Dressed in a burgundy dress shirt, with a full beard and shoulder-length brown hair, and wearing a black felt hat, Chadwick Seagraves cut a striking figure as he stood on the steps of the Chapel Hill Courthouse in North Carolina in June 2017 and gave a hearty introduction to Augustus Sol Invictus. Seagraves’ guest was a failed Florida US Senate candidate who was a rising star of the alt-right in the run-up to the violent Unite the Right rally.
The Chapel Hill gathering, billed as a free speech rally, was in reality a recruitment event for the Proud Boys and Fraternity of the Alt-Knight, a short-lived street-fighting formation that bridged the Proud Boys to the more ideologically extreme components of Unite the Right coalition. Seagraves, as allegedly revealed through his “Elias McMahone; A Heathen.” Twitter account, was an active member of the Proud Boys since the early days when the group got active in North Carolina in 2017. What wasn’t known then was that he was also a team manager in the technology support services office at NC State University in nearby Raleigh, where he is accused of digitally harassing at least one student activist through his anonymous Twitter account.
Earlier this week, the Anonymous Comrade Collective — a left-wing Twitter account that is, as its name indicates, anonymous — identified Seagraves as the instigator of a much more ambitious, if clumsy project. Files containing names and personal information for thousands of left-wing activists, primarily in Portland, Ore. and Asheville, NC, were published on social media and then circulated on far-right platforms on Nov. 10. The meta data for 1,446 out of 2,141 files pointed back to Seagraves, according to Anonymous Comrade Collective.
After some of the data was dribbled out on the /pol/ — Politically Incorrect channel on 4chan — a notorious forum for white supremacists — the boards lit up with messages from anonymous users fantasizing about violence.
“Good. Give us the list,” one user wrote. “We will assemble a squad and start eliminating antifa one by one.”
“Just dump the fucking list of names and addresses,” another wrote. “It’s time to go to war.”
Another user issued a challenge: “Anons, hypothetically, if you lived in or around Portland, what would you do to help deal with the degenerate scum posted in this thread?”
And another bragged that an operation was already underway: “Active measures are being taken in both civic nationalist and national socialist and white nationalist groups. Buckle up.”
Among those targeted by the data dump of personal information — commonly known as doxing — is Olivia Katbi Smith, co-chair of the Portland chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. Smith filed a lawsuit against Seagraves in Multnomah County for invasion of privacy on Thursday.
Smith said in an email to Raw Story that Seagraves intentionally shared information that he methodically collected on herself, friends, family and other Portland activists “in a way to incite emotional and physical harm.
“He also used my social media connections to fabricate a ‘chart of antifa’ that paints me as a high-value target,” she added. “I have always been public about my involvement in the Democratic Socialists of America, and this person sensationalized that to make me a target. Since this information was posted, it has spread like wildfire across the most dangerous far-right corners of the internet, where anonymous cowards are saying unspeakable things and making horrific threats.”
A separate tranche of personal information compiled in two PDFs entitled “Asheville NC Auntie Fa” parts 1 and 2 totaling 85 pages compiles social media screenshots and crude commentary on individuals in the western North Carolina city.
“It’s kind of a dragnet,” said Libertie Valance, a member of the Firestorm Book cooperative and one of the primary targets. “It’s pretty clear that Chadwick got obsessed with a handful of people in Asheville, and mapped their social networks. It seems like he was looking for people who might be ‘antifa’ or anarchists. It seems like that means anyone who looks queer, trans or punk. It’s clear there was particular vitriol for queer and trans people.”
Valance said the leftist activist community in Asheville has been dealing with doxing since at least 2018.
“The way Chadwick’s peers utilize these doxes and zero in on things like gender identity to try to emotionally destroy their targets in a way that some of us can brush off,” they said, “but for others those are difficult issues. It’s been pretty devastating.”
Seagraves could not be reached for comment on this story.
NC State’s non-discrimination policy prohibits harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, actual or perceived gender, and other protected categories. Seagraves earns a salary of $92,820, according to public information available through the UNC System. Mick Kulikowski, a spokesperson for NC State University, told Raw Story: “We’ve received multiple reports about his online behavior, and we’re reviewing it.”
The personal data allegedly assembled by Seagraves was shared on Twitter by a user named @Oto666Yamaguchi that is believed to be a different person. The bio for the @Oto666Yamaguchi account, which is now suspended, identified them as “pro NSDAP,” an acronym for the German Nazi Party that was active from 1920 to 1945.
The tweet sent by @Oto666Yamaguchi on Nov. 10 suggested the activists’ personal information was gleaned through a sophisticated interception. “For the last two months,” the tweet says, “we’ve been wardriving antifa rioters, letting them associate with mobile honeypots to access the internet.”
Contradicting that claim, a document entitled “Research Disclaimer” that is tucked into a zip file that includes the personal data states that the information was “gained from my mad OSINT skills” — a reference to open-source intelligence — “and their inept use of social media.”
The note also describes the targeted individuals as “a completely unorganized conglomeration of people who Joe Biden has assured the American people are not a threat and not an organization.” The note implausibly suggests, “This information is shared with other citizen journalists, and absolutely no harm should come to the subjects of this research from participating in lawful peaceful protests and free speech events.”
