Months before the “alt-right” became a household name, the nebulous band of white power activists seized upon their digital prowess to popularize a slur that would soon become a mainstay in the Republican infighting that defined the 2016 presidential election.
Frustrated by the GOP’s array of insufficiently racist presidential candidates, far-right wordsmiths from Breitbart News to the Daily Stormer branded their conservative enemies as “cuckservatives” – or “cucks.”
The proliferation of this portmanteau of “cuckold” and “conservative” ought to be remembered as no more than an early manifestation of the conservative infighting that would mark the run-up to President Trump’s election.
At the heart of the media blitz was one white nationalist blogger, Gregory Hood, whose popular manifesto lambasting cuckservatives was cited by Salon, The Guardian and New Republic – not to mention a wealth of white supremacist websites. “Hood’s porny polemic, with its talk about wives being mounted and begging from the corner,” wrote former New Republic staffer Jeet Heer, “is proof of how the term cuckservative is popular because it pushes psycho-sexual hot buttons.”
“Porny” or not, Hood’s diatribe provided – both to the alt-right broadly and to journalists – a thinking man’s summary of a viral phenomenon.
But who was “Gregory Hood”? Despite being occasionally conjured up as a representative of the alt-right in mainstream publications, the prolific white nationalist blogger’s identity has remained a secret for over a decade. Yet a trove of leaked emails from former Daily Caller and Breitbart staffer Katie McHugh exposes “Hood’s” identity as Kevin DeAnna – an early leader and ideological architect of the alt-right. McHugh and DeAnna dated from 2013 to 2016, and again briefly in 2017, during which they often corresponded about DeAnna’s pseudonymous written work by email and Google Chat. These emails also tie DeAnna to another pseudonym, “James Kirkpatrick” – a pen name he used at other alt-right and far-right sites that tended to be more focused on anti-immigrant rhetoric, including, among others, VDARE.
DeAnna and his editors throughout the years – among them, American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, WorldNetDaily’s Joseph Farah, the National Policy Institute’s Richard Spencer, and Counter-Currents’ Gregory Johnson – did not respond to Hatewatch’s repeated requests for comment via email.
“Hood” and “Kirkpatrick” were prolific in their output. “Hood” published a book and contributed to several others – all while penning nearly 450 articles for various white nationalist sites since 2008. As “Kirkpatrick,” DeAnna has published over 1,130 articles since 2011. In October 2019, he even released his first book. “Hood” sought to hone the anger of young, white men in service of the movement. “Kirkpatrick” spoke to the broader far right’s anxieties about immigration and multiculturalism in more hardcore language that white nationalists could appreciate.
DeAnna frequently turned to McHugh to proofread articles written under both bylines. On a number of occasions, he asked for her assistance in running VDARE’s Twitter account.
Most importantly, DeAnna and McHugh’s emails shed light on the role DeAnna played in helping to lead the budding movement. While operating safely behind pseudonyms, his contributions propelled white nationalism into the realm of cultural palatability. The flexibility his pseudonyms gave him allowed DeAnna to express his beliefs on white nationalism and the need for white ethnic hegemony to an extreme degree.
These emails and DeAnna’s use of two different pseudonyms to represent two particular ideological trends on the far right illuminate the intimate ties between the anti-immigrant far right and the hardline white nationalists – connections some supporters, including in the Trump administration, would prefer be ignored.
From the campus cultural wars to the blogosphere
DeAnna’s career as a pseudonymous blogger took off years before the alt-right became a household name.
On Feb. 17, 2012, DeAnna – the longtime white nationalist head and founder of the ultra-conservative Youth for Western Civilization – announced his intention to step down. A graduate student at American University’s School of International Service at the time, he noted his decision was motivated by “various personal (namely, I’m old) and professional reasons.” Neither DeAnna, nor YWC, were going to disappear, however. “I’ll still be working in the conservative movement . . . but I’ll be doing different things and won’t be associated with . . . YWC.”
DeAnna went on to abandon his perch at the Leadership Institute and become marketing coordinator at the far-right website WorldNetDaily. But his shift away from YWC also caused the once-prominent DeAnna to fade from the public eye.
His decision to abandon YWC and go dark gave him the space – and freedom – to shape the very movement he helped build. Over the course of a decade, DeAnna authored thousands of posts.
As “Hood” he penned at least 82 articles for Richard Spencer’s Radix Journal, 116 articles for Gregory Johnson’s website and publishing house Counter-Currents and close to 250 articles for Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance.
These three outlets served as ground zero for the formation of the alt-right’s more “intellectual” wing, bridging the thought of the chin-stroking racist paleoconservatives with that of more traditional white nationalism.
