The Red Elephants, a collective whose stated mission on Twitter is to pursue "the truth mainstream media ignores," is a conservative's wet dream. The Lake Forest-based outlet has earned praise across the alt-right for its stories, trolling left-wing events such as a recent white-privilege workshop in Santa Monica, and being named a member of the "American Taliban" by the Muslims of America Inc. - whoever the hell they are.
With more than 170,000 followers on Facebook, videos (hosted by founder Vincent James Foxx, who always wears a "Make America Great Again" hat and uses as a backdrop a pistachio-green wall) sometimes reaching millions of views, and reporters spread across the country, the Red Elephants continues to spread. Alt-right figures such as Kyle Chapman (a.k.a. "Based Stickman") and Tim Gionet (a.k.a. Tim Treadstone or "Baked Alaska") regularly share Red Elephants coverage, and 43rd Congressional District candidate Omar Navarro regularly uses it as a platform. The collective's main claim to fame is livestreams of events that are transformed into glitch-heavy videos that depict the Left as the sole aggressors in political clashes, which, for Red Elephants, justifies the violent reactions of the alt-right.
These recordings usually go viral and serve as the de facto narrative for the Right's take on rallies and protests at which the Right and Left clash. But while the Red Elephants maintain that it only offers the objective truth, what those clips leave out is that the Red Elephants reporters do their damnedest to instigate at events they cover.
Foxx started the Red Elephants in November 2016, then found 15 "like-minded conservatives" in six states with one thing in common: supporting Donald Trump. The group soon began churning out articles with headlines such as "Obama Shadow Government: Wiretapping and Robo-Calls?," "Tranny Antifa Member Punches Youtuber-Regrets It Immediately" and "Is Trump a Time Traveler? Four Correct Predictions By Donald J. Trump."
Being mere Trumpbros wasn't enough, though. They took the conspiracy theories of Infowars, the fake news of Breitbart, added a bit of Holocaust denial (Foxx once said on a livestream that "no residue of cyanide was found on ANY of the walls of any of the ALLEGED gas chambers") and anti-semitism (people the reporters don't like get the "(((echoes)))" motif used by neo-Nazis to identify Jewish journalists). There are also puff pieces about the likes of white nationalists Nathan Damigo and Jason Kessler. When a Facebook user commented earlier this year that there were "white supremacists in your movement," an admin responded, "The Left has communists in theirs. Do they kick them out? Nope."
It wasn't until the March 25 #MAGAMarch at Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach that the Red Elephants gained Internet infamy. There, three OC Weekly contributors were assaulted, a fact the rest of the national media initially ignored as they instead bought the Red Elephants-pushed claim that "antifa scum maced female Trump supporters, directly [at] point-blank range, in the face, for no apparent reason." Foxx stated this in his "The TRUTH About Huntington Beach Trump Rally" video, which has received more than three million views on Facebook, adding that Trump supporters only acted in retaliation.
But the Red Elephants' own livestream disproves Foxx's claim. It shows that when the violence started, Foxx was far away from the front of the march as Trump supporters cut through a small group of counterprotestors that sought to block them. Fifty-five minutes into the Red Elephants livestream, it captured white nationalist group D.I.Y. Division (now known as Rise Above Movement) yelling at counterprotester Jessica Aguilar. "Come on, you fucking pussies!" says a voice that sounds like Foxx's, itching for a brawl.
D.I.Y. Division members (one of whom assaulted this reporter) then began yelling, "Do it! Come bash us!" at Aguilar, while the Foxx-sounding voice chimes in, "There's no cops! There's no cops!" Aguilar did end up slapping one of the D.I.Y. members, but only after one of them yelled, "Fuck you, bitch!"
However, the Red Elephants' final, edited video, hosted by Foxx, showed only the clip of Aguilar slapping the D.I.Y. diva. (She was arrested and currently faces misdemeanor charges.)
More blatant propagandizing appears in the Red Elephants' coverage of a June 12 Cudahy City Council meeting. Reporters David Feiner and Emily Hemingway traveled to the small city in southeast Los Angeles County to ridicule Latino activists who were protesting against conservatives who are targeting Cudahy's sanctuary city status. During the Red Elephants livestream, Hemingway yelled, "You guys are fucking the true racists-fuck you" within the first minute and later encouraged viewers to call Immigration & Customs Enforcement on the protesters at 25:22.
"We're alphas; we took over everybody," Feiner crowed at 56:54. He later called a Latina protester an "anchor baby" at 1:32:30 and finished with "Don't blame us when the race war's coming" at 1:59:25.
After two hours, Feiner and Hemingway left the event with Navarro and his wife. Hemingway's livestream showed protesters followed the group back to their car at 2:02:30, at which point viewers heard something that sounded like someone hitting the vehicle. "Here we go, guys," Feiner told viewers with a smile before he pepper-sprayed the crowd from the passenger seat and yelled, "Back the fuck up." As they drove off, he told viewers he used the pepper spray only because someone threw something at him. "I don't care what your skin color is," he concluded 2:05:12. "You start acting like that, you're a monkey man."
But none of Feiner's and Hemingway's anti-Latino (or Feiner's monkey) comments made the final cut. Instead, the Red Elephants released a video with the headline "Liberals Attack Reporters Leaving Sanctuary City Meeting in Cudahy."
In the group's latest effort, the Red Elephants made it seem as if its alt-righters tried to denounce actual neo-Nazis who showed up to an Aug. 20 anti-immigrant rally in Laguna Beach that drew dozens of alt-righters and about 2,500 counter-protesters. The final video shows footage of alt-right figure Antonio Foreman asking a guy with a swastika tattoo on his body to leave. But it wasn't a good conservative rebuking the fringe elements of his political beliefs.
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"I may believe in the same thing," Foreman said in the original livestream at 1:18:20. "I just don't blast it all over my fuckin' body."
He later flashed reichsmark coins (Nazi currency) at 1:24:00 to Foxx. "That's cool," Foxx replied, before showing the Red Elephants audience the coins. Did Foreman's comments of his reichsmark coins make it into the final video? Nope!
The Red Elephants did not respond to the Weekly's requests for comment. But the collective revealed its future plans in a Facebook comment on March 26: "The Red Elephants will soon be opening up chapters in every major city to coordinate rallies, fight against sanctuary cities, etc. Stay tuned."