Conspiracy theorists, anti-Muslim activists and pick up artists; the international figures in the US for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
CPAC, founded and hosted by the American Conservative Union, is the largest gathering of conservatives in the US, and will be a familiar fixture to anyone who follows right-wing American politics. The event is attended by major figures in the Republican party and across the international radical right, with key speakers this year including US President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and former UKIP leader and media personality Nigel Farage. The conference has, however, also attracted far-right figures.
One notable Brit flying over for the conference is YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large of the notorious conspiracy theory site InfoWars (despite having previously encouraged followers to boycott the conference, which he labelled a “bunch of stuffy c**ts”, in 2017). Watson has made a career of promoting numerous conspiracy theories, including around the US government’s supposed involvement in 9/11. Media Matters have reported Watson’s claims that liberals are anti-science for not accepting that African and Middle Eastern people are more aggressive because they have lower IQs.
Watson is a close associate of Farage’s personal aide Dan Jukes, photographed on Wednesday alongside Watson and Jack Posobiec, an American fake news pusher, who promoted the bunk “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was involved in a paedophile ring. Also in shot was Andrew Tate, a kickboxer-turned-wannabe lifestyle guru known for being ejected from the reality TV show Big Brother after a video surfaced of him hitting a woman with a belt (Tate has claimed the act was consensual, and that he was ejected because producers were “afraid of [his] MASTERPLAN”). Tate was also slammed in the press for tweeting that “if you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must bare [sic] some responsibility” in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations.
Jukes and Watson were also photographed alongside the Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich and Raheem Kassam, who left his role as editor of Breitbart London to perform sidekick duties for former White House advisor Steve Bannon last year.
Also in attendance was Tobias Andersson, chairman of the youth group of the Sweden Democrats, the far-right Swedish party with extreme roots. Andersson addressed the UKIP youth conference in 2016, in which he made strongly xenophobic remarks.
The Daily Beast has reported that the conference has been dominated by Turning Point USA (TPUSA), the American right-wing student organisation, which has recently launched in the UK. Jared Holt of Right Wing Watch has tweeted from the group’s after party, which reportedly featured a speech from Donald Trump Jr, a Kanye soundtrack, a mechanical bull, and the following drinks list.
White nationalist Nick Fuentes has also been snapped sheepishly “hanging out” outside of CPAC, being barred from attending the actual conference itself.