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Ali Alexander

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Ali Alexander
Born
Ali Akbar

1984/1985 (age 35–36)[1]
OccupationActivist
Known forOrganizer of Stop the Steal
MovementFar-right[2]

Ali Alexander (born Ali Akbar in 1984 or 1985)[1][3] is an American far-right activist, social media personality, and conspiracy theorist.[2][8] Alexander is an organizer of Stop the Steal, a campaign to promote the conspiracy theory that widespread voter fraud led to Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election.[1][9]

Life

Ali Akbar was born in 1984 or 1985.[10][11] He went by that name until partway through his career as an activist, when he renamed himself Ali Alexander.[11][12] He identifies as Christian,[4] Black,[13] and Arab.[13] As of November 2020, Alexander lived in Texas.[11]

Alexander is a convicted felon, stemming from felony property theft and credit card abuse charges in 2007 and 2008.[12][14][15]

Activism

Alexander has been variously described as a Republican operative,[16] far-right personality,[2] right-wing provocateur,[17] and part of the New Right. The Observer wrote in 2018 that Alexander "has a history of dog whistling to the nationalist wing of the MAGA movement".[15] Alexander has worked with other far-right personalities including Alex Jones, Roger Stone, Jacob Wohl, and Laura Loomer.[18]

Alexander emerged in right-wing politics around the same time as the Tea Party movement, which came to prominence in the late 2000s.[19][18] At the time, he used the name Ali Akbar.[19] According to Salon, Alexander began working in politics in 2007 as a staffer for the John McCain 2008 presidential campaign.[20] Alexander created and became the CEO of a group called the National Bloggers' Club, which he described as a non-profit. However, he never registered the group with the Internal Revenue Service.[19][4] In 2014, Alexander was involved with the Black Conservatives Fund, which was described by Lamar White as a "mysterious" political action committee that "appear[ed] to have largely been a proxy for former Louisiana state Sen. Elbert Guillory".[3] In 2015, Alexander worked as the digital director for Republican Jay Dardenne's Louisiana gubernatorial campaign.[3] Around the time of the 2016 United States presidential election, Alexander was affiliated with a political action committee to which Robert Mercer donated $60,000.[21] Alexander also helped to create a right-wing website titled Culttture, since defunct.[4]

Later, he renamed himself Ali Alexander and became an outspoken supporter of former President Donald Trump.[19]

Social media

Alexander is a social media personality popular among conservatives. In early 2019, he was known for his livestream videos published via Periscope, in which he discussed his conservative and pro-Trump opinions.[22][23] In July 2019, Alexander attended a "social media summit" at the White House, an event that was attended by a mix of politicians and far-right pundits.[23][24][25] As of August 2019, Alexander had over 100,000 Twitter followers.[25] In 2018, Jack Dorsey spoke with Alexander regarding whether it was advisable to ban Alex Jones from Twitter, stating that Alexander had "interesting points" to make. Alexander rejected the idea of banning Jones. Twitter initially declined to ban Jones, but later banned him in September 2018 after he was banned from a spate of other social networks. Alexander himself was briefly banned from Twitter in January 2017, which he said was because he had tweeted at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "I would *literally* put you down if you came near me, Marxist. I would call 911 to come retrieve your body. Have a Good Friday!" He was unbanned later that day.[22] In January 2021, following the storming of the U.S. Capitol building, Alexander was banned from Twitter, as was the Twitter account for the Stop the Steal campaign.[19]

Alexander also used the alt-tech service Parler, on which he had 41,000 followers before Parler went offline on January 11, 2021.[5][26]

Deplatforming

After the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Twitter banned Alexander's personal account and a Stop the Steal account on January 10. Alexander was also banned from PayPal, Venmo, and Patreon following the riot, and permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram.[27][28]

Conspiracy theories

Alexander is a conspiracy theorist[8] who has promoted various unfounded and discredited claims, including that widespread electoral fraud led to Biden's victory over Trump in the 2020 presidential election,[29][30] Alexander describes himself as the "national organizer" of the campaign.[9][1] He began to organize large rallies in Washington, D.C. to protest the results of the election, sometimes feuding with other organizers over who should be given credit,[19] and solicited donations online to fund the events.[31][32] that then-Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris is "not an American Black",[33] and that Representative Ilhan Omar married her brother to grant him U.S. citizenship.[34]

