Caleb Hull, a digital communications strategist popular with pro-Trump Republicans, made racist and inflammatory comments, including the use of the n-word, on a Twitter account he used as a video gamer in 2014. The account was deleted shortly after Right Wing Watch began reaching out to sources to report this story, but large portions of the account have been preserved via digital archives.
Hull’s professional work history places him behind the scenes in influential spheres of the modern GOP, as detailed by a “former guest speaker” blurb on The Leadership Institute’s website. Today, Hull is a a political communications consultant and is listed as the manager of a limited liability company called Statecraft Digital (not to be confused with a political communications firm of the same name based in Florida). He got his start in conservative causes working for the GOP youth organization Turning Point USA as an Ohio field director and chapter president while attending college at Cedarville University in Ohio. In 2016, Hull joined TPUSA as video director, later becoming the organization’s creative director and the operations coordinator of Turning Point News. Hull went on to work for Independent Journal Review as social media manager and senior editor.
Before consulting, Hull worked as director of content at Targeted Victory, an influential Republican marketing and advertising firm. According to FEC filings, Targeted Victory’s clients include campaigns for high-ranking Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, and powerful Republican entities like the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which paid Targeted Victory nearly $350,000 for “digital consulting” in April 2020 alone.
Hull’s online reach often overlaps with influential conservative figures, including the president’s sons. Donald Trump Jr. has shared content posted by Hull on Twitter at least 24 times according to a RWW review. Eric Trump tagged Hull in a tweet Tuesday. In just the last month, Hull’s content has been shared by Trump administration officials, including Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission Brendan Carr, Trump staffers, such as Director of Communications for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign Tim Murtaugh, and members of Congress, like Rep. Greg Murphy of North Carolina. Hull’s content is often circulated widely among conservative media writers, pundits, and journalists; he has bragged publicly about fetching more than 4 billion views online for conservative video content. In 2018, Hull was retweeted by President Donald Trump.
Washington Examiner awarded Hull a spot on its Red Alert Politics “30 Under 30” list in 2018 alongside people who would go on to become major players in modern conservative politics, including activist Candace Owens, Fox News pundit Tomi Lahren, and PragerU video personality Will Witt. In the Washington area, he is well connected in right-wing media circles and has uploaded photos of himself socializing with people who currently work at The Daily Caller, Townhall Media, and TPUSA.
In 2014, Hull made anti-Black, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBTQ remarks on a Twitter account that RWW determined belonged to Hull by reviewing archives from the account and comparing them to still-active posts on accounts where Hull uses his real name. The account, with the handle @FlwTV, was deleted from Twitter shortly after RWW started reaching out to Hull’s industry colleagues.
Hull’s since-removed Twitter account was associated with an account by a similar name on Twitch, a streaming site popular among gamers; that account was also deleted between the time that we started contacting sources and when RWW contacted Hull via phone. Before the account was deleted from Twitch, it contained videos showing Hull on camera alongside the @FlwTV Twitter handle. Hull’s Twitch account had not uploaded a video since 2014, but it displayed a profile picture used by Hull on his professional Twitter account, @CalebJHull, in 2019. Hull’s professional Twitter account was also displayed in the “About” tab of his Twitch profile.
Images posted to the @FlwTV account on Twitter in 2014 matched some of those shared by Hull on his Instagram account, and several photos of Hull were posted on the account that rendered results nowhere else online when reverse-searched on Yandex and Google Images. In replies to other users on Twitter, the @FlwTV account repeatedly referred people to connect on Skype via the username “CalebJHull.”
Hull casually deployed the n-word on his @FlwTV Twitter account on several occasions and shared jokes in which the slur was the punchline. In one instance, he remarked that he was banned from a streamer’s chat room after he “spammed” the n-word “17 times.” Hull promoted racist tropes about Black people, specifically those involving watermelon and fried chicken, Black children without fathers, and slaves picking cotton. Hull shared several memes containing these racist tropes, and he cited the same tropes while writing his own captions to images. For example, Hull captioned one image depicting a Black man wearing clothing styled after a world map: “He’s wearing a map so he can find his dad.”
Hull shared an image multiple times that depicts a piece of fried chicken hanging from a noose, and in one tweet, he juxtaposed the image on his timeline with an image of a Black man.
In several instances, Hull levied anti-Black sentiment at Avalanche, a Black e-sports player and video game streamer. Hull asked Avalache where he picks his cotton. In another, Hull tweeted a racist meme with the caption “you’re black.” RWW attempted to reach Avalanche via Twitter direct message but did not receive a response.
Recently, Hull has stated that he supports ”black lives matter,” but in phrase only. “I do not support Black Lives Matter, the radical organization trying to push an absurd agenda in the midst of tragedy,” he tweeted on June 7.
Other targets of Hull’s mockery included Muslims, special needs children, and Latinos. Hull shared a meme styled after the hit mobile phone game “Angry Birds”—in which a player can shoot colorful cartoon birds out of a slingshot—but instead of cartoon birds, the meme showed jet airplanes in a slingshot aimed at the Twin Towers with a caption that read, “New game came out today. Angry Muslims.” Hull also shared an image depicting a man wearing a thobe with an AK-47 rifle on his back, which Hull captioned, “When you’re about to hijack a plane then your mom says you need to finish your chores.” Hull shared a meme mocking children with Down syndrome and captioned a photo of a yearbook with several students who have the last name Lopez, “When the whole drug cartel goes to your school.”
Several tweets posted by Hull deploy the anti-gay slurs “fag” and “faggot,” which he frequently misspelled “fagit.” In one tweet, Hull asked how to report people to Twitter for “being gay,” and in another, he uploaded a photo of himself holding a piece of paper with a message to another user that read, “get ebola,” and contained the anti-gay slur.
When reached by phone Wednesday, a spokesperson for TPUSA told RWW, “Turning Point USA was not aware of these alleged incidents,” and did not provide further comment. RWW attempted to reach Independent Journal Review CEO Alex Skatell and Targeted Victory via email Wednesday but did not receive a response before publication.
Hull’s inflammatory comments did not cease in 2014. In June, Hull mocked reports that a noose was found hanging in a stall used by Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. Hull posted a photo of a cell phone charging cord dangling in front of the camera, writing, “Wow. Just came home and someone hung a noose in my house.” The tweet has since been deleted.
In response to reports that activists had sought to establish a “Black House Autonomous Zone” north of the White House—an occupied protest space demonstrators sought to occupy with tents—Hull quibbled, “They had one for 8 years and almost nothing changed.” Hull also deleted that tweet.
In January 2019, Hull defended a viral photo of students wearing blackface at a Covington Catholic High School basketball game, writing, “This was a blackout game. It’s a normal thing at almost every school. What you all are doing to these kids is truly disgusting.” He repeatedly defended his position on the matter, attempting to differentiate between blackface and “body paint for school pride where everyone is wearing all black.”
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) July 1, 2020
(Correction, 7/1/20: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that Caleb Hull was a managing partner at a Florida-based political communications firm called Statecraft Digital, based on LinkedIn search results available at the time of RWW’s reporting. In fact, Hull owns a limited liability company (LLC) by the same name registered in Virginia. RWW also misidentified Rep. Adam Hattersley as a Republican; Hattersley is a Democrat. Right Wing Watch regrets the errors.)