Video Games

Fortnite Probably Won't Make Your Child a Neo-Nazi

But that's the story major news sites used.

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|||Dan Grytsku/Dreamstime.com
Dan Grytsku/Dreamstime.com

A post on Reddit has boycott mobs grabbing their pitchforks and getting ready to storm the gaming servers. In July, reformed white supremacist Christian Picciolini conducted an online interview on r/IAmA, a popular interview forum on Reddit. There, Picciolini responded to a user's question about recruitment by saying that organized bigots used "nefarious tactics" like going to mental health forums and using multiplayer games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Call of Duty to spam their message of racial superiority. While the existence of racist messages in multiplayer games is not a new concept, it's likely that the media reaction to Picciolini's interview helped to blow a few things out of proportion.

Using Picciolini's answer, The Sun published a story with the headline, "GAMER DANGER: Reformed Neo-Nazi reveals how White Supremacists use FORTNITE to radicalise kids." The story was cross-posted on major news sites like the New York Post and Fox News, both using headlines about the alarming recruitment tactics supposedly targeting impressionable kids. Independent journalist Tim Pool, who formerly worked with Vice, broke down why that story might be alarmist in a video published over the weekend.

Pool notes that the original story lacks any fact-checking beyond a statement made by one person. Additionally, there are no quotes from any of the video game companies whose products are involved in the alleged "recruitment." "While it is interesting that someone who claims to be a former white supremacist made this claim," Pool argued, "that does not mean it is true."

Bonus links: Video games are often society's scapegoat for atrocious behaviors. Politicians like Hillary Clinton, former President Obama, and President Trump have all repeated the claim that video games are linked to violent behavior.

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  1. I remember when the big scapegoat was Dungeons and Dragons. That’s passe now, so the Scapegoat Squad has to modernize.

    1. I’ve played everything from D&D to Warcraft to Fortnite. I should be a radical black supremacist neo-Nazi by now.

      1. Or a devil worshiper.

        1. That’s too mainstream now.

    2. Don’t forget music. In HS my mom heard a report about Nazis using music to recruit kids and asked about my bumper stickers. She thought “Rage Against the Machine” sounded like a white supremacist group.

  2. Ironically, antifa DWARFS white nationalists in numbers.
    And are ALSO substantially more violent.

    But they like Democrats. So they’re cool.

    Note: Conservatives ostracize their loons. Progressives protect theirs.

    1. And are ALSO substantially more violent.

      I’m always befuddled when I hear the specter of David Duke invoked. I always pictured something out like American History X where he’s curb-stomping people because of the color of their skin. Turns out, his worst crime is effectively Antifa’s MO.

      I’m pretty sure John McCain targeted and killed more people of a singular race than David Duke ever has.

    2. As if you have accurate numbers on antifa members vs white nationalists

      1. Given that the largest and most publicized white nationalist gathering possible at this time drew about 25 people while the antifa chimps draw far more to every protest…it’s rather obvious.

        Try and keep up.

        1. Number of people at a protest is indicative of total membership. Got it. It’s hard to believe someone could be this fucking stupid but here we are

          1. You have to also factor in that the Neo-Nazis have been making a concerted effort to gather, and the media has been making a concerted effort to pay attention to them, to the point of identifying mixed-race people as “Nazi White Supremacists” if they are unable to scrounge up enough actual ones.

            On the other hand, the media keeps crossing its fingers hoping antifa won’t show up and do something stupid at every opportunity, and makes a point of not paying attention to them as much as they can.

            Yet, still antifa far outnumbers White Supremacists in the very media that is actively trying to ignore the former and pump up hysteria about the latter.

          2. I don’t disagree, Mr “White supremacists love Asian women”.

            Fucking idiot. Fuck, Hihn must be jealous that you’ve ousted him as the dumbest thing on this site not named Dalmia.

            1. Don’t blame me, blame the white supremacists that are dating and marrying Asians.

              1. blame the white supremacists that are dating and marrying Asians

                You typed that out, and hit “submit” without thinking anything amiss.

                You need to seriously take stock and rethink some things.

          3. You seem awfully defensive about it. Were you lonely at that “protest” because only 25 thugs showed up? Were you looking for some hawt neonazi babes to hook up with?

            When only twenty five people show up to a rally that was nationally advertised with every media outlet ever talking about it, then one can’t claim it to be a big scary movement.

