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Political positionAlt-right

Groypers, sometimes called the Groyper Army, are a group of alt-right, white nationalist, and neo-Nazi[3][4] activists, provocateurs, and internet trolls. They are notable for their attempts to introduce alt-right politics into mainstream conservatism in the United States, their participation in the January 6 United States Capitol attack and the protests leading up to it, and their extremist views. They have targeted other conservative groups and individuals whose agendas they view as too moderate and insufficiently nationalist.[5][6] The Groyper movement has been described as white nationalist, homophobic, nativist, fascist, sexist, antisemitic, and an attempt to rebrand the declining alt-right movement.[2][7][8][9]

Groypers are a loosely defined group of followers and fans of Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist, far-right political commentator and livestreamer.[10][2] After Fuentes, there is no clear second in the Groyper hierarchy. Groypers are named after a cartoon amphibian named "Groyper", which is a variant of the Internet meme Pepe the Frog.

Michelle Malkin, a conservative blogger and political commentator, has referred to herself as the "mommy" of the Groyper movement, though she plays a minor role in the cause.[11][12]

In February 2021, the Groyper movement splintered between Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey over fears of infiltration by federal informants and doxing at the 2021 America First Political Action Conference, held by Fuentes. Jaden McNeil of America First Students joined in support of Fuentes' conference and accused Casey of disloyalty to Fuentes.[13][14] In May 2022, McNeil distanced himself from Fuentes in an "interpersonal clash of egos" following conflict over his former position as treasurer of Fuentes' America First Foundation.[15]


Groypers are extremely conservative and critical of more mainstream conservative organizations, which they believe to be insufficiently nationalist and pro-white; thus, they appeal to racist and xenophobic individuals.[16] Groypers and their leaders have tried to position the group's ideology as being based around "Christian conservatism", "traditional values", and "American nationalism". Some Groypers downplay the extremism of their positions, and instruct others on how to engage in entryism and radicalization tactics such as slowly introducing their targets to increasingly extreme ideas.[17] Despite attempts to brand themselves more moderately, the group is widely recognized as white nationalist, antisemitic, and homophobic.[18][1][19]

Fuentes claimed that he had been "oppressed" by "the Jews" and blamed antisemitic actions as being the Jewish community's own fault, claiming that matters "tend to go from zero to sixty" and that "the reason is them". Fuentes declared that matters would get "a lot uglier" for their community if they did not begin to support "people like us".[20][21] According to the Anti-Defamation League, Groypers blame the mainstream conservative movement as well as the political left for what they view as "destroying white America". They oppose immigration and globalism. Groypers support "traditional" values and Christianity and oppose feminism and LGBTQ rights.[1]

Describing the relationship between Groypers and the Republican Party, Nick Fuentes has stated, "We are the right-wing flank of the Republican Party." He summarized his political ambitions by stating, "We have got to be on the right, dragging [moderate Republicans] kicking and screaming into the future. Into a truly reactionary party."[22] In 2022, Fuentes advocated for a political "white uprising" to bring Donald Trump back to power and "never leave," wanting America to "stop having elections" and abolish the United States Congress.[23][24]


Groypers are named after a cartoon amphibian named "Groyper", which is a variant of the Internet meme Pepe the Frog. Groyper is depicted as a rotund, green, frog-like creature, often in a sitting position with its chin resting on interlocked fingers.[25][26] There is some disagreement around the specifics of Groyper: it is alternatively said to be a depiction of the Pepe character,[7] a different character from Pepe but of the same species,[27] or a toad.[25] The Groyper meme was used as early as 2015, and became popular in 2017.[28]

In 2018, a group of computer scientists studying hateful speech on Twitter observed the Groyper image being used frequently in account avatars among the accounts identified as "hateful" in their dataset. The researchers observed that the profiles tended to be anonymous and collectively tweeted primarily about politics, race, and religion. Similarly, they detected that the users were not "lone wolves" and the individuals could be identified as a community with a high network centrality.[29] The same year, Right Wing Watch reported that Massachusetts congressional hopeful Shiva Ayyadurai had created a campaign pin featuring a variation of the Groyper image, which RWW described as an attempt to appeal to the far-right activists on 4chan, Gab, and Twitter who had adopted the meme.[30]

