Fredrick Brennan

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Fredrick Brennan
Born 1994 (age 23–24)
Albany, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names "Hotwheels"[1]
Known for Founder of 8chan

Fredrick Brennan, also known by the nickname "Hotwheels", is an American software developer with brittle bone disease who founded the imageboard website 8chan.

Early life[edit]

Brennan was born in 1994 in Albany, New York,[2] with osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease, which stunted his growth and requires him to use a wheelchair. He estimates he had broken bones 120 times in his first 19 years, which caused great pain.[3] His short arms prevent him from picking items off the floor or out of cupboards; Brennan uses mechanical reacher arms to reach into cabinets or to turn on water faucets.[4]

Brennan comes from a multigenerational family with osteogenesis imperfecta. His mother, who has the same condition, gave birth to him via caesarian section. His parents divorced when Brennan was 5 years old; the children were in the father's sole custody until Brennan was 14, when they were placed into the New York State foster care system.[5] Because of his hardships, Brennan wrote an article supporting the voluntary sterilization of people with similar severe inheritable genetic conditions. In the article Brennan states only The Daily Stormer, a white nationalist and Neo-Nazi organization, would agree to publish it.[5][6]

His disability restricted his childhood play activities, so he was "hooked" on his first computer at the age of 6, and wrote his first independent computer program at the age of 13.[4] Brennan was active in Internet culture from an early age, being introduced to 4chan in 2006.

Early website management[edit]

In 2011 he helped mirror Encyclopedia Dramatica during its shutdown[citation needed]. In 2012 he joined Wizardchan, an Internet community for male virgins.[7][8] He bought Wizardchan from the original administrator in March 2013 and owned it until September 2013, when he resigned after losing his virginity.[8]

Independence[edit]

In August 2013, Brennan moved from his mother's home in Atlantic City, New Jersey to Brooklyn, where he worked writing websites as head of programming for RazorClicks, which does small business Web marketing.[3] The company paid the rent for his apartment, and he worked a second job, remotely, for a Canadian company for expenses.[4]

In January 2014, Brennan was robbed of almost $5,000 that he was saving up for a new wheelchair. When the suspect was arrested, Brennan went to the police station for a lineup, but, when a bus didn't come on the way back, he was left stranded in the snow, and had to be treated for hypothermia.[3] He received a personal apology from New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.[9] RazorClicks began a donation campaign to help gather the remaining funds for a new wheelchair; US$15,000 was raised in 2 months.[10]

8chan[edit]

Brennan launched 8chan, also called "Infinitechan", in October 2013, after a month of raising pledges on Patreon. It was meant as a "free-speech-friendly 4chan alternative", where discussion boards would be managed by the creating users, not by site moderators.[2][11] It started with a small but loyal following.[12]

In September 2014, the website gained popularity from the Gamergate controversy after 4chan banned supporters of the subject, many of whom then organized at 8chan.[7][11] 8chan quickly became the second most popular English-language imageboard on the web.[12] Supporters gathered in person to hold an in-person birthday party for the site, starring Brennan.[1] Brennan himself became a prominent GamerGate advocate, being interviewed about 8chan users' involvement in harassment of Brianna Wu on The David Pakman Show, and asked to debate about Gamergate on HuffPost Live and Al Jazeera America.[13][14][15]

In October 2014, Brennan formed a partnership with Japanese message board 2channel, and moved to the Philippines to work on 8chan full-time.[1][8]

Brennan has been criticized for 8chan's pedophilia-related boards; Brennan has said he personally finds such content reprehensible, but stands by his refusal to remove content that does not violate United States law.[11] Due to the controversy surrounding the site, the crowd funding site Patreon removed 8chan's fundraising page in January 2015, and the site registrar put the original domain 8chan.co on hold, each citing the presence of child abuse content.[12][16][17] The registrar later relinquished control of the domain back to its owner, since the report proved to be false, and the domain now forwards to 8ch.net.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Chen, Adrian (October 27, 2014). "Gamergate Supporters Party at Strip Club". New York. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Machkovech, Sam (Mar 20, 2015). ""I don't even pretend I can stop it": 8chan's founder talks doxing, Internet freedom". Ars Technica. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Wilson, Michael (January 17, 2014). "City Newcomer Is Let Down by a Stranger, Then the Police". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c The America Tonight Digital Team (September 12, 2014). "A day in the life of a man with brittle bone disease". America Tonight. Al Jazeera America. Retrieved November 10, 2014. Video online at YouTube: "The Other America 'Fredrick Brennan' - YouTube". Al Jazeera America. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  5. ^ a b Brennan, Fredrick (December 30, 2014). "Hotwheels: Why I Support Eugenics". The Daily Stormer. Archived from the original on March 12, 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  6. ^ Herzog, Chrizella (March 8, 2015). "When the Internet Breeds Hate". The Diplomatic Courier. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b Audureau, William (October 15, 2014). "4chan, wizardchan, 8chan... s'y retrouver dans la jungle des forums anonymes les plus populaires du Web" (in French). France: Le Monde.
  8. ^ a b c Caldwell, Don (October 9, 2014). "Q&A with Fredrick Brennan of 8chan". Know Your Meme. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  9. ^ "NY police apologize to victim with food, favors". PoliceOne. March 22, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  10. ^ Wilson, Michael (March 21, 2014). "After Leaving Victim in the Cold, the Police Work to Make It Right". New York Times. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c O'Neill, Patrick Howell (November 17, 2014). "8chan, the central hive of Gamergate, is also an active pedophile network". The Daily Dot. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c Dewey, Caitlin (January 13, 2015). "This is what happens when you create an online community without any rules - The Washington Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  13. ^ "What Is #Gamergate? 8chan Administrator And Female Gamer Join HuffPost Live". HuffPost Live. The Huffington Post. October 15, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  14. ^ Pakman, David (November 5, 2014). "#GamerGate: 8Chan Admin 'Hotwheels' Denounces Brianna Wu Doxxing & Harassment". The David Pakman Show. Archived from the original on December 11, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  15. ^ The America Tonight Digital Team (December 10, 2014). "GamerGate debate: Video games, free speech and misogyny". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  16. ^ Machkovech, Sam (Jan 8, 2015). "8chan, related sites go down in Lizard Squad-powered DDoS". Ars Technica. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  17. ^ Machkovech, Sam (Jan 12, 2015). "8chan domain seized over allegations of child abuse content". Ars Technica. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  18. ^ Brennan, Fredrick (Jan 13, 2015). "Our .co domain was released and transferred and is back under 8chan control". 8chan's official twitter. Retrieved 31 July 2015.