            1. Log into any gaming service, twitch feed, or discord of your choice and try to not get called a nigger 10 billion times a second. This is where they are recruiting from so it’s completely fucking stupid to say it’s not a movement when they are literally telling you where the recruitment is happening. No one wants to lose their job by being photoed at a WN rally so it’s obvious to people with brains why no one showed up. Only an idiot can translate that into ‘well no one showed up so it must not be happening’

              1. Log into any gaming service, twitch feed, or discord of your choice and try to not get called a nigger 10 billion times a second.

                XBox Live and Steam. Never heard the once uttered at me. I rarely watch Twitch as that is some boring shit — not seen it there either.

                You’d think I could hardly AVOID it at that impressive 10 billion niggers a second stat.

                This is where they are recruiting from so it’s completely fucking stupid to say it’s not a movement when they are literally telling you where the recruitment is happening.

                “Random dude said something I agree with. ERGO, IT IS TRUTH!!”

                Did he provide even the tiniest bit of evidence, out of curiosity? I didn’t see it, but man, you’ve bought in HARD.

                No one wants to lose their job by being photoed at a WN rally so it’s obvious to people with brains why no one showed up.

                …yet being in antifa doesn’t have similar issues. Weird. It’s almost like antifa is bigger and all…nah, no chance of that.

                Only an idiot can translate that into ‘well no one showed up so it must not be happening’

                “White Nationalists are huge. Massive problem. Well, no they aren’t in public. And they seem to have no influence. But they sure pwn noobz in Fortnite!!”

  3. Maybe won’t turn them to Nazis, but brain dead zombies? For sure.

    1. Yeah, seems like if you wanted people to really connect, absorb your message, and adopt it as their personal cause video games are precisely the wrong medium to choose.

  4. Yes, everyone wants to be on the side of the guys who lost.

      1. Like a boomerang curry.
        Pretty much exactly like.

      2. That’s what I told her before I realized I was out of viagra…

      3. The South has risen again.

        Its been super boom economy time here for almost 6 years.

  5. I’m just glad they’re all locked up in their houses instead of out doing anything that might annoy me. Also, I’m glad my kids will have less competition for decent jobs.

  6. Fortnite Probably Won’t Make Your Child a Neo-Nazi

    Probably won’t. But there’s still a chance.

    1. ‘But there’s still a chance.’

      A better chance than more traditional methods of recruiting which fascist organizers haven’t even bothered to try. A mass torch-lit rally in the nation’s capital, for example.

  7. . . . reformed . . .

    Yeah, there’s the problem right there. Its really hard to trust what a ‘reformed’ dude says about the organization he left. Because he now hates it. The vast majority of ‘reformed’ people naturally move from ‘adherent’ straight past ‘reasonable opponent’ to ‘apostate’ without even slowing down.

      1. How is this a problem?

        The inability to distinguish between someone who thinks the white race might not be invariably superior and someone who thinks the white race should be wiped from the face of the Earth is a problem. Somewhat intrinsically. In any event ‘reformed’ fails to clarify.

        1. Who is unable to distinguish such beliefs and how is this a problem/

          1. If you don’t think it’s a problem, why do you keep asking.

            My refrigerator running isn’t your problem either, are you going to ask about it?

            1. I had a problem with my refrigerator just a couple of weeks ago, so I am familiar with this problem. I’m not familiar with anyone being unable to distinguish between a white supremacist and a white hater. I really can’t see what the problem is. The refrigerator repairpersons I consulted had no difficulty finding and resolving the problem.

              1. Holy fuck. Why any responds to you is beyond me.

      2. Because the apostates take the stance that anything that hurts their now enemies is fair game.

        So they make up shit. Like white supremacists are recruiting through Fortnite. Which just makes their new allies look ridiculous.

        1. Recruiting members through online gaming seems a good deal more likely to be successful than traditional methods. Don’t you agree, or perhaps you have a better method in mind?

  8. White supremacists have had extremely disappointing results in recruiting on the streets. Last month’s efforts in Washington and Portland were laughable. These online efforts may be more successful, as gamers seem ripe for the harvest, as they don’t have to go outside, or even be properly dressed in order to be reached.

  9. “I saw a swastika and became a neo-Nazi.” This is the radicalization narrative that Piccolini is pushing. The truth is that kids join these groups because they are rebellious, even if they use stupid excuses later. It’s the same as the addiction narrative: “I took a vicodin and I was hooked immediately.” But the fact is, most addicts started their careers by stealing drugs. Meaning, “I was prescribed opiates for a sports injury” is a LIE.

