Laurel Duggan, DCNF
- Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron said his beliefs were inspired by websites Reddit and 4chan, which he began using during COVID-19, and listed his favorite subreddits in his personal diary.
- Media outlets blamed Tucker Carlson and Republicans for inspiring the shooter, but he condemned Republicans in his diary, never mentioned Carlson and expressed that he was politically left-leaning.
- “I almost spent a year planning this attack … Oh how time flies, if I could go back maybe I’d tell myself to get the fuck off 4chan,” he wrote in one diary entry.
The 18-year-old who was charged in the Saturday shooting deaths of ten people in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket revealed in his diary that his radical beliefs originally developed in communities on 4chan and Reddit.
Before the shooting, which occurred in a predominately black neighborhood, Payton Gendron published a 106-page manifesto online describing himself as a “white supremacist” and “anti-semite.” Gendron said explicitly in his diary that he developed his beliefs from 4chan and Reddit after the start of the pandemic.
“My current beliefs started when I first started to use 4chan a few months after covid started. Many of which I got from 4chan’s /pol/ page and links found in /nsg/ and threads like that,” he wrote in a diary entry labeled Jan. 30, referring to 4chan discussion forums.
UPDATE: 10 Dead, 3 Wounded In Buffalo Supermarket Mass Shooting https://t.co/LGNXbYbzU6
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 16, 2022
Gendron also credited Reddit with forming his beliefs and listed several Reddit forums in which he frequently posted.
“Of course, many of my beliefs come from reddit too. Many subreddits I joined have been banned but they show up on r/AgainstHateSubreddits all the time,” he wrote Jan. 30. “One’s that are still around include r/greentext, r/4chan, r/PoliticalCompassMemes, r/SocialJusticeInAction, r/LoveForLandlords, and r/AntiHateCommunites, of which I am actually in their discord.”
Numerous media organizations attempted to link Gendron with the Republican Party and prominent conservatives like Tucker Carlson while largely neglecting the shooter’s own words, in which he blamed online forums including Reddit and 4chan while condemning the Republican Party.
NBC News’ Ben Collins said Carlson is someone “directly trying to preach” to extremists like the Buffalo shooter, while a Rolling Stone commentary piece said the shooter was a “mainstream Republican,” and a Washington Post piece linked his ideology to Carlson and two other Republicans. A New York Times article also blamed Carlson for promoting “replacement theory,” the idea that elites are replacing white Americans with immigrants to gain political power, which was referenced by Gendron in his diary.
I think people were being melodramatic when we kept yelling there's a disinformation epidemic.
No, there's just a very active, very deadly disinformation epidemic. https://t.co/HzSRhE9Dkm
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) November 23, 2020
Some of these commentators speak frequently about online disinformation and the importance of stopping the spread of conspiracy theories. Collins writes about misinformation and extremism for NBC News and frequently expresses concern about the potential real-life consequences of online misinformation, tending to apply the “disinformation” and “conspiracy” labels to groups and arguments on the right side of the aisle.
Whether or not anyone helped the Buffalo shooter plan his white supremacist act of terrorism, he is not a lone actor — he is on a team that has owners, coaches, an infrastructure.
Tucker Carlson is part of it.
Trump is part of it.
People in Congress are part of it.
— Rashad Robinson (@rashadrobinson) May 15, 2022
“It makes no sense how democrats and republicans see themselves so differently from each other yet they have 95% of the same views,” Gendron wrote Feb. 19. “Ascend into eco fascism my brothers.”
“Same things applies with democrats vs republicans. Both are controlled by Jews,” he wrote March 7.
Gendron shared what appear to be the results of a quiz which showed his political views to be far-left and slightly authoritarian.
“I don’t think this is that inaccurate to my political beliefs. I tend to have quite a mix between conservative and progressive values though,” he wrote.
“I tend to be progressive when it comes to development of science but conservative when it comes to culture,” he wrote in another post.
Gendron said he had used a Reddit page about mass killers to plan out his attack in a March 31 post.
“Look at what people did before tou, [sic] I’m trying to find info on other mass shooters and see what they did and what to improve on. r/masskillers is very helpful,” he wrote. “Imagine if I went in on March 15 not knowing my gun wasn’t properly lubed and I had a failure to feed on every shot I took, that would be quite embarrassing.”
At one point Gendron speculated that he could have gotten off 4chan and had a normal life.
“I almost spent a year planning this attack,” he wrote April 26. “Oh how time flies, if I could go back maybe I’d tell myself to get the fuck off 4chan and worldtruthvideos and get an actual life. Too late for that now.”
A moderator for r/SocialJusticeJusticeInAction told The Daily Caller News Foundation he was unaware of the subreddit being mentioned in the shooter’s diary prior to the inquiry and said the subreddit does not tolerate racism or bigotry.
A moderator for r/AntiHateCommunites told TheDCNF he had no idea why the subreddit was mentioned by the shooter, and said there were no posts in it.
“The subreddit in question has never been used, there’s not a single post there and it was made as a joke when someone misremembered r/AgainstHateSubreddits as r/AntiHateCommunites, note the spelling ‘Communites’ and not ‘Communities’. I honestly have no clue why it was in the manifesto,” he said.
Reddit, 4chan and the moderators of the subreddits r/AgainstHateSubreddits, r/greentext, r/4chan, r/PoliticalCompassMemes, r/LoveForLandlords and r/masskillers did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comment.
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