Posobiec in 2020
John Michael Posobiec III
December 14, 1985
Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Temple University (BA)|
|Occupation||Political activist, news correspondent|
|Employer||One America News Network|
John Michael Posobiec III (// pə-SOH-bik; born December 14, 1985) is an American alt-right political activist and conspiracy theorist who is widely considered an Internet troll. Posobiec is best known for his pro-Donald Trump comments on Twitter, as well as using white supremacist and antisemitic symbols and talking points, including the white genocide conspiracy theory. He has promoted fake news, including the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory claiming high-ranking Democratic Party officials were involved in a child sex ring. As of 2018, he was working as a correspondent for One America News Network, a far-right cable news television channel.
Early life and career
Posobiec was born and raised in Norristown, Pennsylvania, to a family of Polish descent. His parents were both Democrats. He attended Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School and then went to college at Temple University. While at Temple, he became the chairman of the Temple University College Republicans and started a chapter of Students for Academic Freedom, an organization run by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He also participated in a summer internship for U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and volunteered for U.S. Representative Curt Weldon's unsuccessful reelection campaign in 2006. He graduated from Temple in 2006 with a double major in political science and broadcast journalism.
After graduation, Posobiec worked for the United States Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, China. He played a minor role in the film The Forbidden Kingdom, which was released in 2008. He later worked for WPHT, a conservative talk radio station, and then for the campaign of Steve Johnson in the 2010 Pennsylvania lieutenant gubernatorial election; Johnson lost in the Republican primary.
Posobiec served several tours in the Navy Reserve from 2010 to 2017, reaching the rank of lieutenant junior grade. He was deployed for ten months at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base from September 2012, and worked at the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), where he later worked again as a civilian.
During the 2016 election, Posobiec was a special projects director of Citizens for Trump, a pro-Trump organization, but not an official group. In March 2017, Posobiec resigned from his full-time civilian position at ONI, saying that his support for Trump led to a "toxic work environment." As of August 2017, his security clearance was suspended and was under review.
He said in 2017 that his work was "reality journalism—part investigative, part activist, part commentary", and that "I'm willing to break the fourth wall. I'm willing to walk into an anti-Trump march and start chanting anti-Clinton stuff—to make something happen, and then cover what happens." Will Sommer, an editor at The Hill, said in 2017 that Posobiec "make[s] stuff up, relentlessly", and that "there's no one at that level."
On June 16, 2017, Posobiec disrupted a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar that depicted the title character as a President Trump-like figure. Posobiec was prompted by Mike Cernovich, another alt-right conspiracy theorist, who had offered a $1,000 prize for anyone who interrupted a performance. "You are all Goebbels, you are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels", he shouted at the audience in a video he posted on Twitter. Posobiec was escorted from the event along with another protester Laura Loomer, who was arrested for disorderly conduct after refusing to leave the stage.
Posobiec has supported other conservative political figures with similar tactics. He promoted e-mails and files leaked to 4chan of Emmanuel Macron shortly before the French presidential election in 2017. Posobiec celebrated the leak at a party hosted by Milo Yiannopoulos. In October 2017, Posobiec and Cernovich formed a super PAC called #Rev18 and announced its support for Josh Mandel in the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Ohio. In July 2017, Posobiec handed out flyers thanking Democratic senators for "protecting our quality violent porn content", including "ritual Satanic porn videos". The flyers were distributed outside the U.S. Senate at a demonstration in support of net neutrality.
Posobiec organized a "Rally Against Political Violence" in Washington, D.C. on June 25, 2017 to condemn the shooting of Scalise. Richard Spencer, another alt-right figure who organized a separate, competing rally at the same time, ridiculed Posobiec's event and called it "pathetic". In November 2017, Posobiec encouraged his Twitter followers to target a woman at her workplace after she came forward with allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore had attempted to have sex with her when she was 14 years old. In Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district special election in March 2018, Posobiec supported Democrat Conor Lamb over Republican Rick Saccone. Posobiec described Lamb as a "Pro-Trump Dem veteran".
Posobiec's social media and political activities are linked to white supremacist movements. He has published multiple posts containing the white supremacist code "1488", or the Fourteen Words, and supports the use of the slogan. In October 2016, Posobiec posted a tweet that included triple parentheses, an antisemitic symbol. In response to a 2017 Anti-Defamation League report on the alt-right, which included Posobiec, he tweeted a selfie of his visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial in Poland: "The @ADL_National would be wise to remember what happened the last time people made lists of undesirables".