Meanwhile, as “Kirkpatrick,” DeAnna authored nearly 1,110 articles for the anti-immigrant, white nationalist site VDARE, alongside more mainstream ultra-conservative figureheads, such as Ann Coulter. In 2018, “Kirkpatrick” picked up a columnist gig with The Social Contract – a journal published by anti-immigrant stalwart John Tanton.
Building a revolutionary alternative right
More so than Paul Gottfried, a far-right thinker often credited with giving rise to the term “alternative right,” DeAnna as “Hood” set a roadmap for the alt-right to “destroy” the conservative establishment. Whereas Gottfried implored the racist paleoconservatives of the H.L. Mencken Society to “do what is possible rather than what lies beyond our limited material resources” in 2008, DeAnna called for a more aggressive revolutionary approach. Writing for Taki’s Magazine in July 2009 under his own byline, DeAnna argued in favor of a “post-conservative and post-national right” that could “be a voice for a ‘revolution’ that isn’t just rhetoric.” He cited the momentum of the Ron Paul movement as evidence that a new, “alternative” form of conservatism could take root. While distancing the YWC from the budding “alternative right,” DeAnna saw within corners of the conservative movement an openness to breaking with the establishment.
These currents have carried over into DeAnna’s pseudonymous work, where he has repeatedly decried the hegemony of, to use a term all-too-common on VDARE, “Conservatism, Inc.” Emboldened by the GOP’s failure to choose a suitable candidate to represent white nationalist ideals, “Hood” wrote an essay published on Counter-Currents that would quickly become foundational. The piece, “ A White Nationalist Memo to White Male Republicans,” called upon disaffected white Americans to “fight for a country of [their] own.” From 4chan’s /pol/ and Identity Evropa-affiliated Discord servers to sites such as Occidental Observer, “Hood’s” essay was lauded as a classic.
“You need to recognize that America today is a filthy lie, the most vile and despicable fiction ever foisted upon decent people,” DeAnna wrote under the “Hood” pseudonym. Elsewhere in the same piece, he proclaimed: “It’s time to stop being Americans. It’s time to start being White Men again.”
As “Hood,” DeAnna painted a picture of an America that had forsaken the white race – and more specifically, white men. “Everything you loved about what used to be your country came from one group of people. It’s the group you belong to. It’s the white race,” “Hood” wrote in a 2012 article called “Waking Up from the American Dream” from his book of the same title. “And it’s not an accident that the same people who hate your country hate your race more than anything.”
But whites cannot “drop out” of the system; instead, they have to fight against it in defense of the ethnostate, as DeAnna, writing as “Hood,” argued in a Counter-Currents article published in December 2012:
You can’t drop out. You can’t remain silent. You can’t work a job quietly and hope they will leave you alone. . . . They are coming for you, your job, your family, everything you care about. . . . You can give in to their system, accept their oppression, play by their rules, do everything you are supposed to do. It just won’t matter.
Struggle is not a choice. That’s inevitable. The choice is a desperate struggle for a white homeland – or the surrender to eternal darkness.
In other words, there was no political solution from within the system; such a civilizational corrective had to come from outside of it. Whites were, in “Hood’s” account, unable to “drop out” of the system entirely, but only insofar as dropping out meant giving up on the ethnostate.
To that end, DeAnna as “Hood” repeatedly advocated for the destruction of mainstream conservatism, albeit now citing more extreme figures as inspiration.
In a Counter-Currents article from 2013, “Hood” called for a hostile takeover of the GOP. Citing James Mason – the author of the terroristic manifesto "SIEGE," which has inspired the likes of Atomwaffen Division, the Base, and others – “Hood” encouraged “white advocates” to form a movement that united all white people against a common enemy. Doing so effectively meant carving out alternative “cultural spaces,” such as “publishers, website, bands, or spiritual groups.”
Success, “Hood” continued, depended on translating traditional white nationalist talking points so they could be more easily digested by a mainstream audience. While claiming that the GOP constituted the largest and most amicable group of politically active white voters to the white nationalist cause, he argued that racist activists could not simply transform them into a viable base overnight. “A successful movement,” “Hood” observed earlier in the same piece, “has to have waystations that we control all along the political spectrum.”
Finding an admirer in Jared Taylor
“Hood’s” reputation as a major driver of the alt-right’s approach to conservatism in particular was not built overnight. Indeed, DeAnna began cultivating his alter ego long before YWC collapsed.
The pen name “Gregory Hood” appeared for the first time in 2008 on a piece published in American Renaissance. “Hood” is simply described in his author’s bio as someone who “has been active in conservative youth movements in the US.”
