Paul Nehlen, the white nationalist congressional candidate who has already been banned from Twitter for racist and anti-Semitic tweets, has been banned from the “alt-right” Twitter-like app Gab for revealing the identity of a prominent anonymous troll.
The troll, who goes by the name “Ricky Vaughn” online, was one of the top social media influencers of the 2016 campaign, according to the MIT Media Lab. Vaughn’s memes - many of which trafficked in racist and anti-Semitic tropes - reached hundreds of thousands of people before his Twitter account was suspended in October 2016.
Nehlen wrote on Gab this week that Vaughn’s true identity is Douglass Mackey, a 28-year-old former financial consultant who lives in Manhattan’s fancy Upper East Side.
Mackey and other white nationalist had been highly critical of Nehlen for Nehlen’s outspoken racism. Mackey and other allies within the alt-right believe that the best approach to influence the national discourse is more subtle, HuffPost reported.
Nehlen likely revealed Mackey’s identity in response to this feud. But doing so got him banned from Gab for violating its rules on revealing anonymous users’ identities without their consent. “This is not the first time he has done this and was warned in the past about it,” founder Andrew Torba explained.
“Gab is supposed to be the ultimate free speech platform, but so far, Gab users seem mostly on board with the Nehlen banning,” reporter Will Sommer noted. “Amazing how fast he went from being a hero to a villain to that crowd.”
The white nationalist movement has splintered since the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, which led to the death of a counter-protester. Many factions have developed over ideological splits as well as personal feuds - such as when the spokesperson of the Traditionalist Worker Party left the organization after its leader slept with his wife and then physically attacked him when he found out.