Conference organizers continue to promote Benjamin
despite concerns raised about his behavior.
August 30, 2017 – Carl Benjamin, pictured above behind a flag associated with the alt-right, will appear at the Mythinformation conference on September 30th at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The image was shared on social media after a gathering at VidCon in June. Benjamin stands behind the flag for the fictional land of ‘Kekistan’. It mimics the Nazi flag, except that green replaces the usual red and a 4chan logo (an online home to racists and alt-right supporters) replaces the swastika. Others in the picture are flashing the OK hand sign, a recently adopted signal of white nationalists.
Several individuals in the atheist and skeptic communities, including PZ Meyers, Dan Arel and Steve Shives expressed concern that the conference is giving a platform to Benjamin. In his home country of Britain Benjamin was promoted at a English Defence League rally, a group known as a far-right protest movement.
Benjamin has been called ‘a great entry point’ by neo-nazi Richard Spencer. Before being permanently banned from Twitter Benjamin tweeted out that ‘Jews aren’t white, they’re Jewish’. He has since opened a Gab account, and has asked only his alt-right followers whether, if they had to chose, would they prefer to live with Muslims or Jews.
The Kekistani flag
Benjamin promoted ‘Kekistan’ and its flag on Twitter before he was permanently banned from the social media platform in August. He has also talked about it on his YouTube channel and in guest appearances.
According to reporting by David Neiwer at the Southern Poverty Law Center, ‘For the alt-right, those core ideas all revolve around white males, the patriarchy, nationalism, and race, especially the underlying belief that white males and masculinity are under siege – from feminists, from liberals, from racial, ethnic, and sexual/gender minorities.’
Several news reports mention Kekistani flags on display at Trump rallies and by those marching for the alt-right and white supremacy at protests, including at alt-right marches in Dallas, Charlottesville and Boston.
This is Wiggz, 32. Wearing Kekistan flag, Trump hat. "Here to protect free speech. And the monument should stand." pic.twitter.com/KsJwuQ5QiT
— Robert Wilonsky (@RobertWilonsky) August 20, 2017
In May, conservative activists and white nationalists held a rally on Boston Common. Josh Behrens described the scene in his article When White Supremacy Came to Boston.
‘Unlike the massive showing in August, only around 300 people came out that day—about 150 on each side.
Honestly, even though it was tense, the whole thing felt a little pathetic, just as ridiculous as the nearby LARPers swinging foam swords at each other. Both sides seemed as though they were role-playing, from the pathetically pale 4chan group with their Kekistan flags (green flags that are designed to look like swastikas), to the fully-decked-out militiamen complete with fatigues, combat sunglasses on a cloudy day, and a swagger that only comes when one is wielding an assault rifle.’
Due to its spread on the internet, the Kekistani flag has been used by other far-right activists. In Protest against far-right rally draws thousands in Vancouver, CBC reported that:
‘According to a Facebook page for the event, the rally is protesting Islam and the Canadian government’s immigration policies. The page is no longer live, but the demonstration was expected to begin around 2 p.m. PT.
By 3 p.m., a handful of far-right protesters appeared to have gathered. They held Confederate flags and the “alt-right” symbols for Pepe and Kekistan. One wore a shirt in support of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The OK hand sign
A large number of individuals pictured with Benjamin are conspicuously displaying the OK hand symbol, appropriated as a symbol of the alt-right in recent months. (See: The OK sign is becoming an alt-right symbol).
Lauren Southern, a controversial alt-right figure, confirmed ‘OK’ was an ‘in-group’ communication. “We just say ‘do the thing’ and everyone knows what you’re talking about,” Southern said, in reference to the hand sign. She provided a picture of Donald Trump making the ‘OK’ sign.
According to Know Your Meme, 4chan users launched Operation O-KKK in in February 2017. Their goal was to “flood Twitter and other social media websites” with posts claiming the OK hand symbol was a “symbol of white supremacy,” along with a picture of an OK symbol identifying the three up-turned fingers as a symbol for “W” and the thumb-and-forefinger circle as a symbol for “P” (below).
While the population at large is unaware of the meaning the alt-right attaches to the symbol, it is used as a way for white supremacists and the alt-right to recognize others who hold their views online. Ryan Lenz, a senior investigative reporter at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said, “I think when you see someone like Stephen Miller very clearly adjusting his suit with the hand gesture on both hands, it is very clearly the Pepe OK. You know what that means.”
Mythicist Milwaukee continues to stand by their decision to promote Benjamin and profit from ticket sales based on his reputation.