Nick Fuentes in 2022

Followers of Nick Fuentes began to be known as Groypers beginning in 2019. Fuentes' followers are also sometimes called "Nickers".[2][31] In September 2019, Ashley St. Clair, a "brand ambassador" for the conservative student group Turning Point USA, was photographed at an event featuring several allegedly white nationalist and alt-right figures, including Fuentes, Jacob Wohl, and Anthime Gionet, better known as "Baked Alaska". After Right Wing Watch brought the photographs to Turning Point USA's attention, the organization issued a statement declaring that it had severed ties with St. Clair, and condemning white nationalism as "abhorrent and un-American".[32][33] At the 2019 Politicon convention, Fuentes tried to access several of the Turning Point USA events featuring its founder Charlie Kirk, including a line to take photos with Kirk and Kirk's debate with Kyle Kulinski of The Young Turks. Security repeatedly barred him from being allowed anywhere near Kirk, with Fuentes accusing Kirk of deliberately suppressing him in order to avoid a confrontation, as Fuentes had grown critical of Kirk's positions, which he believes are too weak.[26] Charlie Kirk and along with Rob Smith was then questioned by Patrick Casey and other plants in the audience on his views on free speech and homosexuality, which they see conservatives as moving the country towards the left on these matters and ceding a lot of ground on cultural issues, by banning members for associating with white nationalists or neo-Nazis and not caring about what consenting adults do.

Groyper Wars

In the fall of 2019, Kirk launched a college speaking tour with Turning Point USA titled "Culture War", featuring himself alongside such guests as Senator Rand Paul, Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, Lara Trump, and Congressman Dan Crenshaw.[1] In retaliation for the firing of St. Clair and the Politicon incident, Fuentes subsequently began organizing a social media campaign asking his followers to go to Kirk's events and ask provocative and controversial leading questions regarding his stances on immigration, Israel, and LGBT rights during the question-and-answer sessions, for the purpose of exposing Kirk as a "fake conservative". At a Culture War event hosted by Ohio State University on October 29, eleven out of fourteen questions during the Q&A section were asked by Groypers.[34] Groypers asked questions including, "Can you prove that our white European ideals will be maintained if the country is no longer made up of white European descendants?", and directed the question "How does anal sex help us win the culture war?" at Kirk's co-host Rob Smith, a gay black veteran of the Iraq War.[35] Fuentes' social media campaign against Kirk became known as the "Groyper Wars".[7][25] Kirk, Smith, and others at Turning Point USA, including Benny Johnson, began labeling the questioners as white supremacists and antisemites.[26][36]

Another Turning Point USA event targeted by the Groypers was a promotional event for Donald Trump Jr.'s book Triggered, featuring Trump, Kirk, and Guilfoyle at the University of California, Los Angeles in November 2019. Anticipating further questions from Fuentes' followers, it was announced that the originally planned Q&A portion of the event would be canceled, which led to heckling and boos from the mostly pro-Trump audience.[37] The disruptions eventually forced them to cut the event short after 30 minutes, when it was originally scheduled to last for two hours.[38][39][10][40]

Groypers' targets for heckling quickly expanded beyond Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA.[25][41] Groypers began targeting other mainstream conservative groups and individuals, which they sometimes collectively call "Conservative Inc.", including events hosted by Young America's Foundation and their student outreach branch Young Americans for Freedom, which included such speakers as Ben Shapiro and Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire, and Jonah Goldberg of The Dispatch.[5][41] Questions posed to their opponents often focus on topics including United States–Israel relations, immigration policy, affirmative action, and LGBTQ conservatives.[6][42][7] They regularly use antisemitic dogwhistles in their confrontations with other conservatives, including numerous questions about the USS Liberty incident, and references to the "dancing Israelis" conspiracy theory alleging Israeli involvement in the September 11 attacks.[43][1]

Other activities

In December 2019, Fuentes announced and held the Groyper Leadership Summit in Florida. A small group attended the event in person, and attendees also joined via livestream. The event was held at the same time and in the same city as Turning Point USA's Student Action Summit (SAS); Groypers argued with SAS attendees outside of their venue, and Fuentes, Patrick Casey, and some Groypers were removed from the SAS venue after attempting to enter. At the Groyper Leadership Summit, Fuentes, Casey, and former InfoWars contributor Jake Lloyd spoke about the Groypers' strategy and ideology.[44] While outside of a venue where a Turning Point USA event was being held, Fuentes crossed paths with Ben Shapiro, who was on his way to the event with his pregnant wife and two children. Fuentes confronted Shapiro over his past public speaking comments, while Shapiro refused to acknowledge him.[45] Fuentes faced widespread condemnation from politicians and various pundits—including Nikki Haley, Meghan McCain, Sebastian Gorka, Megyn Kelly, and Michael Avenatti—for confronting Shapiro while he was with his family.[46]