Ilhan Omar and Kamala Harris

In February 2019, Alexander arranged for himself and two fellow conspiracy theorists, Jacob Wohl and Laura Loomer, to travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The trio filmed an online documentary about their trip, called Importing Ilhan, in which they investigated the debunked conspiracy theory that Ilhan Omar, U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district and a Somali-American, had married her brother to grant him U.S. citizenship.[35] During the trip, Alexander accompanied Wohl to a police station, where Wohl filed a police report in which he claimed he and his companions had been receiving "terroristic threats" on Twitter. Later reports indicated the threats appeared to have been falsified by Wohl himself, and Alexander publicly distanced himself from Wohl.[34]

In August 2019, Alexander earned media attention for what The Washington Post said had been described as a "birther-like" campaign against then-Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris. That month, he tweeted Harris was "not an American Black", further claiming that "I'm so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history. It's disgusting".[33] The New York Times wrote that in the tweet, Alexander had "falsely claimed Senator Kamala Harris was not black enough to be discussing the plight of black Americans". Donald Trump Jr. retweeted the claim, then deleted it.[25][36]

Stop the Steal

In 2020, Alexander founded Stop the Steal, a campaign promoting the conspiracy theory that falsely posits that widespread electoral fraud occurred during the 2020 presidential election to deny Donald Trump victory over Joe Biden.[29] Among the conspiracy theories that Alexander promoted as part of Stop the Steal was a claim, dubbed "#Maidengate", that people had used their maiden names to vote more than once.[37]

2021 storming of the United States Capitol

Alexander was identified as one of the people who encouraged Trump supporters to rally outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, the day of the Electoral College vote count. He named his rally the "Wild Protest" after Trump tweeted that protests during vote counting "will be wild". The rally was one of at least four pro-Trump rallies planned for that date and location.[23] Alexander announced in several livestreams in December 2020 that he had organized his rally with Representative Andy Biggs, as well as Representatives Paul Gosar and Mo Brooks.[38] In one livestream on Periscope, Alexander stated, "We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting."[39] Before the events of January 6, Alexander self-identified as an "official originator" of the rally;[19] he was later identified as a "founder" of Wild Protest[40] and the probable creator of a since-deactivated website devoted to the event.[41] He reportedly encouraged attendees of Wild Protest, which occurred amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington, D.C., not to wear masks.[40] Following the event, a Biggs spokesperson said Biggs had had no connection with Alexander,[19] and a Brooks spokesperson said Brooks had "no recollection of ever communicating in any way with whoever Ali Alexander is".[42]

The Daily Beast observed that "Alexander led a host of activists in ratcheting up the rhetoric" before January 6, and that Alexander's posts "grew more menacing" as the date approached.[19] Alexander tweeted on December 7, 2020 that he would "give [his] life for this fight", a tweet that was controversially retweeted by the Arizona Republican Party with the addition, "He is. Are you?"[19][43][44] ProPublica identified a December 23, 2020 Parler post of Alexander's, in which he wrote "If D.C. escalates... so do we", as "one of scores of social media posts welcoming violence" before the attack.[32]

On January 6, the morning rallies outside the Capitol building preceded the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.[16] The Guardian named Alexander as among the people active in inciting the crowd outside the Capitol that day, leading chants of "Victory or death".[45] At 4:30 p.m. on January 6, approximately two hours after rioters entered the Capitol building, Alexander posted a video of himself looking out on a crowd outside the Capitol, in which he said, "I don't disavow this. I do not denounce this."[23][19][46] He also said in the video that most of the people at the Capitol had been peaceful, and applauded those who didn't enter the building.[23]