    In both cases it’s the belief that people are fundamentally irrational and the only solution is to ban or restrict the evil triggers (drugs, games, etc). But this only creates a vicious cycle that makes the problem worse. The truth is that people are rational, though we are also mischievous and always looking for excuses. This is not a conscious process, at least until someone comes along and points it out. (“Who told thee that thou wast naked?” as the Big Guy once queried.)

    1. ‘kids join these groups because they are rebellious’

      Not really. They join because young men in particular yearn for the feeling of belonging group membership gives them. They even volunteer to join rigid, conformist outfits like the military. It has nothing to do with addiction or a taste for alcohol or gambling.

      1. Because teens don’t listen to heavy metal or gangsta rap, or dress in ways that piss off ma and pa because they are rebellious?

        1. Sometimes ma and pa are rebellious. Sometimes it’s their children who are. It’s got nothing to do with their taste for drinking, gambling etc.

      2. I dunno. I wouldn’t be too surprised if half of online racist comments are from shithead kids doing it for the lulz. If your aim is to shock and annoy as many people as possible, racism is a good way to go.

        1. And, again, the brain is a difference engine. It recognizes patterns and categorizes accordingly. Relative to slavery there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with calling black people niggers.

          1. Try that in real life and let me know how it works out

      3. They even volunteer to join rigid, conformist outfits like the military.

        You have no idea what the military is like.

        1. Those volunteers have no idea either. Until it’s too late.

  10. Picciolini described Jordan Peterson as a neo-Nazi. We’re done here.

    1. Yeah, let’s not pretend he has anything of use or value to add to any discussion. He went from being a Nazi…to being, well, still a Nazi.

      1. He went from being a NATIONAL socialist to being a national SOCIALIST.

      2. The guy seems highly susceptible to Kool Aid, now he drank a different flavor and we’re all supposed to think he has some wise insight into the world. Fuck him.

        1. In other circumstances, he might be labelled as an extremely gullible type.

  11. Hell, I believe his claim on its face, because I’ve seen idiots spewing about it online, over decades.

    The stupid hysteria is about the idea that it’s significant or successful, rather than just white-noise spam that people either ignore and block or just mock and rail at.

    (Ref. mtrueman above, it’s not at all clear to me, as a Portlander, that the “Patriot Prayer” idiots are even really “white supremacists” rather than just people who love to troll the local ultra-Progressives.

    I don’t care for their general politics, but the message they keep getting reported as spreading doesn’t seem obviously “white supremacist”, at least not in the way the term is traditionally used at actual racists and bigots*.

    * Not the ultra-SJW version where “the whole system is white supremacy because shut up”.)

    1. The fact that the founder of Patriot Pride is half Japanese makes it seem unlikely that they are white supremacists. I don’t know much about them, but what I do know has given me no reason to think they are any kind of racists.

      1. Whites have over recent decades have been willing to confer honorary white status to groups like the Japanese, Koreans, and even the Chinese.

        1. Also, their opposition likes to group Jews, white supremacists, and Neo-Nazis under an alt-right umbrella despite the distinct “oil and water” aspect of that mixture.

        2. When did this happen? I missed that meeting.

          1. ‘When did this happen?’

            1970s. South Africa gave all sorts of concessions to people from the Republic of China, aka Taiwan, to attract their investment dollars.

            1. So, SOUTH AFRICA did it.

              See, I thought you said “whites”.

              Must have mis-read or was unaware that all whites, in fact, lived in S. Africa.

              1. “So, SOUTH AFRICA did it.”

                No, it was the apartheid south african government that did it. Taiwanese today in south africa are accorded no special privileges by the government. In fact, South Africa recognizes the People’s Republic of China, and has put relations with Taiiwawn on the back burner, diplomatically speaking.

                1. No, it was the apartheid south african government that did it.

                  Odd, because you said WHITES did it.

                  1. So you don’t know who was in charge during apartheid?

                    1. Whites don’t exist outside of South Africa?

                      I am shocked — SHOCKED, I tell you — to learn this.

                    2. ‘I am shocked — SHOCKED, I tell you — to learn this.’

                      Thanks for sharing.

              2. See, all whites are the same. And all must be judged by American standards.

                But other cultures are just as legitimate as ours or something.

