This Monday, a photo taken during a protest against a speech given by conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich at Columbia University went viral among one of the dumbest corners of social media. During the protest, Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz snapped a photo of “Cernovich supporters posing as protesters” unfurling a banner that had an eye-catching message:
NO WHITE SUPREMACY
NO PEDO BASHING
NO MIKE CERNOVICH
Alt right strikes first at Columbia Cernovich event, plants NAMBLA-branded sign in front of protest march pic.twitter.com/IAw6yIeINC
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) October 30, 2017
Scrolling through my Twitter feed late Monday night, I came across the image which Cernovich posted to his account, claiming that the banner is proof that the left, or Antifa, endorses pedophilia. Focusing my eyes in disbelief, at the bottom of the banner next to Antifa’s logo was an emblem for NAMBLA, a now virtually non-existent organization that gained notoriety in the 1980s for defending the rights of “man-boy lovers.” That’s when it dawned on me that the people who scream “false flag!” may have quite literally staged a false flag operation.
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Offenhartz explained that at least two people at the Columbia event “unveiled the banner and handed it to a couple of people who held it without [really looking] at it” before disappearing into the crowd. It was the perfect troll job, and it matched up perfectly with the narrative Cernovich was regurgitating during his speech inside.
“He kept saying ‘you support pedophilia,’ repeatedly,” protester Mistee Denson told The Daily Beast. “He kept saying ‘you just love pedophilia’ over and over again.”
Under an hour after Offenhardtz posted the picture, Cernovich yanked it and reposted it without context or credit, with the caption, “NAMBLA sign at Columbia protests … these people are sick.” In no time, the image was permeating throughout the Alt-Right conspiracist blogosphere as proof that Antifa and “social justice warriors” were in cahoots with pedophiles.
In a perfect example of the abject stupidity of Cernovich’s tactics, he retweeted a video showing the banner which later showed protesters pulling it down and trying to find the trolls who handed it off:
Of course it was fake and the other protesters told them to fuck off pic.twitter.com/nyObbkB5Lh
— Wild Geerters (@steinkobbe) October 31, 2017
From The Daily Beast:
Alt-righters sometimes pose as leftists in an effort to discredit them. Right-wing tweeter Jack Posobiec has previously planted a “Rape Melania” sign to incriminate leftist protestors, and posed as a representative of the Women’s March at a pro-net neutrality rally where he distributed flyers claiming to thank net neutrality advocates for “protecting our quality violent porn content,” including “ritual Satanic porn videos.”
Either way, Cernovich, who once was a prolific disseminator of the bogus Pizza Gate conspiracy theory, is already using the image as a way to frame those of us who have a deference the truth as the real conspiracy theorists. In a blog post published today, he says the mainstream media is now promoting a “false flag conspiracy theory.”
“Without offering any evidence at all, members of the fake news media are claiming Mike Cernovich supporters planted the banner,” he writes.
“Why does the media want to protect pedophiles?” he continued. “The fake news media is pro-pedophilia. Salon, the NY Times, and New York Magazine have all run articles encouraging tolerance for ‘virtuous pedophiles.'”
In a tweet regarding the banner, the New York City Antifa confirmed that it’s bogus.
The idiot Cernovich trolls with hoax banner that were chased out of protest last night couldn’t even get our logo right. pic.twitter.com/MMTc7l6D0e
— New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) October 31, 2017
Unfortunately in this age, you don’t need much more than a room temperature IQ to go viral.
Featured image via Jake Offenhartz