After the attack on the Capitol, Alexander said he did not support what had happened,[47] and that he wished people had not entered, or even approached, the Capitol building.[23] The Daily Beast reported that Alexander had gone into hiding after the attack, and taken down a website promoting his rally.[19] Twitter banned Alexander's personal account and a Stop the Steal account on January 10. Alexander was also banned from PayPal, Venmo, and Patreon following the riot, and permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram.[27][28] According to Reuters, Alexander had continued to post "violent rhetoric" online following the attack.[48]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Hayden, Michael Edison (December 18, 2020). "Law Firm Tied to Far-Right Fringe Registers Stop the Steal LLC in Alabama". Hatewatch. Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Far-right[1][4][5][6][7]
  3. ^ a b c White, Lamar Jr. (November 9, 2020). "Theater of the Absurd: How A Louisiana Extremist Helped the Trump Campaign Manufacture Outrage". Bayou Brief. Archived from the original on December 23, 2020. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d Petrizzo, Zachary (August 20, 2020). "A Trumpworld operative obsessed with Kamala Harris' background has a past he wouldn't want you to see". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Heilweil, Rebecca (January 8, 2021). "How Trump's internet built and broadcast the Capitol insurrection". Vox. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Edmondson, Catie; Broadwater, Luke (January 11, 2021). "Before Capitol Riot, Republican Lawmakers Fanned the Flames". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Heilweil, Rebecca (January 8, 2021). "How Trump's internet built and broadcast the Capitol insurrection". Vox. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Conspiracy theorist[6][7]
  9. ^ a b Steakin, Will (January 8, 2021). "Trump allies helped plan, promote rally that led to Capitol attack". ABC News. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference :11 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ a b Sommer, Will (January 11, 2021). "'Stop the Steal' Organizer in Hiding After Denying Blame for Riot". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  13. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference :9 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference :6 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ a b Richardson, Davis (October 30, 2018). "Robert Mercer Bankrolled PAC Advised By Notorious Fringe 'Philosopher' Ali Alexander". Observer. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Barry, Dan; Frenkel, Sheera (January 7, 2021). "'Be There. Will Be Wild!': Trump All but Circled the Date". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
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  21. ^ Schreckinger, Ben (November 2018). "Trump's Culture Warriors Go Home". Politico Magazine. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
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  28. ^ a b Lippman, Daniel (January 12, 2021). "Facebook bans Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander". Politico. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^ *"Donald Trump Is Lying About The Early Election Results". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on November 4, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
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  33. ^ a b Wade, Peter (June 29, 2019). "Kamala Harris and Joe Biden Are the Latest Targets of Disinformation Campaigns". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  34. ^ a b Sommer, Will (March 13, 2019). "Jacob Wohl Faked Death Threats Against Himself". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on March 13, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  35. ^ Shamsian, Jacob (March 13, 2019). "Jacob Wohl may have reported a death threat to the police that he faked himself". Insider. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  36. ^ Rogers, Katie; Haberman, Maggie (June 28, 2019). "Donald Trump Jr. Shares, Then Deletes, a Tweet Questioning Kamala Harris's Race (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  37. ^ Nguyen, Tina. "Trump's media favorites battle for the Trump trophy". Politico. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  38. ^ Grim, Ryan; Chávez, Aída (January 11, 2021). "Freedom Caucus Chair Andy Biggs Helped Plan January 6 Event, Lead Organizer Says". The Intercept. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  39. ^ Armus, Teo (January 13, 2021). "A 'Stop the Steal' organizer, now banned by Twitter, said three GOP lawmakers helped plan his D.C. rally". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  40. ^ a b Jaffe, Logan; DePillis, Lydia; Arnsdorf, Isaac; McSwane, J. David (January 7, 2021). "Capitol Rioters Planned for Weeks in Plain Sight. The Police Weren't Ready". ProPublica. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  41. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D.; McIntire, Mike; Triebert, Christiaan (January 16, 2021). "Before the Capitol Riot, Calls for Cash and Talk of Revolution". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  42. ^ Brown, Kimberly; Segers, Grace (January 13, 2021). "GOP congressmen distance themselves from conservative activist". CBS News. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  43. ^ Lewis, Sophie (December 10, 2020). "Arizona Republican Party asks followers if they're willing to die to overturn election results". CBS News. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  44. ^ Bowden, John (December 8, 2020). "Arizona GOP asks if followers willing to give their lives to 'stop the steal'". The Hill (newspaper). Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  45. ^ Carroll, Rory (January 7, 2021). "Baked Alaska, the QAnon Shaman … who led the storming of the Capitol?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  46. ^ Petrizzo, Zachary (January 11, 2021). "Far-right provocateur Ali Alexander seen shouting 'victory or death' before Capitol riot". The Daily Dot. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  47. ^ Panetta, Alexander (January 9, 2021). "Twitter ban on Trump signals escalating debate on online speech that will be one for the ages". CBC.ca. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
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External links