The antics of far-right extremist Nick Fuentes are leading to the fracturing of America First, a fringe group that was supposed to rival the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which Fuentes has viewed as not sufficiently conservative enough.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that after leading a group of white nationalists to the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, Fuentes has fallen out of favor.
The public leaders abandoning the group could make it difficult for Fuentes to grow his movement as large as those like Talking Points USA. It might also force him to choose between growing his organization and maintaining his credibility as a white supremacist leader.
Fuentes worked with what the SPLC calls a "sidekick personality" named Jaden McNeil and "techie" Simon Dickerman, who built the online infrastructure for the group. Both men have abandoned Fuentes since Jan. 6, 2021.
"Throughout May 2022, anonymous posters on the forum Kiwi Farms, which is dedicated to harassment of Internet personalities, seized the opportunity to exacerbate the effect of these defections. In the days following the defections, the volume of posts created on Kiwi Farms in response to the infighting inside America First became so high that the site administrator created a separate area of the site to hold those discussions," said the report. "This area of the site now contains over 47,000 messages heaping derision and accusations of hypocrisy on Fuentes and his followers."
A 2021 report from Hatewatch about how Twitter is used to promote white supremacy and other extremist views resulted in Fuentes being kicked off of the platform.
Due to his involvement in Jan. 6, Fuentes was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. His communications ultimately unmasked the names of many extremist pseudonyms and their personal details.
McNeil and Dickerman told their YouTube live stream that Fuentes "mishandled and obfuscated America First’s finances following the scrutiny he faced from the government after the insurrection," said the report. Fuentes denies the allegations.
The two men alleged that Fuentes has a substantial ego and frequently compares himself to former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin as well as Jesus Christ and rapper Kanye West.
The report recalled Fuentes addressing criticism against him as something that "any creator" faces, "whether it's God or me."
"Nick … doesn’t really want a mainstream political movement anymore. He wants a hardcore cult of followers,” said Dickerman about the group. He went on to attack it as "a death cult" and "a homosexual death cult."
In 2021, Fuentes came out as an "incel," a shortened word for involuntarily celibate. He claimed that all sex is "gay" sex, even if it is between heterosexuals.
It was then revealed that Fuentes is requiring his cohorts to sign a loyalty pledge, not merely to his organization, but to him personally.
"I swear my undying allegiance to Nicholas J. Fuentes and the America First movement, so help me God. So help me God. Raise your hand and hold it high. I swear I will defend the white race; my nation, America; and my savior Jesus Christ. And, my loyalty to the America First movement, Nicholas J. Fuentes. So help me God," the pledge says.