A Hatewatch investigation has revealed that white nationalist Nick Fuentes has repeatedly livestreamed from a pricey apartment building in suburban Chicago, while telling viewers and supporters that he was still working from his old studio in his parents’ basement five miles away, as he had for at least four years leading up to his move to a new base of operations.
Hatewatch uncovered Fuentes’ deception by examining police records and archives of Fuentes’ livestreams, conducting interviews and making observations in Fuentes’ new neighborhood of Berwyn, in the inner-western part of Chicago’s suburbs.
The discovery raises new questions as to why Fuentes disguised his location from his viewers, and long-standing questions about how much material support and assistance Fuentes has received from his parents in building a lucrative white nationalist propaganda machine.
Fuentes’ ‘NEET’ persona
Fuentes last month announced a hiatus on his livestream broadcasts so he could work on the increasingly bizarre and toxic presidential campaign of musician Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.
He reappeared earlier this month, however, broadcasting from Ye’s studio and promising viewers that the show would proceed on a weekly, rather than nightly, cadence.
Last month, Fuentes’ presence at a dinner with Ye and Donald Trump, on a YouTube livestream hosted by right-wing Internet personality Tim Pool, and on another livestream on Alex Jones’ Infowars underlined Ye’s own increasingly voluble antisemitism and extremism.
Fuentes’ long-term use of his parents’ home as a production space had become a part of his persona as a white nationalist “America First” propagandist, and his leadership of the so-called “Groyper” movement. Fuentes has performed the role of a stereotypical, basement-dwelling “NEET” – an acronym for “not in employment, education or training” – a condition adopted and weaponized by the far right as a focal point for the resentment of young white males who misperceive their future as having been “stolen” by victories in the civil rights struggles waged by people of color, women, immigrants and LGBTQ+ people.
Far from being a basement-dweller, however, Fuentes appears to be an affluent homeowner, real estate investor and sometime landlord.
‘Swatting’ finds Fuentes at new address
Hatewatch learned about Fuentes’ new production location from police records of “swatting” incidents that happened during his live internet broadcasts.
Swatting is a harassment tactic whereby perpetrators make a false crime report nominating a target’s address in the hope of triggering an armed police response from police SWAT teams. Although the tactic is not exclusive to far-right groups, several members of such groups have been prosecuted over its use.
An epidemic of swatting over the last decade led to the passage of a 2015 law mandating enhanced sentences for perpetrators convicted under other applicable federal statutes. The prevalence of swatting also led some police departments to create initiatives that try to prevent the tactic, including the Seattle Police Department, which describes it as “a deliberate and malicious act that creates an environment of fear and unnecessary risk, and in some cases, has led to loss of life.”
The first known swatting targeting Fuentes occurred on March 30 and was partly captured on Fuentes’ livestream. Around an hour into that night’s show, Fuentes stopped his livestream to answer a knock on the door. About 10 minutes later he restarted the livestream, telling viewers, “Yeah, I just got swatted for the first time.”
Fuentes misrepresented the incident as having occurred at his parents’ home in La Grange Park, another Chicago suburb five miles away from Berwyn, telling viewers, “My mom came down, she was freaking out about it.”
Fuentes continued to embellish his account, adding that “I heard Jaden [McNeil] also got swatted at the same time. I don’t know if you heard it, but my mom was knocking on the door of my office. I think it happened at Jaden’s first, and then it happened over here.”
Jaden McNeil is a former Fuentes sidekick, and the two stood shoulder-to-shoulder as Fuentes appeared to encourage insurrectionists outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Hatewatch previously reported that McNeil received $20,000 in COVID-19 relief funds while treasurer of Fuentes’ America First Foundation before defecting from Fuentes’ movement last May.
According to Berwyn Police Department records, however, it was in Berwyn that dispatchers received a 10:08 p.m. call from a person who claimed to be Fuentes and told them that he had shot his girlfriend in the head. According to dispatch transcripts, the caller added that Fuentes would shoot himself “and if the cops tried to stop him he would shoot them as well.”
Berwyn police and fire were on the scene within five minutes, talked to neighbors and tried to make contact with residents of the Fuentes-owned building, according to the report.
Police first made contact with the “basement tenant, who identified himself as Jaden McNeil,” according to the report. McNeil told officers that “he has been having on going issues with online haters due to his political views” and that “he does online podcasts along with the top floor tenant.”
McNeil told officers that the pair had been “looking for a new place to live, because someone recently posted their address online,” according to the report. Hatewatch found no evidence that Fuentes had moved residence or acquired another property since the swatting incident.
Subsequently during the March 30 call-out, officers “spoke with the upstairs tenant identified as Nicholas Fuentes … who related the same accounts as McNeil,” according to the report.
Simultaneous incidents reveal live-in streaming den
Supplementary reports added to the file on the incident show the investigation expanding over subsequent weeks.
Berwyn officers discovered that simultaneous swatting calls had been “conducted throughout multiple jurisdictions around the country” and that “all of the victims were in the same group as Nicholas Fuentes.” The last supplementary report filed on June 6 noted that “the Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case.”
The Berwyn report offered a short description of one such simultaneous incident, noting that “Nicholas stated that the same night these individuals attempted to ‘SWAT’ his residence in Berwyn, they also attempted to ‘SWAT’ his parents’ residence in LaGrange Park.”