            2. Also, you don’t know anything about Apartheid and its purpose and how it was used in South Africa.

              Its wasn’t ‘non-whites are icky’ it was ‘maintain control of non-whites for the benefit of the white minority’ Massive difference.

              1. ‘Its wasn’t ‘non-whites are icky’ it was ‘maintain control of non-whites for the benefit of the white minority’ Massive difference.’

                Not so different. Apartheid laws also applied to whites. Whites were forbidden from living in areas that were designated for blacks or mixed race peoples, for example. Apartheid was meant to legally separate the races.

                1. No. It was meant to maintain control for the benefit of the white minority. So whites were prohibited from cohabitating or close association *from the majority that they were trying to oppress to maintain power over*.

                  The Chinese, etc were not those guys. There was no need to ‘make special accomodations’ or ‘give a pass’ – white supremacy is not a blanket ‘non-whites are horrible’ thing (though there are strains of it that hold this to be true). At its core its about getting and maintaining power. If you view it through that lens then the things the supremacists do that seem counter to the ‘darkies are bad’ narrative don’t seem out of place.

                  1. ” It was meant to maintain control for the benefit of the white minority. ”

                    For the purity of the white minority, I think, is more accurate. Whether people benefit from membership in a pure racial classification is another matter.

        3. Look, what’s it gonna take for this white-supremacy-everywhere argument to stick?

        4. Whites have over recent decades have been willing to confer honorary white status to groups like the Japanese, Koreans, and even the Chinese.

          Who? Is there a central white people committee I don’t get invited to or something? Or do you just mean that at least two white people have done that (whatever “honorary white status” is supposed to be).

        1. Yup. White Supremacists disguising themselves as mixed-race people and dating inter-racially just goes to show how low they will go in their quest to foist their evil plans onto an unsuspecting public.

        2. dave, do you know what WHITE SUPREMACY is?

          Hint: They aren’t, you know, fond of “mixing the races” and all.

          Fucking hell.

          Kids, “White supremacist” doesn’t just mean “dude I don’t like”, much as the media wishes it were so.

          1. Only white people can be this oblivious. Whites spent 400 years “mixing the races” by raping enslaved people in the US, Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean. The Portuguese and Spanish raped so many entire populations into place they had to develop a caste system for the morenos, pardos, criollos and whatever other bullshit classifications they came up with to remind you that you aren’t white. White supremacists love mixing races, just let it be known that whites in the US happily sold off their biracial slave offspring without a second thought, so please don’t try to sell me on WN talking points about race mixing. Who you are willing to marry and who you are willing to rape are entirely different populations.

            1. You know what white nationalists don’t like.

              Interracial…anything.

              Kind of a big deal for them.

              But thanks for the wall of text showing you don’t know anything.

              Perhaps you’ll realize that “White nationalist” has a specific meaning that you are comically bad at grasping.

              1. I have literal proof. You have “I’m white and I say so”. Please shut the fuck up now since you’re allergic to facts.

                1. So, you believe that all these white guys dating Asian women are enslaving and raping them?

                  1. Way to miss the point, which is that don’t tell me that WN’s are against race mixing when the past 400 years across the entire planet prove the exact opposite. In this context then it’s shouldn’t be shocking that many are dating Asians. Especially since they were given the title of honorary Aryans

                    1. Who the fuck gave two shits about Aryans before Hitler?

                      And, rest assured, he didn’t think much of Koreans or Chinese.

                    2. Who the fuck gave two shits about Aryans before Hitler?

                      Actual Aryans from Iran and northern India?

                    3. Actual Aryans from Iran and northern India?

                      I polled ’em. 24.3% said they gave no shits.
                      28.9% said “Go fuck yourself”

                      The rest were silent as they’ve been dead for a while.

              2. OK, ok – there is more than one flavor of white supremacy. Yes, white nationalists hate race mixing. The most common (though not the most visible) strain of white supremacy is people wanting to set up power structures that maintain white supremacy over non-whites. These people are a lot more ‘liberal’ in what they consider acceptable for ‘girlfriends’. Hell, even the white nationalists aren’t all that picky about what they’ll bang as just a sexual partner – which is different from what they’d want as the mother of the children they’d admit in public to having.

                1. This has become like the worst chatroom ever.

                  1. Have you visited furry chatrooms?

                    1. Yes. I mean no.

    2. ‘(Ref. mtrueman above, it’s not at all clear to me, as a Portlander, that the “Patriot Prayer” idiots are even really “white supremacists” rather than just people who love to troll the local ultra-Progressives.’

