Joey Gibson (political activist)

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Joey Gibson
Joey Gibson.jpg
Gibson in 2017 at a Patriot Prayer event
Personal details
Born (1983-11-08) November 8, 1983 (age 37)[1]
Camas, Washington
Political partyRepublican
Alma materCentral Washington University
Known forFounder of Patriot Prayer

Joseph Owan Gibson (born November 8, 1983)[1] is an American right-wing activist[2] and the founder of the far-right group Patriot Prayer which has organized protests in Portland, Oregon, and other cities.[3]


In 2016, Gibson founded the far-right[4][5][6][7] group Patriot Prayer.[8][9]

On February 25, 2018, Gibson announced that he would be running as a Republican in the 2018 United States Senate election in Washington, seeking to unseat incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell.[10] Gibson was defeated in the primary election, receiving only 2.3% of the votes cast.[11][12]

During a March 2018, campaign rally in Spokane Valley, Washington, Gibson expressed opposition to antifa, a group that frequently protests at his events, stating regarding white nationalists that "I would say the same thing to them that I would say to any black nationalist or Mexican nationalists [sic] group, we have to drop the identity of politics and focus on what is on the inside."[13] He has said freedom of speech is a central element to his platform. Gibson's views have been described as "a complicated muddle" by the Inlander and "basically Alex Jones meets Bernie Sanders" by The Stranger.[14][15] The Proud Boys, another far-right group,[16] have also been present at several of Gibson's events.[17][18]

In February 2019, Willamette Week reported that a Portland police lieutenant kept in close touch with Gibson, passing on to him intelligence about the anti-fascist movement in the city. He also advised Gibson on how a Patriot Prayer member could avoid being arrested.[19] Portland's Independent Police Review investigated and cleared the officer because he was gathering information on the groups and trying to defuse potential clashes with his advice.[20]

May Day riot[edit]

Gibson was one of six men accused of inciting a riot between Patriot Prayer and antifa on May Day 2019 in Northeast Portland outside of the bar Cider Riot.[21] He was indicted for felony riot by the Multnomah County District Attorney on August 15, 2019.[22] Gibson pleaded not guilty to the charge.[21]

The Oregonian reported "a Portland police detective said Gibson could be seen in a video "taunting" and threatening members of antifa and later "physically pushing" a woman before she was hit with a baton and knocked unconscious by someone else."[21] During the brawl, the woman had her vertebrae broken.[23][24][25] Cider Riot's owner sued Gibson and associates for $1 million for their actions.[26] A Navy veteran, who had infiltrated Patriot Prayer and took videos of the violence at their rallies, was expected to testify at Gibson's trial,[27] scheduled for October 26, 2020.[21]

On September 4, 2020 Facebook removed Gibson's page (along with the page for Patriot Prayer) as part of their "ongoing efforts to remove violent social militias from our platforms".[28][29] The company's action followed escalating tensions related to protests in Portland, Oregon,[30] as the city continued to experience demonstrations related to the May 2020 killing of George Floyd.

On September 11, 2020, Gibson filed a federal lawsuit against Multnomah county's district attorney, alleging selective prosecution based on political beliefs.[21]

Political positions[edit]

Gibson describes himself politically as a "moderate libertarian",[31][32] but his organization has been described in the media as "alt-right".[33][34] Gibson denies that his group is alt-right, and has disavowed white supremacists[35][36][37][38] who frequently appear at his events.[39] The Anti-Defamation League describes his views as appearing to be alt-lite.[40]

Gibson supports a pathway to citizenship for non-criminal illegal immigrants. He supports decriminalization of marijuana, and same-sex marriage.[41] Gibson advocates for establishment of term limits for the U.S. Congress, implementation of a national sales tax, and abolition of the Internal Revenue Service.[14] He opposes what he describes as undue influence of the pharmaceutical industry on healthcare in the United States.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Gibson resides in Vancouver, Washington.[42] He was born in Clark County, Washington, and is of Irish and Japanese descent.[43][9] He grew up in Camas, Washington.[44]