“Hood” remained relatively inactive until 2011, when DeAnna began to more frequently write under the pseudonym. That year, he wrote four pieces for Counter-Currents, a white nationalist website and publishing house run by Gregory Johnson.
In May 2011, American Renaissance ran yet another essay from “Hood” – this time on what the neo-Confederate movement can offer “white advocates.” One month prior, American Renaissance head Jared Taylor encouraged the organization’s newsletter subscribers to support YWC and DeAnna.
Taylor’s admiration aside, it wasn’t until 2012 that “Hood’s” byline began to regularly appear in American Renaissance as an online contributor.
By 2015, those driving the alt-right moment into salience had heeded DeAnna’s advice. They recognized Trump, as “Hood” wrote in a 2015 Radix Journal post, as an opportunity to “disrupt the system.”
“Hood’s” profile rose throughout the 2016 election cycle. His July 24, 2015, article for American Renaissance on “cuckservatism” came to be referred to as a manifesto. Meanwhile, his persona garnered numerous mainstream media mentions in Vox, Mother Jones and the L.A. Times, among others. Riding off this momentum, Counter-Currents released DeAnna’s first collection of essays under the pseudonym, titled Waking Up from the American Dream, in 2016. It was warmly received by those within the movement. Taylor contributed a blurb to “Hood’s” book, writing, “In our movement, Gregory Hood is unquestionably the best writer of his generation. Heck, he could be the best writer in the entire movement.”
At other times, DeAnna’s reputation made for ample joke material. In a Feb. 1, 2016, email, longtime friend and former YWC member Marcus Epstein jokingly blamed DeAnna’s “negative energy” for Trump’s poor performance in the Iowa caucuses. “His naysaying became a self fulfilling prophecy,” Epstein wrote, copying Richard Spencer, McHugh, DeAnna and a number of other D.C.-area white nationalists.
“Fox News shilling hard to get voters in NH to abandon Trump,” responded DeAnna.
“Kevin is like the homeless guy in American Psycho,” Epstein countered. “Negative attitude.”
Regardless, “Hood’s” reputation as a content producer and ideologue among the alt-right would pay off. “Hood” was hired in February 2018 at American Renaissance as a full-time staff writer, where he worked with another YWC alum, Devin Saucier. As Joseph Bernstein reported in BuzzFeed in 2017, Saucier has, in addition to working for Taylor as an assistant, written for American Renaissance for years using the pseudonym “Henry Wolff.” According to McHugh, who was not talking frequently with DeAnna at that time, it is unclear whether “Hood’s” new gig at American Renaissance was immediately after, or just before, DeAnna left his job at WorldNetDaily.
American Renaissance used the opportunity to re-introduce “Hood” to their readers through an interview with fellow pseudonymous AmRen, VDARE and Radix contributor “Hubert Collins.” Collins had crossed paths with Hood many times prior, including during a now-deleted 2014 interview on the neoreactionary website Social Matter with DeAnna as “Hood,” former Daily Caller reporter Scott Greer as “Michael McGregor” and former Daily Caller reporter Jonah Bennett as “Hadley Bennett.”
“James Kirkpatrick’s” life in “prudent obscurity”
Since 2011, DeAnna has cycled between his persona as “Hood” and writing under the pseudonym “James Kirkpatrick” for the anti-immigration, white nationalist hate site VDARE. Here, DeAnna acted as one of the site’s main contributors and, later, as a social media manager and editor. He railed against the behemoth that VDARE referred to as “Conservatism, Inc.” – that is, the people behind the party’s “ideological wonkery” – while occasionally bolstering insider efforts to shift the party to a more hardline stance on immigration and demographic change.
What would become DeAnna’s preferred nom de guerre for his more mainstream anti-immigration work appeared first at Richard Spencer’s AlternativeRight.org in early 2011. But by October 2011, “Kirkpatrick” took his talents to VDARE and DeAnna began writing under the “Kirkpatrick” pseudonym for the site. “Kevin DeAnna at Youth for Western Civilization writes that Occupy Wall St. protestors have accurately identified the problem,” “Kirkpatrick” wrote in the first sentence of his Oct. 14, 2011, piece, “namely the inability of ‘ordinary Americans to lead a middle class life.’”
As “Kirkpatrick,” DeAnna frequently aggregated and cited himself and “Hood.” Following Trump’s victory, he repurposed “Hood’s” 2012 essay “A White Nationalist Memo to White Male Republicans.”
