Kyle Chapman, better known as “Based Stickman” for using a stick to bash antifa during Berkeley brawls, led a group of local Proud Boys into Sunday night’s Benghazi rally in Laguna Beach. They didn’t arrive to keep the anti-Hillary Clinton “lock her up” chant alive. Instead, Chapman and his yellow trim Fred Perry polo shirt-wearing pals came to crash the event organized by local Alt-Loser Johnny Benitez (real name: Juan Manuel Cadavid).
Before the ruckus, the tiny beach gathering stayed on message. “What happened in Benghazi could have been prevented,” said Irma Hinojosa, a Latina for Trump activist and live-streamer, to a handful of people. “It was due to the negligence and, what we can only assume at this point, deliberate actions by Hillary Clinton and the Barack Obama administration to undermine security situations assigned to the embassy in Tripoli.” Hinojosa readied to turn to Extortion 17, the downed Chinook in Afghanistan, when the unexpected guests stopped her speech.
Chapman walked right past Benitez onto the main beach backed by his Proud Boys crew. “We’re just hanging out,” Chapman told live-streamer Naui Huitzilopochtli. “We’re attending the rally to see what’s going on.” With the heavy police presence, nobody looked to throw blows, only trade insults. Two opposing men shone flashlights in each other’s eyes. “You’re a leprechaun!” a Proud Boy told a Benitez backer.
All the bad blood stems from recent fractures within the ranks of the Alt-Lite. After Benitez invited Chapman to speak at his “Make Men Great Again” event in early August, things quickly soured, especially when 2,500 counter-protesters dwarfed Benitez’s Laguna Beach anti-immigrant rally later that month. Dennis Luke challenged Benitez to an MMA fight afterward that never happened, even when the Weekly offered a $1,000 charity reward to the winner. Luke charged that his former OC Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK) leader was a leftist infiltrator, or, at best, an attention seeker. Chapman, who heads FOAK, weighed in on social media soon after, disavowing Benitez from the Patriot Movement. Before the Laguna Beach debacle, Benitez learned that Chapman was in town for the California Republican Party’s fall convention at the Anaheim Marriott this weekend (where Chapman says Steve Bannon hailed him a “bruiser”). He confronted him near the hotel bar on Saturday night. “I heard somewhere you were going to green light me,” Benitez said, referring to a screenshot of an order to remove Benitez from rallies given by Chapman to fellow Proud Boys. Chapman pushed him around with his chest asking him to go outside to “have a talk.” Benitez filmed the encounter on Periscope with a phone stuffed in his pocket. Once Chapman learned of it, he yanked the phone from him. A minor skirmish followed, ending with Benitez on the ground yelling that Chapman tried to gouge his eyes out.
Anaheim police responded to an assault and battery call and wrote up a report. Laguna Beach police knew of all the Trumpbro drama from social media, including the Marriott fight, and turned out 150 officers from multiple departments to babysit Sunday’s sandbox gathering of a few dozen.
“You’re a leftist infiltrator!” Chapman accused Benitez on the beach. “You’re antifa now! You’re disrupting a Benghazi event!” Benitez responded after charging Chapman with being a federal agent. (Which one is it? Antifa or Fed?). A man on a bullhorn tried to keep the rally going, inviting people to take their beefs off the beach. “Johnny Benitez, a year ago, was trying to start an antifa chapter,” Chapman told him. “He’s on record.” Chapman pointed people to a series of Weekly articles written about Benitez by Frank John Tristan and me to bolster his claim. (Quick aside: A man hellbent on destroying neo-Marxism touts a Marxist of the Groucho variety rag? Classic!) Orange County Sheriff Deputies finally had something to do when they helped wall off the two sides from each other. With riot-gear police by him, Benitez took the megaphone to bash Chapman with all the dirt unearthed about his criminal past from an article in The Smoking Gun. “We are infested with merchants, with charlatans, with people whose only interest is self-aggrandizement and making money,” Benitez said. “Our movement, once it purges these elements, will be much stronger.” Sure, Juanito. Sure!
After an hour of right-wing infighting, Chapman and the rest of the Proud Boys left the rally. Police safely escorted Benitez and his crew out of the area. It’s a shame. Now we’ll never REALLY know what happened in Benghazi!