Ngo in 2019
Andy Cuong Ngo
1986/1987 (age 33–34)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles (BA)|
Andy Cuong Ngô (born c. 1986) is an American conservative social media activist and journalist best known for covering street protests in Portland, Oregon. He is editor at large of The Post Millennial, a Canadian conservative news website. Ngo received national attention in June 2019 when he was assaulted by unidentified assailants who appeared to be antifa protesters while covering a counter protest to a Proud Boys march in Portland, and later due to alleged connections with the far-right groups Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys.
Early life and education
Ngo was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. His parents immigrated from Vietnam by boat in 1978. Raised in a Buddhist family, Ngo began attending an evangelical Christian church in high school. He subsequently became an atheist and was strongly against organized religion, which was reflected in his social media activity in the form of "inflammatory language"; however, he says that language does not reflect his current beliefs.
While attending the University of California, Los Angeles, Ngo volunteered with AmeriCorps. He graduated from UCLA in 2009 with a graphic design degree, but found it hard to find a job, so he had period of unemployment and worked as a photographer at a used car dealership and in various minimum wage jobs. After college, Ngo came out as gay while visiting cousins in rural Vietnam.
Several media outlets, including The Oregonian and The Rolling Stone, have described him as a "right-wing provocateur". BuzzFeed News said that "Ngo's work is probably best described as media activism" and that he engages in "participant reporting". New York magazine cites Ngo as an example of "busybody journalism", which is distinguished from experiential journalism by its "focus on the individual reporter's feelings" and absence of editorial fact-checking.
Ngo first drew national attention in May 2017 after he was fired from the Portland State University (PSU) student newspaper The Vanguard. His dismissal as multimedia editor was in reaction to a Breitbart News report that Ngo had tweeted on his personal account a video clip of a Muslim student on an interfaith panel stating that in some Muslim countries, the punishment for apostasy is death or banishment. While not reporting for The Vanguard at the time, his tweet paraphrased the Muslim student's remark in a way the newspaper's student editor considered to be "a half-truth", and inciting a reaction. Colleen Leary, Vanguard's editor, also disputed Ngo's claim that the dismissal was motivated by previous campus controversies over Ngo's work.
Ngo later wrote an op-ed for the National Review titled "Fired for Reporting the Truth". He also engaged in online discussions about the incident and on the pro-Donald Trump subreddit /r/The Donald he called the firing part of a "trend towards self-censorship in the name of political correctness". According to the editor of The Vanguard, the incident did not receive much attention on campus. A student who was on the panel disputed Leary's claim that Ngo had incorrectly paraphrased the Muslim student, but the Muslim student said, "I thought I would feel proud after putting something like this [panel] together. Not feel like this."
On August 29, 2018, Ngo wrote an op-ed titled "A Visit to Islamic England" for The Wall Street Journal. In the article, Ngo wrote of his experiences in two neighborhoods in East London, including visits to a mosque and an Islamic center. From these experiences, he concluded that London was afflicted with "failed multiculturalism". He falsely connected alcohol-free zones in parts of London to the Muslim-majority populations. Ngo was accused of Islamophobia and subsequently issued a correction. Alex Lockie from Business Insider criticized Ngo's article for "fear monger[ing] around England's Muslim population" and cherrypicking evidence, and for mischaracterizing the neighbourhood near the East London Mosque. Steve Hopkins from HuffPost stated that "some of his [Ngo's] assertions have already been disproved".
In October 2018, Ngo started a podcast entitled "Things You Should Ngo." His interviewees have included Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin and Carl Benjamin (who uses the pen name "Sargon of Akkad" online).
Confrontations with antifa activists
Ngo has labelled several journalists, including Shane Burley and Alexander Reid Ross, as "antifa ideologues". According to Vox's Zack Beauchamp, Ngo has doxed at least one political activist by publishing her full name. He has also been accused of using selectively edited videos to paint antifa activists as violent, and to underplay the violence of the far-right.
Ngo has investigated what he calls "illiberal reactions", which he says threaten college freedoms. In February 2018, Ngo and his student group Freethinkers of PSU invited former Google engineer James Damore, the author of a Google diversity memo, to speak on the campus. According to Ngo, his group was threatened with violence and were intimidated by antifa protesters, but this claim has been disputed. He later stated that antifa protesters did not disrupt the event. During the event, a portion of the audience walked out in protest against Damore. Ngo filmed the disruption, but said "it [had not been] a plan to get national attention for [himself]."
In November 2018, Ngo live-streamed the #HimToo Rally organized by a Patriot Prayer member in downtown Portland, and was sprayed with silly string by antifascist protesters. Ngo said the Democratic politicians are in a difficult position as they have a constituency that "share similar goals and sympathies [as antifa]". Ngo called for "more clarity in their [Democratic] leadership, and to come out against violence, against this type of anarchy, and not view it through a partisan lens as they are currently".
