing a mask, even if you can’t breathe,” Fuentes continued, simulating the suffocation of an airline worker with his hands.

Broadcast at the height of the US government’s authoritarian response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Fuentes’ unhinged fantasy was seemingly intended as a humorous bit. Even so, federal authorities temporarily restricted the livestreamer’s flight activity in response to the graphic threat. 

Regardless of Fuentes’ intentions, court records demonstrate that he was not placed on the No Fly List due to his personal opinions, but because he discussed strangling flight attendants in an airport parking lot, and did so on video. Additionally, the documents show the TSA removed Fuentes from its Deny Boarding List as of November 2, 2021.

What’s more, a document obtained by The Grayzone reveals that the DOJ removed its hold on Fuentes’ bank accounts on July 21, 2021. A letter sent from Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Aloi to Bank of America on that date not only lifted the temporary seizure of Fuentes’ funds, but explained the DOJ froze his accounts “on the ground that they contained proceeds of money laundering, wire fraud, and threat violations.”

Though he went public with the information in April, the letter shows DOJ placed its hold on Fuentes’ account on January 23, 2021. 

The DOJ’s action came just days after a curious January 14 report attempted to link an anonymous French donor to several media outlets and individuals, including some who participated in the US Capitol Riot earlier that month. The oddly-timed post on the DOJ-funded crypto blog Chainalysis documented how the donor, identified as “a now-deceased computer programmer,” unloaded over $500,000 worth of crypto into US-based accounts on December 8, 2020. Of the total sum, roughly $250,000 was transferred to Fuentes’ crypto wallet. 

In a bizarre twist, French media site 20 Minutes reported the donor in question committed suicide hours after making the crypto transfer — though neither 20 Minutes nor Chainalysis disclosed the patron’s name. He was later identified as 35 year old Laurent Bachelier, a reclusive computer programmer and “Bitcoin millionaire” who was virtually unknown prior to December 2020.

Considering these dates and the contents of the letter above, it is reasonable to assume that the DOJ’s temporary hold on Fuentes’ account was a ricochet effect of its investigation into Bachelier’s financial activity and links to the events January 6.

Whatever prompted the inquiry, it is clear that Fuentes not only misrepresented the nature of the freeze on his account, but continued to claim his funds had been stolen long after the DOJ returned them.

According to a former associate of Fuentes, the livestreamer pushed ahead with his exaggerated account because he wanted to book appearances on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Alex Jones’ Infowars, and other major conservative platforms. Indeed, the embellished yarns of his run-in with the TSA and frozen funds have been central to his dissident mythology.

“I’m being punished by the federal government in a real, tangible way that is really life-changing for doing nothing other than saying something that they disagree with,” Fuentes asserted in the August 2022 documentary, “The Most Canceled Man in America.”

When questioned by The Grayzone, Fuentes argued that the debate over his “most cancelled man” narrative boils down to “semantics.” He asserted he did not actually learn of being removed from the No Fly List until March of 2022, and that two of the largest airline companies in the country continued to blacklist him afterwards. Though he could not comment on the status of his finances due to an ongoing federal investigation, he insisted that both Chase and Bank of America have banned him from opening accounts.

Asked whether or not he misled his followers and viewers of his August 2022 documentary, Fuentes flatly insisted: “I am the most canceled man.”

“Break down the barriers and disregard the police!”

The events of January 6, 2021 have prompted a frantic search by the US political and media establishment for “the truth” about what led to the physical breach of the US Capitol building that afternoon. These forces have characterized the Capitol riot as everything from an “attempted coup” to this generation’s equivalent of the 9/11 terror attacks, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Every news network and streaming service imaginable has produced its own take on the story, while the House of Representatives dedicated over $3 million and countless hours to its own supposedly bipartisan investigation into what took place that day.

Amid the official mania, however, an important piece of video footage captured outside the Capitol on January 6 has been conspicuously absent from mainstream coverage.

“It appears we are taking the Capitol!” an excited voice blared into a megaphone, addressing pro-Trump demonstrators gathered on near the Capitol reflecting pool.

“Keep marching, and don’t relent!” the voice continued, before urging the crowd to “break down the barriers and disregard the police!”

The footage represents perhaps the most flagrant example of a single individual encouraging those present on January 6 to continue with the breach of the US Capitol. And if anyone with even superficial knowledge of the MAGA-aligned media space had ever reviewed the video in question, they would have immediately recognized the rousing call to action had not been delivered by an average protester — but by Nick Fuentes. 

“This Capitol belongs to us, now!” Fuentes thundered into the megaphone as his cohorts cheered.

