With ailing health and scant finances, Alex Linder couldn’t keep his racist forum alive.
After weeks of begging for money and fretting that without financial support he would be forced to shutter the Vanguard News Network (VNN) Forum, the time finally came to pay all debts two days ago. Then, in the dead of the night this week, Linder shut the forum down. Only a stilted message appeared on the homepage to welcome visitors.
“Management is closing VNNForum as promised if we did not meet the requested donations total, which is $2,500 a quarter,” the message read. “The Forum will reopen at unspecified date or as soon as funding target is hit.”
The disappearance was not without warning, though.
Throughout most of November, as the due date to pay the site’s bills neared, Linder was posting increasingly shrill requests for donations. As of Monday, Linder was $700 short of the $2,500 he needed to pay the website’s bill.
The shortage wasn’t for any lack of effort on Linder’s part, who runs his racist enterprises out of a small row apartment in a nearly vacant building in Kirksville, Mo. I visited Linder to speak with him about the state of VNN several weeks ago. He declined to comment, short of an angry rant afterward on his own forum.
“We have people fucking with our race. People showing up on my doorstep asking questions. Harassing my relatives. I don’t have anything to fight them with,” Linder wrote in early November. “You want to fight jews [sic]? I have the will and ability to do so, as proved over two decades. These fucks are making 150K a year to harass me. I need 10k to fight back. I am begging.”
Shutting down the VNN Forum had to have been humbling for Linder, who has been active on the racist right since the 1990s, when he moved to Missouri to fulfill his "true interest, writing satire to hasten White revolution." Later that decade he joined the now defunct National Alliance (NA) and dove headlong into a racist life.
In fact, while his health has suffered in recent years and he no longer makes public appearances, there was a time when his star shined bright.
In 2000, Linder created VNN with the lofty vision of building a conglomeration of media sites he hoped would become a “White Viacom”—“an integrated global media and services company getting out the White message and serving the White market in a thousand forms.” The site quickly became popular in neo-Nazi circles and turned out to be a home for remarkably vulgar content: vile anti-Semitism, untrammeled misogyny and swaggering self-importance.
Under the motto "No Jews. Just Right," Linder also built an archive of racist and anti-Semitic articles, links to his Aryan Alternative newspaper, podcasts from VNN Broadcasting, and a popular online message board, known as VNN Forum.
Like its older and larger counterpart Stormfront, the forum, which openly advocated for the extermination of Jews, proved to be an enticing space for both new anti-Semites eager to make a name, and the old, violent guard who had spent their lives training for a race war. Lifelong anti-Semite Frazier Glenn Miller, who sits in jail on murder charges after a shooting spree at Jewish sites last May in Kansas left three people dead, was a frequent poster to the forum under the name Rounder.
In fact, after the attack, senior VNN members applauded the killings.
“Thank God people are finally fighting back against these vicious demonic parasites,” wrote “H.B.,” a senior member on VNN just days after the shootings. “The jews [sic] are so evil. It is shocking that most people still don’t have a clue despite the fact that the Internet has given total transparency to their incredible and innumerable crimes.”
Even Linder, after being silent for days after the shootings, couldn’t resist saying something.
“I’m afraid jews [sic] must take responsibility for Rounder’s completely logical and completely justified hatred of them, too, for they murdered tens of millions of our folk last century, and are now embarked on a global campaign to bring about white genocide,” Linder wrote. “When you do that, well, you have to expect a little blowback.”
Perhaps because of such commentary, VNN had seen considerably smaller audiences in recent years, as racists congregated elsewhere online. Numbers gathered by Alexa, which tracks website traffic, show that the forum's audience had plateaued in the last six months.
But then, it was never a surprise that VNN lived in the shadow of Stormfront, the largest racist portal on the Internet, and its founder, Don Black.
Black, for his part, has certainly taken pleasure in seeing VNN's demise.
“Has Linder accomplished anything positive for our people?" Black wrote in a post earlier this week recounting Linder’s many gaffs, including questions regarding Miller’s association with VNN. "On the surface, he just reinforces the stereotype, providing particularly nasty quotes for our enemies to cherry pick."
Ironically, these apparent final days of VNN seem lost on Linder. Even as he failed to raise enough money, he proclaimed, “I believe VNN has made a difference so far, and will continue to do that in the future. I see more and more stuff taking a VNNlike [sic] line, and that is very heartening. It shows that we are right, and if we just keep going, we are ginning up more and more people…Things are going our way.”
Sadly for Linder, his delusions got the better of him.
And while it remains to be seen what will become of the forum, Linder has promised to bring it back if he can pay his bills. Not that he has to. He has continued to publish on other sites, including alexlinder.com, with the same fury and unabashed hate.
One of his most recent headlines? “Every Nigger a Rapist.”