The self-described “New Right”— a Trump-loving, anti-feminist, anti-“social justice warrior” online movement that has branded itself as separate from the explicitly white supremacist alt-right—held a party in Manhattan on Saturday in its latest attempt to move its efforts into the real world and to find an identity beyond its shared disgust for “political correctness” and support for President Trump.
Mike Cernovich, a Pizzagate conspiracy theorist who has disavowed the alt-right and attempted to distance himself from his former support for the movement, organized the event, which might best be described as half political convention, half rave.
Cernovich said that he hoped the event, which he dubbed “Night for Freedom,” would be a “proof of concept” for future events featuring “family-friendly” conversations that eventually end with “just partying and hanging out.” He also hoped that the event would help the movement find some sort of viability outside of sharing pro-Trump memes online.
“The New Right, they have to have message outside of Trump. And what a lot of people struggle with is if they can’t say something pro-Trump, what do they say?” Cernovich said. “If you want to be viable, you have to have a message outside of ‘Yeah, Trump, people aren’t supporting him enough.’”
In the end, it wasn’t clear what that message was. While Cernovich had taken pains to rid the event of some explicitly alt-right media personalities—and had even banned hats to prevent a sea of red “Make America Great Again” caps—he created a space for a series of decidedly not “family friendly” speeches that took aim at feminism, trans people and immigration.
The event sold out at 650 tickets that ranged from $139 to $999 for varying levels of access to headline speakers. Each attendee received three drink tickets, which many appeared to have used in the first hours; excited “U-S-A” chants occasionally reverberated through the building.
Mingling among the crowd were several prominent right-wing new media personalities such as The Gateway Pundit White House reporter Lucian Wintrich, Infowars host Owen Shroyer and former Survivor contestant turned pro-Trump talk show host Anna Khait. Reporter Chris Carter from One America News Network was present and another guest said she worked for Fox News host Sean Hannity.
One surprising guest was Chelsea Manning, who mingled around the party during its first couple of hours. Manning maintains communications with several “new right” media personalities who live in Washington, D.C., and introduced herself to various right-wing media personalities at the event. After she left the venue, she posted on Twitter that she had “crashed” the event, despite the fact that she seemed to mingle freely and be welcomed with open arms.
When news broke of Manning’s appearance, many of her supporters expressed outrage that she had attended. Event organizers and several movement figureheads said they believed that by welcoming Manning and treating her politely, they had debunked any notion that their movement is bigoted against transgender people.
“Our side of the right and the left agree on the importance of things like WikiLeaks and transparency and have a bit of an anti-authoritarian edge,” MAGA Meetups organizer Will Chamberlain said. “There’s a mutual respect, even if there’s not agreement on a lot of issues.”
But that notion of tolerance stood in stark contrast to some of the speeches that the event’s delivered by the event’s VIPs. Gavin McInnes, the founder of the bizarre, right-wing “Proud Boys” fraternity, headlined the event with a rambling speech that included multiple disparaging remarks about women who allow themselves to be a “colostomy bag for someone else’s cum” and plenty of denigrating comments about transgender women.
“Say you’re having sex with a tranny, right? If you’re a straight man and you like women, you look down and you see that weird, like, elephant-trunk baby penis that I assume they have. Do you like that? Oh, OK. Are you gay? Doesn’t a gay like a giant erect cock? So you’re looking down at this weird, twisted course of events that you created with lies,” McInnes said.
In his speech to the event, YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux addressed the women in attendance, explaining the “shitty deal” he believes they’ve been dealt by feminists. Modern feminism, he said, is dissuading women from having children, while immigration into the western world is making up for decreased birth rates.
“By the way,” he said, mocking what he claimed was the message of western liberals, “make sure you don’t have too many children, because, you see, too many children is bad for the environment. Too many children, zero population growth, we don’t need—oh wait, shit, we do. Sorry, I forgot about that. Let’s open the gates to the third world. In they come. Psych. One of the worst ‘psychs’ in the history of humanity.”
Molyneux has devoted recent YouTube rants to his theories that the latest Star Wars film and the TV show “Stranger Things” are allegories about mass immigration, diversity, and the decline of white men.
Other speakers repeated a lot of the “New Right” standard fare. Wintrich—who was arrested last year during a spat involving a speech he delivered that was full of white supremacist 4chan memes—told the crowd that he believed the biggest threat the “New Right” movement is up against is “the leftist propaganda machine.” Khait—who hosts bizarre conspiracy theorists on her show, which is streamed on Cernovich’s Facebook page—said that protesters were outside “because of the money” and referred to billionaire George Soros as “the head of the snake.”
McInnes, in his speech, claimed that “if going outside tonight and beating the living shit out of radicals,” referring to Antifa protesters outside the event, meant that he was a “radical” then he may as well be “a revolutionary.” Later that night, Proud Boys confronted Antifa members, having ignored the venue staff’s plea for the group to call rides and leave the area, which resulted in a brawl between the two groups. It’s worth noting that the “Fourth Degree,” the highest possible ranking for a Proud Boys member, can only be achieved by physically assaulting Antifa members.
After the fight, one Proud Boy donning the group’s signature Fred Perry shirt ran back into the event to tell Cernovich that Antifa had beaten a man and that emergency responders were performing CPR on him. It was later reported that the brawl in question sent a 56-year-old party attendee to the hospital. Cernovich temporarily left the event to accost Antifa and tell reporters that the Antifa members are “terrorists.”
The prospect of such a confrontation had already scared off two planned venues for the event, forcing Cernovich to find a new space for the party at the last minute. With hours to go before the event’s start, Cernovich had finally secured a venue in Hell’s Kitchen, but that didn’t stop him from sending his social media followers after one of the venues that cancelled on him and threatening to sue its owners.
The public drama over the venue only increased the crowd’s sense of being persecuted truth-tellers. Attendees who had purchased “VIP” level access belted the song “We Are the Champions” while Cernovich, McInnes, and right-wing YouTube talkers Owen Benjamin and Molyneux held a Q&A.
Later in the night, identical twin DJ duo Milk N Cooks, who said they were “blackballed from the music industry because [they] supported the movement,” closed out the event with a mix of EDM music and party song favorites. Some older attendees departed as two dancers in American flag leotards worked the crowd.
“One of the ways the left has won for decades is by being the fun side,” author Michael Malice told attendees earlier that night. “That’s where the parties are. That’s where the cool people are. And it’s important, if you want people to agree with you and come over, to have the events like this, to not have the social cost of being on the right, and to enjoy life in America.”
As things wound down, Cernovich and crew meandered to a late-night diner to ruminate over breakfast food and congratulate themselves on what they believed was a successful event. Numerous guests approached Cernovich to compliment him on the party.
Jack Posobiec, another “New Right” internet personality who spoke at the event, confirmed that the group was already looking at booking similar events in Philadelphia, Washington and venues on the west coast. Earlier today, Cernovich pitched another “Night for Freedom” event in D.C. during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).