If nothing else, Trump’s supporters are good at fighting. With their candidate’s inauguration celebration less than a month away they’re starting to turn on one another over a problem more familiar to high school students: who’s cool enough to be invited to the party.
The DeploraBall—a completely sold out event organized by a vague group called MAGA3X, and that will be held just two blocks from the White House at the National Press Club—isn’t the biggest inauguration celebration, nor is it “official” in any capacity. Even so, Twitter pundit Mike Cernovich, electoral prognosticator Bill Mitchell, and VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, and a variety of other vulgar personalities associated with the alt-right will be in attendance as headliners. But the lineup has already undergone some changes. Sam Hyde—creator of the now-cancelled Adult Swim show Million Dollar Extreme—was initially listed as a guest, but appears to have been evicted from his seat at the popular kids’ table without explanation.
Today’s fuss is the result of Tim Treadstone AKA Tim Gionet, better known by his internet stage name Baked Alaska, being booted from headlining at the DeploraBall after several disparaging tweets about Jewish people. What makes this situation so unusual is that previously, Trump supporters had little problem climbing into bed with bigots. It’s even stranger, because if we’re to believe him, Alaska is the creator of the loosely-organized MAGA3X group throwing the party.
His ban from the DeploraBall represents a deeper trend within Trump’s electorate as it transitions from its roots as an anti-establishment movement to its role as the establishment in the land of Trump. As part of that transition, the movement’s most prominent figures seem to be divesting themselves of the same angry, fringe elements that helped them gain power in the first place. It’s not exactly a seismic rift, but the shift is palpable.
Alaska, you might remember, is the person responsible for starting the ridiculous and short-lived Starbucks Trump Cup phenomenon (which Mike Cernovich supported) which even many of his 130,000 Twitter followers didn’t buy into. Further back he was employed by Buzzfeed as on-camera talent, and it appears some of his videos are still up. Along the way he also made an ill-advised go at being a rapper.
Yesterday, among other screeds, he posted several tweets about Jews controlling the media, white pride, and “white genocide,” which led to private backlash from alt-right figureheads Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannopoulos.
Alaska posted snippets of behind-the-scenes conversations to Twitter:
In a Direct Message conversation, Cernovich attempts to reign Alaska in, telling him to cut out the “JQ bullshit” (shorthand for the “Jewish question”) or be removed from the DeploraBall. The screenshots also imply Cernovich had, at some point, paid Alaska “to fuck off on twitter,” whatever that means.
Alaska, true to form, left the tweets up and proceeded to post a 45-minute rant to Periscope. “There are people in this movement that have not only hijacked the narrative for their own monetary gains, but they’ve actively campaigned against elements of truth that have to be brought out into the light,” he said. According to Alaska, Cernovich has compromised exposing the threat of Judaism to America as well and the vast Globalist conspiracy, in an effort to hawk more copies of his poorly-written ebook. While also mentioning that his own branded t-shirts are available for purchase, Alaska positions himself alongside Sam Hyde and the supposed creator of the term “alt-right” Richard Spencer (formerly banned from Twitter) as true members of the alt-right, and in opposition to Cernovich, Milo, and InfoWars golden boy Paul Joseph Watson.
Unsurprisingly, those tweeting in support of Alaska included a few actual Nazis. He happily retweeted their concerns.
The deeper source of the animosity would appear to be that internet personalities like Cernovich and Yiannopoulos have, for better or worse, been able to leverage the hatred of millions into lucrative careers. Milo in particular, as Breitbart’s star brand, is closer than ever to real power as his erstwhile boss Steve Bannon ascends to the position of Chief White House Strategist. Alaska—unwilling or unable to play the game, or simply too committed to whatever his guiding principles may be—hasn’t, in spite of his sizable grassroots following and notoriety.
According to a leaked email from two weeks before the most recent dustup, Yiannopoulos had refused to participate in the DeploraBall unless he was the main event, an act that squares with the man’s outsized ego. Milo is now on board according to Cernovich, a lineup change he announced through Twitter moments after proclaiming that Alaska wouldn’t be attending. (Alaska would repeatedly say he was banned from the event.) A text conversation, allegedly from Milo, also indicates Alaska was bound by (and had broken) some sort of nondisclosure agreement with him. The particulars of the NDA are unclear.
Exactly how was Cernovich able to boot Alaska from the organization he supposedly created? And what the hell is MAGA3X anyway? According to the DeploraBall’s event fact sheet, “its chief architects are Mike Cernovich, Jeff Giesea, and Jack Posobiec.” MAGA3X also does not appear to be a legal entity of any kind. It “doesn’t have a formal 501c3 or 501c4 organization,” the fact sheet mentions as an explanation for why paperwork issue led to a venue change from the Clarendon Ballroom to the National Press Club. “After it cancelled the event, the Clarendon Ballroom reported that our followers made harassing calls,” it goes on to mention.
The fact sheet also takes great pains to distance the event and its attendees from the alt-right, though Cernovich himself has tweeted on multiple occasions to capitalize on the movement and his involvement with it. The most egregious of which—“I went from libertarian to alt-right after realizing tolerance only went one way and diversity is code for white genocide”—is basically indistinguishable from anything Alaska has tweeted in the past 24 hours.
Further compounding matters, Alaska previously billed himself as Milo’s manager on Twitter. If he was, it does not appear he held that position very long, and the particulars of his departure are unknown.
What are we to make of this mess? Alaska’s implied monetary exchanges and contractural agreements with both Yiannopoulos and Cernovich, as well as the opaque ownership and purpose of MAGA3X make this online catfight all the more confusing. We reached out to Yiannopoulos, Cernovich, and Alaska for clarification, and we will update if we hear back.
The simplified reading is that—as with Pizzagate—the figureheads of this vague political movement, like Cernovich, Yiannopoulos, and Alex Jones, profited off angry, gullible people until it became unwise to do so, and then hung them out to dry. Now that the anti-establishment has become the establishment it’s no longer acceptable to be openly (as opposed to implicitly) consorting with or enabling anti-semites and white supremacists which could jeopardize the power they worked to seize. Alaska’s (and Hyde’s) dismissal after failing to fall in line is part of a deepening rift in the movement between those who crave legitimacy and those who more greatly value their ability to defame Jews on the internet.
Whatever the outcome, we’re a month away from a Trump presidency, and the group that helped elect him is already beginning to fracture over who gets to go to hate prom.