When he steered his silver Dodge Challenger down the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, and into a crowd of people who had rallied to protect the community from people like him, James Fields introduced the American public to the immediate danger of a then-growing white nationalist movement in the country calling itself the “alt-right.” This week, Fields is standing trial on charges of murdering Heather Heyer, who died after she was struck by his vehicle in the melee provoked by last year’s gathering of armed, far-right groups called Unite the Right.
Since the mayhem in Charlottesville last year, the various factions of extremists who assembled under the “alt-right” banner—including neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and neo-Confederates—bickered in public spats, fracturing the movement and leaving decades-old organizations struggling to recast their public image. Meanwhile, younger adherents to white supremacist ideologies appear to have scattered, divided among groups of themed cliques, such as the “Trad Right.” However, beneath the surface of the movement, there still exists a less-public current of raw rage and a base of angry men awaiting the day when they will finally be able to murder minorities for their cause.
Robert Bowers, who murdered 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in October after posting violent anti-Semitic messages online, and the Clark brothers, who stockpiled weapons and communicated with Bowers before his attack, are the latest public examples of an uptick in white supremacist violence. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that hate crimes incidents rose 17 percent in 2017.
In private chat rooms, forum boards, Facebook groups and on social media platforms like Gab, the (often young) men can be seen goading each other to undertake acts of violence, and celebrating those who answer those calls. In a perpetual feedback loop that celebrates violence against marginalized communities and encourages harassment of those who dare stand in the way of their hate machine, these radicalized young men are fed their targets by the movement’s worst actors.
Daniel McMahon is one of those bad actors.
Online, McMahon goes by a couple different monikers. There’s “Pale Horse,” “Dakota Stone,” and “Jack Corbin”—the latter being an online name behind which he reportedly hides while trying to intimidate journalists who cover the far-right, and anti-fascist activists who protest white nationalist events.
Anonymous anti-fascist researchers in Philadelphia published that they believe McMahon to be the person behind the “Jack Corbin” and “Pale Horse” profiles, a fact corroborated to Right Wing Watch by other reliable sources. He appears to be 30 years old and a resident of Brandon, Florida, based on records of a digital spat that took place within the white nationalist movement in 2015. When contacted on Gab, McMahon refused to be interviewed by Right Wing Watch.
In 2015, members of the Traditionalist Worker Party feuded with curators of a Facebook page named for a concept white supremacists call “Pioneer Little Europe,” which refers to plans to overtake small towns in the U.S., fill them with white supremacists, and maintain them as white-only territories. In the comment section of a 2015 Occidental Dissent blog post about the bickering between TWP members and those engaged with the Facebook page, a commenter identified McMahon as the person running a “Pale Horse” account associated with the Pioneer Little Europe page and asserted that McMahon would “get along great with child murderers.” Researchers found multiple instances of corroborating information to reaffirm McMahon’s identity.
McMahon openly identifies himself as a “God damn fascist”—full stop—who desires for people who oppose fascism to be “tortured and executed” and for undocumented immigrants to be “treated [like] the cockroaches they are.” McMahon has stated that it is an “American Right” to deny the Holocaust, a genocide that he asserts to be “100% fake.”
“The wrongs committed against our people are far greater than any ‘wrongs’ committed against the kikes,” McMahon recently wrote.
McMahon calls himself an “Antifa hunter” and has made it a full-time mission to gather personal information on people who demonstrate against fascists, often singling out women for obsessive sexual harassment and threats that include telling the women he targets that they need to have sex with fascists in order to recognize the supposed error of their ways, or declaring that they deserve to be raped by people of color.
Although McMahon aggressively targets reporters and left-wing activists, the violent rhetoric he deploys and the worldview he hopes to advance most aggressively targets people of color and Jews, whom he is convinced are sabotaging white existence.
Under his faceless “Jack Corbin” profile, he behaves like a cartoon villain, antagonizing people and issuing declarations of the eventual success that fascism will supposedly achieve and the impending doom in store for those who resist it. Considering the network of violent extremists that McMahon resides in online, many of whom dwell in a swamp in which they actively encourage one another to commit acts of violence, McMahon’s online persona becomes as alarming as it is absurd. For that reason, Corbin’s behavior carries an innate risk; his behavior in that swamp makes his ability to do harm, or simply spur others to do so, virtually inevitable.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center reported, McMahon interacted with Bowers on Gab more than any other person. After a failed attempt to motivate white nationalists to rally at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, McMahon threw a tantrum and claimed that he was retiring from the white nationalist movement because he was “sick of weak, unreliable mother fuckers” and that Bowers had “more balls than most of you all.”
“God bless that man,” McMahon, in his “Jack Corbin” guise, wrote of Bowers in a Gab post.
McMahon has also showered praise on other violent white nationalists including Fields. In attempts to intimidate his perceived enemies, McMahon has, on many occasions, invoked Field’s car attack, and promoted the idea that Fields’ terror attack was an act of self-defense.
He maintains a public back-and-forth with Christopher Cantwell, a white supremacist who pleaded guilty to an assault committed at the 2017 Unite the Right. Cantwell, often referred to as “the crying Nazi” for a tearful testimonial he gave to Vice news for a documentary, recently wrote that white nationalists need to “take the law into our own hands,” invoking the names of Bowers and Dylann Roof, a white supremacist terrorist who murdered nine black churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015.