  1. ^ a b Zielinski, Alex (September 6, 2019). "Watch: Video Footage of Patriot Prayer Allegedly Instigating May Day Riot, According to Police Affidavit". Portland Mercury. affidavit cited within article.
  2. ^ "What to know about Patriot Prayer as Trump supporters take stand in Portland". Reuters. September 2, 2020. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  3. ^ Shepherd, Katie (July 2, 2017). "Joey Gibson aims to 'liberate conservatives' via his Patriot Prayer group". The Columbian.
  4. ^ 'Disturbing' texts between Oregon police and far-right group prompt investigation. NBC News, February 25, 2019
  5. ^ Scuffles break out during far-right march in Berkeley; at least 3 arrested. Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2018
  6. ^ "Patriot Prayer Is Recruiting Out-Of-Town Far-Right Activists—and Alex Jones—to Protest In Portland On August 4". Willamette Week. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  7. ^ Wilson, Jason (June 3, 2018). "How a gun-carrying, far-right activist plots a run at the US Senate". The Guardian. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  8. ^ May, Patrick (August 23, 2017). "Who's behind this weekend's right-wing rally at Crissy Field?". Mercury News. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "San Francisco shuts down 'Patriot Prayer' rally by walling off city park". Fox News. Associated Press. August 26, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  10. ^ "Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson plans U.S. Senate run in Washington". The Oregonian. February 26, 2018.
  11. ^ "Washington Primary Election Results". Washington Post. August 24, 2018.
  12. ^ Camden, Jim (August 8, 2018). "Cantwell tops U.S. Senate field, faces Hutchison in November". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  13. ^ Hammer, Hawk (March 26, 2018). "US senate candidate Joey Gibson holds rally in Spokane amid counter protests". KXLY-TV. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Herzog, Katie (February 26, 2018). "Patriot Prayer's Joey Gibson is Running for Senate". The Stranger. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  15. ^ Walters, Daniel (March 23, 2018). "US Senate candidate Joey Gibson, magnet for the violent alt-right, is holding a rally in Spokane Valley on Sunday". The Inlander. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  16. ^ "Proud Boys". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  17. ^ Craig, Tim; Mekhennet, Souad. "Portland killing renews focus on tactics of far-right group Patriot Prayer" – via
  18. ^ Graham, Natalie; Hsieh, Steven. "Police Made Five Arrests and Deployed Pepper Spray at the UW Patriot Prayer Rally". SLOG. The Stranger. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  19. ^ Weill, Kelly (February 15, 2019) "Antifa: Portland Police 'Protect White Supremacy' by Passing Intel to Patriot Prayer" The Daily Beast
  20. ^ Bernstein, Maxine (September 12, 2019). "Cop cleared in controversy over his friendly texts with Patriot Prayer's Joey Gibson before, during protests". The Oregonian. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  21. ^ a b c d e Bernstein, Maxine (September 12, 2020). "Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson sues Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt in federal court". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  22. ^ Powell, Meerah (August 15, 2019) "Criminal Rioting Charges Filed Against Joey Gibson Of Patriot Prayer" OPB
  23. ^ Weill, Kelly (August 16, 2019) "Portland's Feared Far-Right Rally Hit by Multiple Setbacks" The Daily Beast
  24. ^ Shepherd, Katie (August 15, 2019) "As Arrests Mount, At Least One Far-Right Paramilitary Group Has Bailed Out of the Aug. 17 Rally in Portland" Willamette Week
  25. ^ Shepherd, Katie (August 15, 2019) "Patriot Prayer Leader Joey Gibson Will Face Criminal Charges In May Day Riot, His Lawyer Says" Willamette Week
  26. ^ Jim Ryan, et al. "Joey Gibson faces felony charge in fight at NE Portland’s Cider Riot, preparing to turn self in", The Oregonian (August 15, 2019)
  27. ^ Zielinsky, Alex (August 26, 2019) "Undercover in Patriot Prayer: Insights From a Vancouver Democrat Who's Been Working Against the Far-Right Group from the Inside" Portland Mercury
  28. ^ Flanigan, Kaitlin (September 4, 2020). "Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson's Facebook pages removed". KOIN. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  29. ^ "Facebook removes pages of right-wing group Patriot Prayer after Portland unrest". Reuters. September 4, 2020. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  30. ^ Brynelson, Troy (September 4, 2020). "Facebook removes Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson". OPB. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  31. ^ "A Beating in Berkeley". The Weekly Standard. September 11, 2017.
  32. ^ "Report: Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson to run for Senate". KGW. February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  33. ^ "Leader of Patriot Prayer promises rally, march Tuesday in Berkeley". The San Jose Mercury-News. September 25, 2017.
  34. ^ "Alt-right Rally: San Francisco Dog Owners to Cover Site with Dog Poop in Counterprotest". Newsweek. August 25, 2017.
  35. ^ Vercammen, Paul (June 5, 2017). "14 arrested as the many extremes of Portland collide in protest". CNN. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  36. ^ a b Matarrese, Andy (February 25, 2018). "Patriot Prayer leader Gibson announces Senate run against Cantwell". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  37. ^ "Photos show OSU student govt. rep making Nazi salute, waving swastika flag". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  38. ^ "Patriot Prayer whips up anger in Seattle, but not much of a crowd". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  39. ^ ""Patriot" Rally Trolls Portland's Left for Violence, But Only Smatterings Occur". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  40. ^ Westervelt, Eric (August 25, 2017). "Bay Area Braces For Protests: 'Charlottesville Has Raised The Stakes'". Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  41. ^ Kavanaugh, Shane Dixon (February 25, 2018). "Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson plans U.S. Senate run in Washington". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  42. ^ Riski, Tess (May 15, 2020). "Salem Salon Owner Who Defied Stay-Home Order Hit With $14,000 Fine". Willamette Week. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  43. ^ Fowler, Lilly (August 25, 2017). "Patriot Prayer leader dislikes racists, but they seem to hear a whistle". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  44. ^ Olmos, Sergio (January 30, 2020). "Patriot Prayer – the new face of 'nativist bigotry'". The Columbian. Retrieved October 11, 2020.