It’s been argued that Ricky Vaughn, a Twitter troll, white nationalist and anti-Semite, did more to get Donald Trump elected than any entity on social media. And maybe beyond that.
Named for the Charlie Sheen character in ‘Major League,’ Ricky Vaughn was among the top influencers promoting the alt-right in the lead up to the the 2016 election. An
MIT study conducted during the 2016 presidential election primaries found that his Twitter was more significant and persuasive than NBC News, the Democratic Party, even Stephen Colbert.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said Vaughn was “one of the first alt-right users to fully seize the potential in strategic, mainstream social media use. His rapid ascension as an influencer earned him instant celebrity on the far right.”
But on Monday, his true identity was revealed, perhaps inadvertently, but some say he was purposely doxed.
We now know ‘Ricky Vaughn’ is actually a 28-year-old Manhattanite, and an Upper East Side denizen at that, with a degree in economics born, raised and schooled in Vermont with a tax lobbyist father. His name is Douglass Mackey.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Twitter Banned Vaughn in 2016 But Soon Landed on a New Site for the Alt-Right
Vaughn was banned from Twitter in October of 2016, a month before the election. But the SPLC reported that ‘Ricky Vaughn’ simply took his rhetoric to Andrew Torba’s ‘Gab,’ a “Twitter alternative tailor-made for the racists rejected by the mainstream platform, where he quickly became a prominent presence with double the ‘Gab score’ of neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin and other alt-right personalities.”
Still, another account on Twitter of ‘Ricky Vaughn’ appeared, now as Ricky Vaughan 2.0 or @rapinbill with a description that reads, “It’s okay to be white. Obama’s FBI lied to FISA courts about the veracity of the Dossier Hillary paid for in order to wiretap Trump—they still lost Big League!” Twitter compatriots have said this account is a ‘fan’ account and not ‘Ricky Vaughn.’
The cover photo for the account is of Pres. Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump from the January 2017 inauguration of the 45th president.
2.Vaughn Was Doxed by Perennial Republican House Candidate & White Supremacist Nehlen
White nationalist Republican candidate Paul Nehlen running against House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin outed Vaughn amidst alt-right infighting, the Huffington Post reported.
Nehlen was reportedly not thrilled with growing disapproval from within the alt-right ranks. Apparently, “two main camps have emerged” as a result of factional discord, litigation, and widespread white supremacist opposition: “The real-world extremists who want to continue holding rallies and mixing it up in the streets, and the ‘optics cucks’ who think the best approach to the mainstream is to keep pushing alt-right ideas through better propaganda. Ricky Vaughn is in the latter camp. And he hasn’t been shy about it.”
“I’m dividing the movement between effective people and dumb losers,” ‘Vaughn’ wrote on Gab, a social media platform infested with white supremacists.
Meanwhile, Nehlen, blurted out that Ricky Vaughn is a guy named Douglass Mackey who graduated from Middlebury College and lives in New York City.
Someone named Doug Mackey who is likely the not Dougalss Mackey jumped in.
3. The Doxing of Vaughn Came as a Schism in the Alt-Right Movement Widens
The SPLC says the alt-right’s best kept secret, Vaughan’s identity, was revealed because of alt-right infighting. Nehlen outed Vaughan on Gab.ai because of clash between one white supremacist Christopher Cantwell, and another, Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, the latter, the SPLC says is a neo-Nazi troll.
But it reports that Auernheimer charged that Cantwell was a federal snitch and Auernheimer clapped back with an allegation Auernheimer has been in cahoots with Vaughn (Mackey) to carve up the neo-Nazi’s into two movements; those that want to take their fight to to street and so-called “main-streamers,” which the SPLC says is manifested in Vaughan.
Auernheimer wrote, the SPLC reported, that he and Vaughn had decided “that hard divisions must be made sooner rather than later between viable actors and nonviable actors. Anyone that was not capable of seeing what these people were and joining in the denouncement was, in our thinking, a non-viable actor and poisonous to the future of the movement.”
Of note is that Auernheimer is of Jewish descent, his mother said. Auernheimer runs the Daily Stormer which lost it’s dot-com status after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
And neo-Nazi Richard Spencer tweeted, https://twitter.com/RichardBSpencer/status/981030795631472640
4. When Doxing is Used As a ‘Tactic Against Fellow Travelers’
It’s been reported that the alt-right is fractured after “several publicity and legal scandals” of late, including the phony military credentials of an Identity Evropa leader, which the Anti-Defamation Leagues says holds that “America was founded by white people for white people and was not intended to be a multiracial or multicultural society.”
And with the recent disintegration of the alt-right Traditionalist Worker Part after its leader Matt Heimbach was busted for “battery, domestic battery in the presence of a child, strangulation and intimidation during an affair with his benefactor and father-in-law’s wife.”
Meanwhile the problem with doxing as a “tactic against fellow travelers” is fairly black and white.
“Some heralded Nehlen’s actions as a positive move due to Vaughn’s habit of criticizing others in the movement while others thought it was a mistake. It led many Gab users to question whether doxing is something that should be allowed on the platform,” the SPLC reported.
Meanwhile white supremacist and Gab architect Andrew Torba said he’s not a fan of doxing but his site doesn’t prohibit it. He said anonymous users need to own their actions. Plus, he said, “Such is the reality of the internet.”
5. Mackey’s Social Media Appears to Have Been Scrubbed & Little is Known About Him
What is known about Mackey comes from a handful of reports including the Huffington Post. Mackey was born and raised in Waterbury, Vermont. He graduated from Harwood Union High School, and graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in economics. While attending the private liberal arts college founded in 1800 by Congregationalists, Mackey ran track.
The Huffington Post reported, Mackey moved to Brooklyn and got a job in 2012 working as an economist for John Dunham & Associates, an “economic research firm with 25 years of experience and specializing in tax and regulatory economics.” Mackey was fired in July 2016.
Markey lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, or has since at least the 2016 election, where he was registered to vote.
This article has been updated to reflect that the @rapinbill account described as being that of ‘Ricky Vaughn,’ aka Douglass Mackey, is a ‘fan’ account per Twitter ‘Ricky Vaughn’ aficionados.