Billy Roper, a white nationalist who heads the ShieldWall Network in Arkansas (and who reportedly “trains” with Julian Calfy, who was expelled from high school in 2011 for threatening to execute a “Columbine-style” mass shooting), has also interacted with McMahon publicly on Gab. Recently, Roper warned anti-fascist activists that some people in the white nationalist movement would “just say screw the optics and start working their way down their list,” alluding to Bowers’ final Gab post before committing mass murder. Bowers’ final post on Gab before attacking a synagogue read, “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” McMahon and Roper have both compiled and circulated lists of people they believe to be leftist organizers.
Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers interacted online w a neo-nazi using aliases “Jack Corbin” & “Pale Horse.” Corbin calls himself an “antifa hunter” & often posts protesters’ personal info & makes threats. Read leaked Discord posts by Corbin here: https://t.co/Yv2YTs7USg pic.twitter.com/csBMPmB8RG
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) October 27, 2018
Leaked records published by Unicorn Riot, a nonprofit independent media outlet, show that McMahon was present in chat servers with white nationalists who were sharing instructions for constructing explosive devices. In a series of posts on Gab, McMahon celebrated the death of his perceived enemies, reveling at the passing of Florida-based activist Sydney Eastman and using Eastman’s death to issue a warning to “Antifa.” He writes, “Your terrible fate will be sealed. If you don’t think this is the case, look at your dead, pathetic friend.”
Even his peers in the white nationalist movement have said they fear that McMahon could incite or commit a violent attack.
Emily Gorcenski, a data scientist who tracks court cases related to white nationalists at First Vigil, spoke to a former friend of McMahon’s. During the conversation, McMahon’s former friend expressed concerns about McMahon’s mental stability after reading messages he sent on a Facebook page she moderated, which Gorcenski said included outright threats of violence and rape.
“I think it speaks volumes that a co-organizer reached out to me and expressed concerns that they were worried about him,” Gorcenski told Right Wing Watch.
Gorcenski has extensively chronicled the patterns of harassment and stalking behavior exhibited by McMahon and said she’s worried that he is displaying warning signs of someone who may hurt himself or others.
“I think anyone who engages in that behavior, it’s just a matter of time before they snap,” Gorcenski said. “You can tell he has no impulse control, so it is really concerning that if he has access to guns he’s going to snap and he’s going to kill someone.”
She added that McMahon and his ties to a network of violence-hungry extremists pose a threat to any regular person whom McMahon theorizes to be connected to anti-fascist action.
“He is somebody who has the potential to target normal people based on baseless conspiracy theories and he exhibits stalker-like behavior with a high potential for violent lashing out,” Gorcenski said. “If he will not do it himself, he surrounds himself with people who will.”
In recent months, McMahon has hyper-focused on Lindsay Ayling, a Ph.D. candidate and anti-racist activist attending UNC-Chapel Hill, after she was filmed speaking at rallies demanding a statue celebrating Confederate soldiers be removed from campus.
Ayling said McMahon has labeled her the “real Antifa leader” on campus instead of other prominent non-white activists at the university like Maya Little, who is black, because his racist ideology prevents him from believing that a black person could be a leader, even of an anti-fascist campaign. Like McMahon, voices from many other far-right groups demanded direct action—including confrontations with those supporting the statute’s removal—in the wake of the statue’s toppling in August.
She also told Right Wing Watch that she believed McMahon, or someone near him, had the potential to trigger a violent episode.
“[For] anybody with a genocidal ideology—because it’s an ideology that promotes systematic murder, there is always the potential for violence—especially against the groups that are most marginalized,” Ayling said. “In a lot of [McMahon’s] posts, he has written that ‘Jews aren’t people,’ which is a very key indicator of potential violent activity.”
Multiple sources confirmed to Right Wing Watch that at least two separate complaints regarding McMahon have been submitted to the FBI. The FBI said it could not share information regarding McMahon or answer whether McMahon was currently on a watch list, which is a standard practice of the FBI.
McMahon’s record of threatening rhetoric dates back years. In 2013, he reportedly called a restaurant that voluntarily opted-in to a “Gun Free Zone” program in Seattle, Washington, and asked a restaurant employee if the voluntary policy would “prevent someone from coming in and shooting up the place.” The restaurant, in the context of backlash over its decision to ban firearms its operators were receiving at the time, interpreted McMahon’s phone call as a threat.
He has also targeted UNC-Chapel Hill’s college newspaper staff with harassment for their refusal to meet one of his demands.
The Daily Tar Heel ran a column detailing its run-in with McMahon, who editors said attempted to solicit high-resolution photos of students protesting the Confederate statue, known as Silent Sam, at UNC-Chapel Hill by impersonating law enforcement. In the exchanges online, and in a phone call mentioned in the piece, McMahon asks for the information and throws a tantrum when the student paper refused to comply.
“He did not seem stable,” Daily Tar Heel general manager Erica Perel wrote in an email about the call to editorial staff members.
After the article ran, McMahon reacted by targeting the article’s author on Gab, asking his followers: “Who wants to bet that she’s a kike?” In the post, he tagged a handful of white nationalist profiles.
McMahon, as unstable and dangerous as he is described, rarely takes his activism offline and is merely one figure in an active network hell-bent on advancing their cause through acts and threats of violence that target members of America’s vulnerable communities.
For these unhinged young men, the question is often when–not if–they will act.