In January 2020, Groyper and former leader of Kansas State University's Turning Point USA chapter Jaden McNeil formed the Kansas State University organization America First Students. The group, which shares a name with Fuentes' America First podcast, was conceived at the Groyper Leadership Summit, and Groyper leaders have helped promote the group. The America First Students organization, which states it was formed "in defense of Christian values, strong families, closed borders, and the American worker", is considered to push the Groyper movement.[8][9]

In February 2020, Fuentes spoke at several events that were held as rival events to the Conservative Political Action Conference. One such event, hosted by the online publication National File, featured Fuentes, Alex Jones of InfoWars, and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes.[47][48] Fuentes hosted the first annual America First Political Action Conference, which included such speakers as Patrick Casey, former Daily Caller author Scott Greer, and Malkin.[49]

Groypers are very active online, particularly on Twitter, and have engaged in targeted harassment against opponents.[34] Financial Times reported that many Groypers use "deceptively anodyne" Twitter biographies, describing themselves in terms that downplay their extremism, like "Christian conservative".[50] In April 2020, The Daily Dot reported that Fuentes and other Groypers had begun to move to the video sharing platform TikTok, where they streamed live and used the "duet" feature to respond to Trump supporters. Groypers particularly targeted one left-wing teenage girl for harassment, which began on TikTok but spread across platforms.[50][51] Fuentes and some other Groyper accounts were banned from TikTok shortly after the Daily Dot article was published.[52]

Presence at January 6 United States Capitol attack

Groypers were present at the January 6 United States Capitol attack. Exact numbers are not known but several were arrested. Nicholas (Nick) Fuentes was on the steps of the Capitol and celebrated the temporary disruption of Congress, but has not been charged.[53] Patrick Casey is the leader of American Identity Movement (AIM), was on the steps of the Capitol and celebrated the temporary disruption of Congress, but has not been charged.[53] Riley June Williams of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was accused of invading Nancy Pelosi's office and stealing her laptop and gavel and of accelerating the attack in general. She was tried and found guilty of six charges, including a felony count of civil disorder. She was sentenced on March 23, 2023, to three years in prison with three years of probation and fined.[54] Christian Secor of Cosa Mesa, California was present at the Capitol Building, where he allegedly flew the Groypers flag. He was accused of Obstruction of an Official Proceeding, Civil Disorder, Assault, and Resisting arrest. At trial, he was found guilty and sentenced last year to three years and six months in prison.[55]

Joseph Brody of Springfield, Virginia, and four others acted as a group which assisted the mob "... in using a metal barricade against a U.S. Capitol Police officer, knocking the officers back as he attempted to secure the North Door". He faces felony charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers, causing bodily injury, interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding.[56][57]

  1. Thomas Carey of Pittsburgh, Ohio, pled guilty to demonstrating in a Capitol Building and was fined $500.[58]
  2. Gabriel Chase of Gainesville, Florida, pled guilty to demonstrating in a Capitol Building and was fined $500.[58]
  3. Jon Lizak of Cold Spring Harbor, New York, pled guilty to demonstrating in a Capitol Building and was fined $500.[59]
  4. Paul Ewald Lovley of Halethorpe, Maryland, pled guilty to demonstrating in a Capitol Building and was fined $500.[60]

Political activism

The Groyper movement has repeatedly failed to gain any serious political traction, often being disavowed by most politicians it has attempted to support. Congressman Paul Gosar, the keynote speaker for Fuentes' AFPAC II in 2021, disavowed Fuentes and his followers the following day while addressing CPAC.[61] At AFPAC III in 2022, several political figures whom Fuentes claimed were slated to speak, including Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and former acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan, did not attend and disavowed the event upon learning of Fuentes' views.[62][63] The conference's keynote speaker, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, later claimed that she did not know who Fuentes was and, upon learning of his views, condemned him as well.[64]

Of the speakers at AFPAC III who did not rescind their support for Fuentes, only two went on to run for major office: Lieutenant Governor of Idaho Janice McGeachin and Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers. Rogers ultimately won a competitive primary later that year and was re-elected to the senate, although she was censured for her remarks at the conference calling for political violence.[65] McGeachin, who ran for governor of Idaho that year, was defeated in the primary by incumbent Governor Brad Little by a 20-point margin.