By the time of the January 6 Capitol riot, Fuentes had established himself as a leading voice of the conservative movement’s meme-obsessed, irony-cloaked, and mostly male rising generation. Employing the quirky charisma and oratory skills of an exceptionally gifted high-school debate team captain, Fuentes had amassed a loyal following of internet-consumed fans, known as “Groypers,” since he first captured national media attention during the 2016 presidential election season. 

Numbering in the untold thousands, Fuentes had previously weaponized his “Groyper Army” against rival figures in the MAGA-aligned political network, including conservative campus organizer Charlie Kirk and prolific podcaster Ben Shapiro. On January 6, 2021, however, he led his troops into their most consequential battle yet.

As hordes of frenzied Trump voters flooded the halls of the US legislature possessed with rage over an election they viewed as stolen, Fuentes’ faithful followers proudly carried the banner of his “America First Foundation” into the Capitol Rotunda and beyond. Yet as they pressed ahead with their ill-fated advance, their seemingly confident general was nowhere to be found.

Aside from video of his address on near the Capitol reflecting pool, there is virtually no footage documenting Fuentes’ whereabouts for the remainder of January 6. Several former associates informed The Grayzone that after hanging around outside for a brief period, the Groyper leader ultimately left the scene to dine at a local Hibachi restaurant. There is no evidence he ever entered to Capitol or any of its restricted grounds.

As the FBI rounded up what it considered to be the main perpetrators of the Capitol riot in the months following January 6, at least five individuals affiliated with Fuentes’ “America First Foundation” were among those arrested. Oddly, Fuentes expressed little sympathy for the Groypers that had heeded his call to storm the Capitol and “disregard” law enforcement, only to become predictably entangled in a federal crackdown.

In fact, he fired off a message on his Telegram channel that not only dismissed his criminally implicated followers as having “been caught up in the DOJ dragnet,” but denigrated his former friends and colleagues as “losers.” 

Faced with criticism over his response, he later demanded his remaining followers take a loyalty oath to “kill, rape, and die for Nick Fuentes.”

When questioned by The Grayzone regarding his Capitol address, Fuentes insisted that he was merely instructing those around him to “disregard” the police’s insistence that the protest was limited by a 5 P.M. curfew. He says he was not instructing people to tear down the barricades and enter the Capitol, but to remove fences blocking their access to a nearby lawn. What’s more, he said that while federal authorities have notified his lawyers that he is under investigation over January 6, they have yet to question him regarding the day’s events.

Compare the treatment of Fuentes to that of conservative activist Brandon Straka, whose home was raided by the FBI simply because he filmed video from the Capitol steps during the January 6 riot which contained an unidentified voice urging protesters to “go, go, go.” Federal authorities hit Straka with felony charges over the video, while the media accused him of “egging on” the riot despite the fact the speaker was off camera. 

Though many of Straka’s advocates maintain the voice in question was not his, he ultimately entered a plea deal with the government in order to avoid felony charges. 

The puzzling case of Fuentes’ provocative behavior follows a familiar script. The Grayzone and other outlets have exposed the pivotal role played by John Sullivan, a shady activist who was kicked out of his local Black Lives Matter chapter due to a pattern of inexplicably destructive behavior, in inciting the advance within the Capitol that precipitated the police killing of 36-year-old Ashli Babbitt. Meanwhile, independent outlets such as Revolver News have raised questions about the relationship between federal authorities and Ray Epps, a figure who was filmed urging protestors to “go into the Capitol” on the evening of January 5. Epps later bragged about “orchestrating” the events of January 6. 

Unlike Sullivan and Epps, however, Fuentes commanded a nationwide base of supporters which he mobilized to attend the January 6 protests. He told The Grayzone that shortly following his speech, however, he realized things were “getting hairy” and that it was time for him to “get out.”

While Sullivan was later arrested and charged over his actions, to this date there is no record of the FBI having questioned either Fuentes or Epps. 

Both men did, however, eventually testify before the House Select Committee tasked with investigating January 6. Oddly, the transcript of Fuentes’ testimony revealed that while committee members presented a handful of comments the livestreamer made in reference to the day’s events, they somehow failed to uncover the publicly available video of him instructing the crowd to “break down the barricades and disregard the police” that afternoon.

What’s more, considering the committee was established for the purpose of implicating former President Trump in the mayhem of January 6, Fuentes and Epps’ respective testimonies merely demonstrated that they had each been coerced into participating in a political witch hunt — not a genuine, independent federal investigation — under the threat of jail time.

“I had done nothing wrong at the Capitol, I committed no crime,” Fuentes explained in “The Most Canceled Man in America,” the full-length documentary profile released in August of 2022. 

Fuentes said that on the afternoon of January 6, he simply attended the Trump rally on the White House Ellipse before walking to the Capitol, where he “did not participate in any violence, [or] illegal, criminal activity.” While that statement is technically true, Fuentes’ carefully worded narrative conveniently omitted the moment he urged those around him to “break down the barricades and disregard the police.”