The layer of separation between Seagraves and the person responsible for publishing the personal data on the internet is emblematic of the Proud Boys’ arms-length relationship with white supremacy. The all-male Proud Boys describe themselves as a “western chauvinist” fraternal organization, eschewing language promoting white or European identity. The organization accepts men of all races, and along with gays, and its chairman is a person of color. The Proud Boys’ most pronounced stance is its hostility towards “antifa” and Black Lives Matter.
The Proud Boys’ mish-mash politics of civic nationalism and libertarianism has given the organization more room to maneuver than many of the more ideologically defined groups that emerged around the time of Trump’s 2016 election. But the fluid relationship between the Proud Boys and its more ideological counterparts was on full display at the June 2017 “free speech” event in Chapel Hill.
A video obtained by antifascists in the Triangle area shows Seagraves introducing Invictus, a lawyer who espouses thinly veiled white supremacy and legally changed his name to the Latin phrase for “majestic unconquered son.”
“If you’ve followed conservative politics at all, you’ve heard something about Augustus Sol Invictus,” Seagraves said. He went to say he hadn’t “planned on having someone like him come today because I didn’t expect all these folks to come in from all over.”
Taking the podium, Invictus said, “What’s up, Chapel Hill? They call me ‘the commie slayer,’ and for good fucking reason.”
Invictus ended his short speech by encouraging the small group of right-wingers in attendance to network with each other.
“So, meet people here, shake hands with each other, exchange names and numbers,” Invictus said. “Join each other’s organizations. Join the Alt-Knights of the Proud Boys, who are here with us today…. I’m one of the national organizers. So, if you want to sign up with us, please come on down.”
The Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights was founded in 2017 by Kyle Chapman, who became a folk hero of the far-right after he armed himself with a stick and homemade shield and attacked leftists during a melee in Berkeley, Calif.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes reached out to Chapman after a Proud Boy launched a fundraiser to help cover Chapman’s bail, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. McInnes hosted Chapman on his show, and later Chapman announced that he was founding the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights, which would be partnering with the Proud Boys with McInnes’ “full approval.”
Invictus became the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knight’s second in command until his resignation in September 2017.
The Proud Boys publicly distanced themselves from Unite the Right, and managed to avoid the legal troubles and reputational damage experienced by explicitly white nationalist groups like League of the South and the now-defunct Traditionalist Worker Party. But the notorious gathering of white nationalists was organized by a former Proud Boy, Jason Kessler, and Invictus — a marquee name at the event — received a security escort by a Proud Boy named Shane Reeves. Invictus currently faces criminal charges of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and possessing a weapon during a violent crime in York County, in South Carolina.
Although Seagraves appears to have kept his far-right activism a secret to his colleagues, some of whom expressed shock on Twitter when his doxing activities came to light earlier this week, he attended a Second Amendment rally with other North Carolina Proud Boys in Raleigh in April 2018. Under the cloak of anonymity of his “Elias McMahone” Twitter account, he was more forthcoming, writing in October 2018: “My mother knows I’m a Proud Boy. She thanks me for standing up for America. She’s old school and appreciates masculinity.”
In November 2019, using the “Elias McMahone” Twitter account, Seagraves allegedly called out an NC State student on Twitter. He wrote, “This young man supports #jihadists & affiliates with #Antifa. He is a student at #NCState. Here you will see him posting an intimidating message insinuating violence to a conservative student while also claiming to be a victim.”
The post that attracted Seagraves’ attention said, “These posts are dedicated to the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan.”
The student, who spoke to Raw Story on condition of anonymity, said the statement was a reference to Rambo III, adding that he assumed everyone would get the joke. He said the tweet was in reference to an incident in which a conservative student named Jack Bishop accused a friend of assault during an altercation in the Free Expression Tunnel. Bishop, who is the son of Republican US Rep. Dan Bishop, and other members of Turning Point USA were spray-painting advertisements for an upcoming “Culture Wars” event with founder Charlie Kirk and Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law.
“I was pissed off at the conservatives,” the student said. “So, of course I was going to fight TPUSA coming to campus.”
An internecine feud on the far right made Culture Wars events a magnet for extremists. Nick Fuentes and his America First group, also known as the “groypers,” stalked the events with the intent of flummoxing the organizers with embarrassing questions and radicalizing their audience to a more nationalistic position. Some members of Patriot Front, an avowedly fascist group that spun out of one of the component organizations at Unite the Right, admired Fuentes’ success at undercutting the more moderate flank of the right-wing, and they saw Fuentes as a potential pipeline for recruitment. Patriot Front members discussed leaving their propaganda at campuses in advance of the Culture Wars events, and one member showed up at an event in Florida, according to private chats from the group that were recently leaked.
After seeing the “Elias McMahone” account tweet about him, the student direct-messaged him to try to figure out who he was. The message in response gave him pause.
“Good,” “McMahone” wrote, “because the pic you posted from the window in East Village above the roundabout gave away a location. That’s why I’m trying to help you see that getting involved in direct action isn’t good for a smart guy like you. Just be careful what online stuff you get into when everyone’s all excited about a protest and wearing black It’s a serious thing. I’m just trying to look out for you.”
The student also noticed that the “McMahone” account had added him to a list of Twitter accounts entitled “Proud AuntieFah Commies,” and saw that he was identified on his own account as a member of the Proud Boys.
“Did I realize he had tweeted that and painted a target on my back? Oh yeah,” the student said. “I just didn’t realize I was dealing with the president of the Proud Boys until I DM-ed him a couple days later.”