One of the candidates endorsed by Fuentes in the 2022 midterms who later disavowed his endorsement was Joe Kent, running for the 3rd congressional district in Washington.[66] In response to the disavowal, Fuentes began organizing an online campaign against Kent in the hopes of blocking him from winning the nomination; Kent ultimately secured the Republican nomination, defeating incumbent Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler.[67]

Fuentes and the Groyper movement later supported the candidacy of Laura Loomer for the 11th congressional district of Florida in 2022.[68] On the night of the primary, Fuentes attended Loomer's election watch-party, and they were filmed sharing a toast as results came in that seemed to suggest Loomer would actually defeat incumbent Congressman Daniel Webster; Loomer toasted "to the hostile takeover of the Republican Party."[69] When additional results came in confirming Loomer's loss to Webster by a 7-point margin, she claimed without evidence in a speech to her supporters that her loss was due to voter fraud.[70][71]

In late 2022 and early 2023, the Groyper movement shifted away from its longtime position of supporting Donald Trump and instead began promoting the presidential campaign of rapper Kanye West. West brought Fuentes with him for a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with former President Trump, which generated significant controversy while also raising Fuentes' profile; Trump later disavowed Fuentes, claiming he was not initially aware of Fuentes' views.[72][73] West's campaign soon included other figures in the Groyper movement, including Milo Yiannopoulos,[74] Ali Alexander,[75] and Rumble streamer Nico Kenn De Balinthazy, better known by his online alias "Sneako".[76] Many Groypers, including fellow streamers on Fuentes' website Cozy.tv, began using their platforms to promote West's antisemitic views.[77] Two Cozy streamers, Dalton Clodfelter and Tyler Russell, began streaming themselves harassing students at college campuses with a table display reading "Ye is Right - Change my Mind," a slogan that was derivative of a prior college tour by right-wing commentator Steven Crowder.[78][79] The events were frequently protested by Jewish student groups and allies, who played music on loudspeakers and chanted in order to drown out the streamers' speeches.[80] The planned college tour was canceled after less than one month, after Clodfelter lost the funding for both the tour itself and the Rumble channel associated with it.[81]

On May 4, 2023, it was reported that West had fired Fuentes and Alexander, the latter of whom had become embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal involving young men and underaged boys, and re-hired Yiannopoulos, who had since split from Fuentes and was the first one to leak the allegations against Alexander.[82][83]


The Groyper Wars earned widespread media attention after the UCLA incident with Donald Trump Jr. Chadwick Moore of Spectator USA commented that the ordeal revealed deep divisions within the American right among young voters, particularly with regards to the political beliefs of Generation Z, or "Zoomers". This divide, Moore claims, is due to the Groypers viewing Charlie Kirk and others in the mainstream conservative movement as "snatching the baton and appointing themselves the guardians of 2016's spoils", despite holding beliefs that Fuentes and his followers believe to be in conflict with then-President Trump's "Make America Great Again" agenda.[84] Another Spectator author, Ben Sixsmith, claimed that Turning Point's unwillingness to respond to controversial questions, and subsequent use of insults to dismiss their critics, revealed the organization's hypocrisy after having "promoted themselves as the debate guys".[85]

Several mainstream conservative commentators also weighed in on the matter. Addressing the increase in attention towards the far-right due to the aggressive questioning of Kirk, Ben Shapiro gave a speech at Stanford University in which he attacked Fuentes (without naming him) and his followers as essentially being a rebranded version of the alt-right.[86][87][88] Representative Dan Crenshaw similarly referred to the questioners as "alt-right 2.0" while American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp said that "there is no place in our conservative movement for those interested in fomenting hate, mob violence, or racist propaganda."[89] Conversely, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote an article for American Greatness attacking Kirk for his immigration policies, and particularly his stance that green cards should be awarded to immigrants who graduate from American universities.[90] After defending Fuentes and his followers, Malkin was fired as a speaker for Young America's Foundation, a rival organization to Turning Point whose events had also been targeted by Groypers.[41][91] Malkin later would refer to herself as a mother figure among and a leader of the Groypers.[92]


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Further reading