Speaking with The Grayzone, Fuentes disclosed that the federal investigation into his actions on January 6 is ongoing and open-ended. When asked why authorities have yet to question him even though they have arrested over 900 other individuals in connection with the Capitol Riot as of January 2023, Fuentes offered his own theory to answer what he described as “the million dollar question.”

“There’s tiers to this,” he explained. “The lowest tier is the the guy that trespassed, the second tier is the militias. The next tier is the organizers… this is the key to my legal fate, if I’m considered an organizer, you know, maybe I get in trouble.”

“Trump may be charged, Don Jr. may be charged, Alex Jones, Ali [Alexander] may be charged, I may be charged, but nobody in that category has been seen charged,” he continued. “My suspicion is that they are building a conspiracy case against these types.”

For anyone willing to pay, a “golden ticket to insanity”

Though he fell under federal investigation after the Capitol riot, Fuentes showed no qualms about intensifying his provocative activities in the months following January 6. As federal authorities rounded up his former friends over their participation in the chaos at the Capitol, Fuentes set his sights on a new dissident frontier: the battle against mask mandates and forced vaccination policy in New York City following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Born as an answer to the local government’s exceptionally restrictive and discriminatory response to the virus, the New York Freedom Movement was primarily comprised of teachers, nurses, business owners, and concerned citizens who opposed policies such as employer-mandated vaccination requirements and the implementation of digital “vaccine passports” in the city. Its participants came from a diverse array of ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds while holding personal allegiances that spanned across virtually the entire spectrum of political thought. 

Above all, like much of the popular resistance to heavy-handed Covid response policies across the globe, the New York Freedom Movement represented a grassroots campaign led by individuals who were willing to put their broader disagreements aside in order to fight for a common cause. Then, Fuentes came to town. 

In November of 2021, New Yorkers initiated a direct struggle against the vaccine mandate for city employees that went into effect on the first of that month. At the time, over 9,000 city workers including teachers, firefighters, and government employees had been placed on administrative leave simply because they refused to take the novel Covid vaccine. 

On November 1, a group of those workers forced local media to cover their campaign by preventing the movement of sanitation trucks in Staten Island through an act of physical protest. 

“Tonight, I will stand in front of those trucks and if it takes getting arrested I will get arrested because it doesn’t matter,” one demonstrator reportedly told the crowd. “The only thing that matters is our freedom.”

While four protesters were written up for disorderly conduct that evening, the November 2 demonstration did not result in any violence or arrests. Yet when the New York Freedom Movement returned to Staten Island one week later, something had changed.

“There was basically a whole entire army of police waiting to arrest whoever decided to stand in front of the trucks,” one of the protest organizers, John Matland, told The Grayzone.

According to Matland, the cops immediately approached him to ask about his group’s plan to protest outside of a nearby hospital and lead a march down a local boulevard alongside a movement organizer named “Nick Fuentes.”

“We didn’t know anything about it and we don’t know who Nick Fuentes was,” Matland recalled, saying he and his friends merely wished to continue with their own speeches and planned demonstration at Pfizer’s Staten Island office.

Yet when local news media filed their reports on the Staten Island protests later that day, the voices of Matland and his companions were virtually ignored. Instead, media coverage focused entirely on the made for TV extravaganza Fuentes and his allies had orchestrated down the street. Flanked by dozens of his Groyper followers, a bulletproof vest-clad Fuentes led chants of “America First!” outside of Staten Island University as masked Antifa counter protesters hurled insults at him and attempted to ignite a physical brawl (he later claimed to The Grayzone that the vest was “inspired” by Kanye West’s uniform throughout his Donda tour in the Summer of 2021). 

“They are going to have to kill me before I get this vaccine,” Fuentes shouted into a megaphone. “I hope the same can be said for all of you.”

Later that week, Fuentes staged an anti-mandates demonstration outside of the Mayor’s residence in New York City that resulted in an ugly standoff with local Black Lives Matter activists — supplying local reporters with yet another picture perfect media spectacle. 

Fuentes told The Grayzone that despite being an Illinois resident, he decided to fight New York City’s local Covid policies because it had “the worst vaccine mandate” in the country. Yet by simply showing up, Fuentes successfully redirected media attention away from the plight of working class New Yorkers resisting forced vaccination and medical segregation and onto the gutter-level distraction of sectarian street fighting. Most significantly, his presence played into the establishment narrative that anyone who opposed vaccine mandates in New York and beyond was a dangerous “extremist.”

“Antifa and BLM activists clash with far-right anti-vaccine mandate protesters outside NYC’s Gracie Mansion,” read a headline in the UK’s Daily Mail.

“Nick Fuentes, identified by ADL and FBI as a white supremacist, leads anti-vaccine mandate rally in NYC,” blared Staten Island Live. 