Despite “Kirkpatrick’s” prolific output at VDARE, where he has penned over 1,110 blogs, DeAnna’s work for the site was not limited to blogging. As early as December 2013, DeAnna acknowledged to McHugh that he had picked up additional responsibilities at the site after temporarily breaking from his job at WND. In a Jan. 16, 2014 email, he expressed frustration while grappling with some sort of “record keeping” issue at VDARE.
Among some of the writers DeAnna had the responsibility of editing were Donald Collins, a former board member and current advisory board co-chair at the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform and frequent VDARE contributor. DeAnna was, as his emails to McHugh make clear, not a fan.
DeAnna, July 19, 2014, 5:04 pm: “. . . was set to write [an] immigration piece. . . But instead have to edit Collins, [G]ottfried, and write something abour [sic] TN. This is why no one reads vdare.”
DeAnna issued the same complaint a few weeks later in an email about his editorial duties.
DeAnna, July 30, 2014, 6:22 pm: “Fuck, Don Collins roused himself from senility and sent in a steaming plate of horseshit again.”
DeAnna, July 30, 2014, 6:22 pm: “‘Hey folks! Did you know the Whore of Babylon, the Pope, is trying to destroy our precious rule of law to fulfill his sinister Jesuit designs?’ Every Don Collins column.”
About a year later, DeAnna emailed McHugh from his “James Kirkpatrick” Gmail account, prepared to bring his complaints to Brimelow. After asking McHugh if she thought “this is too much,” DeAnna wrote:
“Kirkpatrick,” Nov. 25, 2015, 11:49 am: “I really, really don’t want to be an editor. I hate talking to people, I hate editing people whose work I’m uninterested in. . . . I don’t want to spend the rest of my life editing [Allan] Wall, Federale, etc. . . . If you want me to send in an article or two a week great, but I don’t want to do anything else (including Twitter, which is eating up all of my time.)
Despite his complaints, little about DeAnna’s situation at VDARE seemed to have changed. In an email sent to McHugh prior to the 2016 state of the union address, he complained about covering the event.
DeAnna, Jan. 12, 2016, 1:15 pm: “[The article on the State of the Union] will be a good mix with our cutting edge content about a random guy [that] I’ve never heard of [who] Paul Gottfried doesn’t like, a Stix column about an incident two months ago, and a Federale [column] complaining about a Washington Post article from two months ago. Also, we’re running a Don Collins ‘column’ which is literally just him copying the comments from a Washington Post article. . . . [I]t’s just plagiarism.”
These additional duties did little to stymie DeAnna’s production as a writer, however. In July 2017, he began publishing in The Social Contract. Two years later, in October 2019, DeAnna’s second pseudonymous book – his first as “Kirkpatrick” – was published by Arktos Media.
The book, titled "Conservatism, Inc.: The Battle for the American Right," was praised by reviewers at numerous white nationalist sites, including VDARE itself. “Kirkpatrick,” opined VDARE editor Peter Brimelow upon the book’s release, was one of many young authors compelled to hide from the mainstream media as a result of the “extraordinary unreported personal and professional . . . Holocaust after Trump’s 2016 election.”
“Once a rising figure in the Beltway Right,” Brimelow pontificated in his foreword for the book, “[‘Kirkpatrick’] has for some years now lived in prudent obscurity.” You, the reader, Brimelow continued, could blame the left’s “Reign of Terror” for that.
“The best you can do once you start down this road”
“I’m the best writer in the world for my niche,” DeAnna wrote in an email to McHugh on Aug. 10, 2015. “I’ve been told that directly.”
Yet DeAnna’s life as the “Prince of the Alt Right,” as he crowned himself in a June 1, 2014, email to McHugh, was far from glorious. His influence on the movement as “Hood” and “Kirkpatrick” was no replacement for the security guaranteed by a steady job outside of the extremist movement he had worked so hard to cultivate.
“I’m broke, know there’s no future in it, am terrified every day of being outed, would kill off the name entirely if I didn’t think that would increase the chances of being outed, and am desperate to find a way back to a normal job, having wasted the last 14 years,” DeAnna wrote to McHugh on Aug. 10, 2015, “My situation right now is basically the best you can do once you start on this road.”
Whatever sense of desperation DeAnna felt about his situation back in 2015 has done little to separate himself from the white nationalist movement. Some of the outlets “Hood” and “Kirkpatrick” wrote for have gone dark – most notably, NPI’s Radix Journal. But even as waves of infighting after the 2017 Unite the Right riots in Charlottesville tore apart the loose coalition of extremists who constituted the alt-right, both “Hood” and “Kirkpatrick” have carried on.
Photo illustration by SPLC