YouTube removed one of the most prominent video news outlets for white nationalists, Red Ice, from its platform.
Red Ice quickly booted up a backup YouTube channel, posting a video announcing it had been taken down. “We’ve lost the YouTube channel today,” Henrik Palmgren, the white nationalist who founded Red Ice in 2003, said Thursday on the backup account.
Red Ice losing its main channel on YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing service, will sting the hate site and the larger movement it serves. Red Ice lost countless videos promoting racist views and some 335,000 reported subscribers, while the hate movement lost the main platform supportive of its views. By Monday, the backup YouTube channel had already amassed more than 20,000 subscribers.
Yet the YouTube removal highlights the disjointed efforts of mainstream social media companies to combat hate speech that violates their terms of service. Red Ice channels on Twitter and Facebook remained active as of Monday, while channels on lesser platforms such as BitChute also were available.
Hatewatch reached out, via email, to Red Ice and YouTube for comment. Neither had responded by publication time.
Palmgren, along with his wife, Lana Lokteff, transformed what the Southern Poverty Law Center once described as an outlet concerned with “paranormal and conspiracy theories” into “a white nationalist propaganda outfit, exploring white nationalism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and promoting the myth of white genocide.”
Since 2003, Palmgren has expanded Red Ice media properties to include:
- “Red Ice Radio,” Palmgren’s talk-radio show that predominantly focuses on “pro-European issues”;
- “Radio 3Fourteen,” a talk-radio program hosted by Lokteff;
- Red Ice TV, a partially membership-driven web video channel that, in addition to its roster of programs, has covered a number of events associated with the "alt-right."
All three have been crucial platforms for white nationalist organizers to spread their message to a wider audience. Red Ice, for instance, played a major role in bringing Richard Spencer and his National Policy Institute to a global audience of white supremacists. It covered the institute's conference where The Atlantic captured video of participants throwing Nazi salutes as Spencer gave a victory speech in November 2016 in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. And days later the network provided Spencer a platform to respond to what it called the “hysterical worldwide coverage” of the event.
The network’s worth to the movement grew via a partnership with Spencer in 2017 when Palmgren became media director for the short-lived AltRight Corp., a joint venture between Altright.com, the Hungary-based white nationalist publisher Arktos Media and Red Ice.
Red Ice has proven to be a prominent platform for individuals within the movement as well. White nationalists Spencer and Michael “Enoch” Peinovich and neo-Nazi white supremacists Andrew “weev” Auernheimer and Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer have appeared on Red Ice shows. Red Ice was “often noted for its role in helping to introduce viewers to new alt-right figures and ideas,” according to a 2018 SPLC report.
The white nationalist media organization contributed alt-right commentary on the 2016 Democratic and Republican conventions and the presidential debates. It also provided coverage concerning the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, giving white nationalists a platform to blame both the police and the left for any wrongdoing. Heather Heyer was killed after neo-Nazi James Alex Fields drove his car into a crowd of protesters.
Red Ice has a history of embracing white supremacist rhetoric and talking points. In the aftermath of the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shootings, Palmgren brought on a pseudonymous “political commentator,” “Write Wringer,” to defend the white supremacist myth of the “great replacement” theory. The shootings at two mosques left 51 people dead.
Others, such as Patrick Casey, an occasional Red Ice host who has been banned from social media sites for his role as a white nationalist leader, have used the network’s platform to push the notion that their ideology of identitarianism – the movement for a separate European culture and territory – isn’t white nationalism. Casey is also the head of the American Identity Movement, a membership-based white nationalist group formerly known as Identity Evropa before its rebranding in 2019.
Lokteff has also been instrumental in Red Ice’s pivot to a full-throated defense of white supremacy. In a video titled “They Want You Dead White Man!” Lokteff informs the viewer, “you know who 'they' is.” (White nationalists and other antisemites often use “they” in a leading sense to imply a global Jewish conspiracy.) Elsewhere, she has condemned mixed-race relationships as “genocide.” As she noted in 2018 with regard to “the promotion of interracial relationships, mixed race babies [and] open borders,” “[w]hen you get down to it, this dirty propaganda is trying to destroy, in whole or in part, a group of people and trying to prevent births within that group. Well, that, folks, constitutes … genocide.”
Lokteff criticized YouTube's move, calling her site's removal “a full-on, cover-up job.”
“Obviously they’re threatened. Otherwise they wouldn’t do it. Obviously it’s effective,” she said. "Obviously we were reaching people. Obviously we were growing rapidly before they did all their tricks on the back end.”
Photo illustration by SPLC