Meanwhile, the centrist tabloid, The Daily Beast, seized on Fuentes’ presence in New York to declare, “White Supremacists Are Going All In on Anti-Vaxxer Rallies.” 

To the firefighters, nurses, and teachers who had lost their jobs and livelihoods over their refusal to take an experimental injection, Fuentes’ behavior served an all too convenient purpose.

“I believe that Nick Fuentes is being propped up to demonize, as a ‘Christian fundamentalist,’ anyone with Christian faith,” Kevin Peters, a participant in the New York Freedom Rally, told The Grayzone. “So I feel like this is just all about pitting Jews versus Christians, black and white people against each other.”

Kristin Buckbee, a writer and organizer of the New York Freedom Rally, agreed: “If we’re just sharing opinions about what we think about Nick Fuentes, I think he’s totally an asset. I think there’s no question he’s an asset.”

Though they viewed Fuentes as “controlled opposition,” the New York medical freedom activists noted that thanks to his dependence on crypto it is essentially impossible to determine who is pulling the livestreamer’s strings.

“Anybody that wants to create controversy on the right, or get him to be involved with somebody like Kanye West, all they have to do is keep funding him and his mouth will do the rest,” Matland explained. 

“They don’t even have to coach him. He’s their golden ticket to insanity.”

Mask on, mask off

During a May 2022 interview on the Kino Casino YouTube channel, Jaden McNeil, a former friend of Fuentes who served as the treasurer of his America First Foundation, reflected on the freakish behavior the livestreamer displayed throughout their New York anti-mandates campaign. In one particularly eerie disclosure, McNeil recalled that Fuentes repeatedly expressed his desire to wear a “Donda Mask” — the gimp-style full face covering worn by hip hop artist Kanye West during his 2013 Yeezus tour — to their rallies in the city.

“I’m like, ‘yeah, probably not the best idea to be around like, 60-year-old Trump supporters and wear a black mask,’” McNeil recounted his veto of the proposed costume. 

“He really does think he’s Kanye West,” McNeil added, offering a window into Fuentes’ ego. “One day he’s Stalin, the next day he’s Kanye.” (The video was removed by YouTube due to an apparent mass-flagging campaign encouraged by Fuentes. A portion can be seen below).

Within a year of McNeil’s remarks, Fuentes had managed to position himself as one of his idol’s most trusted advisors. When Fuentes and West arrived at the Infowars studio for an interview with host Alex Jones on December 1, West shocked the audience — and apparently Jones himself — with his decision to wear a Donda mask throughout the entirety of their discussion. 

Kanye West (left) and Nick Fuentes (right) during their interview with Infowars host Alex Jones (center)

Appearing to have been under the impression that West booked his show in order to dispel claims he harbored antisemitic beliefs, Jones seemed increasingly uncomfortable as the hip-hop artist used their conversation to wade deeper into the realm of Nazi apologia. Fuentes, by comparison, looked to be relishing every moment, his observable glee intensifying as West’s remarks grew more incendiary by the moment.

West accentuated his absurd performance roughly 20 minutes into the stream, when he whipped out an orange fly swatter and bottle of “Yoo-Hoo” chocolate milk in order to act out an imagined conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Net ‘n Yoo-hoo” (Netanyahu). 

“I’m in the twilight zone right now,” a visibly awestruck Jones exclaimed.

Jones would later denounce West and Fuentes, telling podcaster Steven Crowder he believed their behavior on his show reflected a “homoerotic” obsession and “Hitler fetish.” Fuentes responded by accusing Jones of being “controlled opposition,” claiming the outspoken host had thrown him under the bus in order “to appease Jewish groups.”

For his part, West has been largely absent from public life since his December 1 appearance on Infowars. The artist’s uncharacteristic silence was aided by Twitter’s decision to permanently ban his account on December 2, after he tweeted a graphic that painted a Swastika over an image of the Star of David. 

“Hopefully you’re gonna take the mask off,” Jones nervously joked following one of West’s interactions with Prime Minister “Net ‘n Yahoo.”

 “Is this actually Ye here, folks?” the clearly befuddled host wondered aloud.

Speaking with The Grayzone, Fuentes characterized the media’s effort to blame him for West’s embrace of Hitler and behavior on Infowars as “racist.”

“I’ve seen this narrative where people are blaming it on me and saying that I’m like, the Rasputin figure in his ear,” Fuentes remarked. “When in reality, that is just what he decided to say that day, and nobody can control him.”

As for accusations he’s controlled opposition?

“The idea that my function is to make everyone look bad is shackled thinking,” Fuentes argued. “You are a liberal and you are allowing bad faith regime media to set the frame. This insinuation that I’m a bad actor because I get bad press is house-slave mentality. You’re victim blaming Django.”