      You don’t need to call them white supremacists. The point is that street level recruiting has been a miserable failure and online approaches make perfect sense as an alternative.

      1. This new “online” medium that’s forcing the recruiters off the “street”. Tell me about it.

        1. It was leftists who forced fascist organizing from the streets, and the fascists turned to the safer confines of the internet to do their thing. Eventually, they’ll be chased off the net, too, leftists being so leftist.

  12. As much as tend toward the opinion that the “press,” in the phrase “freedom of the press” can and should refer to anyone who wants to publish their words, and not necessarily be limited to “professional” journalists that have the requisite education or licenses, there is a lamentable death of journalism going on.

    What happened to reporters being trained to chase down different angles of a story? If one person makes an outrageous claim, where is the attempt to corroborate their statement, or give others (i.e. game producers and even ordinary gamers) a chance to respond?

    I think much of the old-time respect for reporters and the sanctity of news reports was overblown even back in the old days, but the pendulum has also swung too far to the words of any troll being taken as gospel.

    It’s not just this Piccolini person. There were recent stories about how the OK symbol is a white supremacist sign entirely based on some jokes made on the web, and there are also straw bans being enacted due to a 9-year-old’s school report citing a statistic that no one has been able to validate outside of the kid’s school project. What the hell happened to actually WORKING as a journalist?

    1. What happened to reporters being trained to chase down different angles of a story? If one person makes an outrageous claim, where is the attempt to corroborate their statement,

      It advances the narrative, it must be true, any refutation is bogus, so why bother looking for one.

      1. That’s fine, but then be prepared to lose any credibility you have as a journalist.

        It’s akin to a physician deciding he will prescribe healing crystals to every patient. Before long, the doctor won’t have many patients other than a handful of hippies.

        Sooner or later, most people figure out when they are being put on.

        1. Journalist credibility is beyond reproach.
          The problem is ignorant rubes are unwilling to take claims of their betters at face value

    2. What the hell happened to actually WORKING as a journalist?

      I see no reason to assume this is different than history.

      How much of the press covered up Stalin’s atrocities?
      Cronkite was a crank of the highest order and he is held up as a fucking paragon of journalism.

      We are just more willing to call them out.

      And, for me personally, Crichton’s Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia hypothesis was actually profound. If they fuck up things so badly in shit I know, why would I expect they would do better in shit I don’t?

      1. If they fuck up things so badly in shit I know, why would I expect they would do better in shit I don’t?

        ^ This.

        I heard this phrased somewhat differently recently as basically, “we’ve all had the experience of hearing journalists discuss what we actually do professionally, and almost invariably we immediately perceive that they have no idea what they’re talking about. Then they change topics and we hear them as experts again.”

    3. Twitter is the primary source now.

    4. Hey, I remember a documentary on PBS that sat idly by the claim that so many slaves were thrown in to the Atlantic that it permanently changed shark migration paths.

      These were high-falutin’ college educated types.

      Oh, Napoleon’s army shot off the nose of the Sphinx because white supremacy.

      How many other quietly supported crackpot theories can we stuff into the thread?

      1. I don’t think the idea of recruiting members in online gaming venues is so ridiculous. There is no need to go out and show one’s face in public, and it targets a demographic that is ripe for the harvest: the average, the isolated, the idle, the young.

        1. If you play online games, you’ll realize just how ridiculous it is.

          1. Recruit the ridiculous, while you’re at it. No need to confine yourself to recruiting the non-ridiculous.

    5. This isn’t new with Piccolini. This easily goes back to the 1980’s and the Satanist scares of that time. Any moron makes a claim supporting the narrative (the narrative *that sells advertising space*) is hyped all over the place. Because that sells. Guys claiming to be ‘reformed’ satanists and are now ‘devout’ Christians spouting all sorts of lies about cults that never existed, let alone that they were a part of are listened to and promoted because it helps sell an agenda.

      And that’s just stuff from my living memory – if it was happening as far back as the 1980’s then it was happening throughout history.

      1. I agree with what you said above. Always regard a “reformed” anything with suspicion.

        1. Hmmm, “reformed Libertarian Dave Weigel”…

        2. Reform? Reform? Aren’t things bad enough already?

          Duke of Marlborough

          1. There is no idea bad enough that we cannot make worse.

            — most reformers

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