In May 2019, Ngo claimed he was pepper-sprayed by an antifascist activist while recording a fight in Portland. This occurred amid clashes between antifascists and the far-right group Patriot Prayer. Later that year, a video of Ngo surfaced where he is seen laughing, while standing next to the members of the far-right group planning the attack on anti-fascist patrons at the bar. He later followed the group to the bar where they allegedly attacked the patrons. The video is part of the court documents in the ongoing lawsuit against Patriot Prayer members for allegedly causing the riot. One of the victims of the attack was knocked unconscious with a baton and suffered a broken vertebrae—Ngo later posted a video of her being attacked and identified her online. Portland Mercury quoted an undercover antifascist embedded in Patriot Prayer saying that Andy Ngo has an "understanding" with the far-right group, that the group "protects him and he protects them".
On June 29, 2019, while filming a counter-protest to a Proud Boys march in Portland, Ngo was punched in the head, kicked and hit with a milkshake by unidentified assailants who appeared to be antifa protesters. He walked away and reported what happened in a livestream, during which a medic arrived to check on him.
Ngo's attorney wrote that Ngo was subsequently taken to hospital for cerebral hemorrhaging. Joseph Bernstein, writing for BuzzFeed News, stated that Ngo had sent him a copy of his discharge paperwork from the hospital showing that he had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Ngo retained attorney Harmeet Dhillon to investigate the response of the Portland Police Bureau. Texas Senator Ted Cruz called on federal authorities to investigate Ted Wheeler, Portland's mayor, who is also the city's police commissioner. Democratic Party presidential candidate Andrew Yang wished Ngo a speedy recovery. Former Vice President and Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden and then-candidate Eric Swalwell also condemned the attack. The Portland based newspaper Willamette Week stated that "it is increasingly clear he is coordinating his movements and his message with right-wing groups". BuzzFeed News reported that Ngo "has been building to a dramatic confrontation with the Portland far left for months, his star rising along with the severity of the encounters...The man's literal brand is that anti-fascists are violent and loathe him" and "He is willing to make himself the story and to stream himself doing it. He proceeds from a worldview and seeks to confirm it, without asking to what degree his coverage becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy", pointing out that Ngo even proposed going to "a far-left hangout" during the writing of the profile piece.
On August 26, 2019, The Daily Beast reported that Ngo was leaving Quillette. Earlier in the day, Portland Mercury covered a video that showed Ngo standing near members of Patriot Prayer, the far-right group active in Portland, as they planned violence at a bar frequented by left-wing activists. Ngo, who ultimately blamed the violence on antifascist activists, is alleged to be smiling and laughing at the discussion. Ngo's name was deleted from Quillette's masthead, and the site from Ngo's Twitter feed, at this time. The editor of Quillette, Claire Lehmann, told The Daily Beast that the two developments were not linked and that Ngo had left the website several weeks earlier. On August 30, Spectator USA published an article by Ngo in which he claimed he did not know about the far-right group planning the attack, that he "[only] caught snippets of various conversations" and "was preoccupied on [his] phone", describing the accusations as "lies".
In June 2020, Ngo sued individuals purportedly associated with antifa, seeking $900,000 in damages for assault and emotional distress, and an injunction to prevent further harassment. The lawsuit, filed on Ngo's behalf by his attorney Harmeet Dhillon, cites Rose City Antifa, five other named defendants, and additional unknown assailants. It stems from multiple alleged attacks on Ngo in Portland during 2019: at a demonstration on May 1; at his local gym on May 7; and during a protest on June 29. In particular, the suit accuses Rose City Antifa of a "pattern of racketeering activities".
On June 29, 2020, Ngo testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Reform's Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties during a virtual briefing on "The First Amendment Under Attack: Examining Government Violence Against Peaceful Civil Rights Protesters and the Journalists Covering Them," during which he claimed that protesters perpetrated violence against journalists and not law enforcement officers.
Ngo has often been described as right-wing and conservative, although he does not describe himself as such. In July 2019, on an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, host Joe Rogan asked, "if someone had a gun to your head" and he had to pick a political label, what would he choose? Ngo responded, "I think it's fair to describe me as center-right".
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...conservative journalist Andy Ngo...
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Andy Ngo, a conservative journalist...
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The senators also pointed to conservative journalist Andy Ngo, who in June was left bloodied by antifa activists in Portland, Ore.
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Chaos also broke out during a rally in June, when masked antifa members physically attacked conservative blogger Andy Ngo in an incident shared on social media.
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"I just got beat up by the crowd," Mr Ngo said.
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