In August 2017, following a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to violent clashes between white nationalists and anti-protesters, Posobiec said that the rally had become "massive propaganda" for the left and that the mainstream media was "fanning the flames of this violence." He said that Trump should have disavowed Black Lives Matter. Posobiec later tweeted that he had consistently disavowed white nationalism and violence. He also tweeted that he was "done with trolling" and that it was "time to do the right thing." Posobiec has frequently tweeted about the racist and discredited white genocide conspiracy theory.
In June 2020, in Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Park, Posobiec was shoved and chased for several minutes by a dozen protesters at the Emancipation Memorial, which depicts an African American man kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln. The protesters called Posobiec, who was filming speakers, a Nazi and forced him from the park. Police arrived in a van and, after trying to quell the fracas, helped Posobiec into the van before driving away. Posobiec tweeted later that he was "totally fine" but "filing an assault report with DC police".
Posobiec was employed from early April 2017 to May 2017 by Rebel News, a far-right Canada-based website, as its Washington bureau chief. and was granted press access to the White House in April 2017. According to Philadelphia magazine, during his short time in the White House press pool Posobiec "seems to have been charged in the press briefing room with haranguing legitimate journalists and running out the clock on press conferences with inane softball questions and Dear Leader obsequiousness."
In May 2017, Posobiec hired neo-Nazi brothers Jeffrey and Edward Clark to help create a documentary about the murder of Seth Rich for Rebel News. Jeffrey Clark was arrested by the FBI on gun charges after saying that the Jewish victims of the October 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting "deserved exactly what happened to them and so much worse". Posobiec later said that he had never heard of Jeffrey Clark and had never made a documentary about Seth Rich, even though HuffPost published photographs of Posobiec and the Clarks working together. He left Rebel News after allegations were made that he had engaged in plagiarism.
As of 2018, Posobiec was working as a correspondent for One America News Network (OANN), a conservative cable news television channel. He has presented the pro-Hitler online poster, known as Microchip, on One America News Network in September 2018 without indicating that person's affiliations, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The website said the two men have worked together in spreading disinformation for several years including the false claims propagated in Pizzagate.
Conspiracy theories, falsehoods, and unsubstantiated claims
Posobiec has promoted many falsehoods, leading to Philadelphia calling him the "King of Fake News" in 2017. He was one of the most prominent promoters on social media of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which falsely claimed that high-ranking officials were involved in a child-sex ring centered at a Washington, D.C. pizzeria. He live-streamed an investigation of the pizzeria and was asked to leave after attempting to broadcast a child's birthday party being held in a back room. Posobiec later said he had always thought the Pizzagate theory was "stupid" and had filmed his visit to debunk it.
Posobiec attempted to discredit anti-Trump protesters in November 2016 by planting a sign at a protest reading "Rape Melania". Posobiec denied his involvement to BuzzFeed News, but the same phone number was used in his contact with the website and the text messages he reputedly sent. He said he had been questioned about it by the Secret Service. Posobiec organized the DeploraBall, an event held on January 19, 2017, to celebrate Trump's inauguration.
In December 2016, Posobiec claimed without evidence that Disney had re-written scenes in the Star Wars movie Rogue One to add "Anti Trump scenes calling him a racist", and called for a boycott of the Star Wars franchise. Disney denied the allegations.
Posobiec falsely said that former FBI director James Comey, at a United States Senate hearing on May 17, 2017, "said under oath that Trump did not ask him to halt any investigation". The claim was later repeated by conservative personalities and media outlets, including Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the InfoWars website. Posobiec promoted the discredited conspiracy theory that Seth Rich had leaked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks. Posobiec promoted a hoax that CNN had published and then deleted an article defending Bill Maher's use of a racial slur.
In June 2017, shortly after Republican congressman Steve Scalise was shot and injured during a baseball practice, along with four others, Posobiec falsely tweeted that it was a terrorist attack and blamed comments from liberal anti-Trump individuals. Later, he falsely tweeted that former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch had called for "blood in the streets" the previous March and that Bernie Sanders had ordered his followers to "take down" Trump.
In December 2017, Posobiec, along with Cernovich, The Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars, promoted a false theory that a passenger train derailment near Dupont, Washington, was linked to the Antifa anti-fascism movement.
In October 2019, after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a White House national security official and decorated Iraq war veteran, testified in Congress about President Trump requesting that the Ukrainian President investigate his political rival Joe Biden, Posobiec falsely claimed that Vindman had been advising the Ukrainian government on ways to prevent Trump from implementing his foreign policy goals.
In June 2020, during the protests against racism and police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Posobiec falsely claimed that there were pipe bombs planted at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and that "federal assets [were] in pursuit". There were no pipe bombs nor was there any evidence that any "federal assets" investigated. the claim was, however picked up by The Gateway Pundit and retweeted by over 29,000 pro-Trump users on Twitter
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