LaGrange Park Police Department records corroborate that police received a swatting call at 10:15 p.m. from a woman claiming to be located at Fuentes’ parents’ home. The call followed a similar pattern to the earlier one targeting the Berwyn address.
LaGrange Park police officers quickly responded and spoke to person at the address whose name is redacted in the report. Officers’ use of she/her pronouns in the report, however, indicate that they spoke to a woman.
Information from commercial data brokers corroborates Fuentes’ own claims on various livestreams that the only female resident at that address is Fuentes’ mother, Lauren Chicco Fuentes. The other resident is his father, William “Bill” Fuentes.
Two days later, on April 1, Fuentes’ Berwyn residence was swatted a second time after authorities received a call around 1 a.m., according to a separate Berwyn police report.
Officers again spoke with Fuentes outside his residence, according to the report. They asked Fuentes if they could search his home to ensure he was not keeping explosives at the location, and Fuentes consented.
The report says that officers “observed a room in Fuentes’ residence that was set up in a way in which Fuentes could host a podcast which was streaming live at the time of our search.”
The reports place Fuentes at the scene of the first Berwyn incident on the same night as his parents’ residence was targeted; identify the Berwyn address as his residence as distinct from his parents’ residence; and indicate that Fuentes was livestreaming in Berwyn at the time of the second swatting there.
Taken together, then, the police reports suggest that Fuentes lied to his viewers about where he was swatted on the first occasion, and he has never corrected the impression that he continues to work from his parents’ address.
It also paints a picture of a live-in podcasting operation involving Fuentes – and at that time, McNeil – at the Berwyn residence.
Hatewatch emailed Fuentes requesting comment but received no immediate response.
Fuentes’ life in Berwyn
Until now, little was known about Fuentes’ activities in suburban Berwyn, other than that he had purchased a three-unit apartment complex in the close-in, majority-Hispanic neighborhood in November 2020.
The research collective Chicago Anti-Fascist Action initially discovered that Fuentes sold the building to Chicco Properties LLC in the days after Jan. 6, 2021.
Illinois company records list Fuentes’ grandmother, whose surname is Chicco, as the CEO and president of Chicco Properties. The same records list Fuentes as the LLC’s manager.
Extremists often use LLCs to hide their assets from activists, political adversaries and law enforcement. Chicco Properties was involuntarily dissolved in April but is still listed in property records as the owner of the property that police described as Fuentes’ residence.
Hatewatch spoke to several of Fuentes’ neighbors, whose names are being withheld over concerns that they may be harassed or otherwise targeted by Fuentes’ followers.
On the topic of Fuentes, most of the neighbors Hatewatch spoke with says the livestreamer – who pumps out vociferous white nationalist propaganda on his livestreams – appears meek in real life, keeping to himself, apparently entertaining few visitors, and does not call attention to himself. Several said that when he is at home in Berwyn, his movements appear to be limited to passing from his garage to the back door of the apartment.
Fuentes’ building is located on a quiet, tree-lined street a short walk from one of Berwyn’s main shopping districts. On the block where the white nationalist’s two-story building is located, Hatewatch observed his neighbors doing weekend chores, and children playing in yards and on sidewalks.
From the property’s exterior, Hatewatch observed that the basement apartment and the first floor was empty. On the second floor the blinds were drawn. Hatewatch also observed a construction permit on the window of the first floor of the building. Neighbors confirmed Hatewatch's impression that the basement and first floor of the building appear to be currently unoccupied, with Fuentes and his livestreaming operation on the second floor.
On a return visit last month, a Hatewatch reporter knocked on the property’s door, but there was no answer.
Fuentes’ parents’ apparent support for his propaganda operation
One neighbor said that after the property sold to Fuentes’ LLC in 2020, he often saw a “Hispanic looking” man with gray hair interacting with construction crews at the property. Although the neighbor said they had not seen construction crews at the location since around September 2021, the gray-haired man had been a frequent visitor to the site since renovations apparently stalled.
The neighbor said that renovations appeared to be focused on the second floor of the building – the same floor where in April the Berwyn Police Department reported there was a podcasting studio.
Hatewatch showed two of Fuentes’ neighbors a photograph of Fuentes’ father, Bill Fuentes, and each positively identified the gray-haired visitor as the person in the photograph.
Bill Fuentes’ material assistance of Nick in moving the headquarters of his propaganda enterprise base of operations followed at least four years during which Nick was able to livestream from the property his parents own.
Information on the public record indicates that his parents are aware of the nature of Fuentes’ propaganda operation.
Lauren Fuentes, Nick’s mother, has called into his livestream at least twice. In a Christmas broadcast in December 2021, she opened a five-minute conversation by telling him, “I wanted to tell all of your Groypers Merry Christmas and how much I love all of them, right?”
In the same conversation, the two discussed a Dec. 23, 2021, shooting at the Oakbrook Center, a large shopping mall around five miles west of Fuentes’ parents address. During the conversation, Lauren Fuentes repeatedly made comments expressing anti-Black racism.
At one point, Lauren Fuentes asks, “What flavor do you think it was?” before asserting that it was a “gang shooting.”
She then asked, “Some people got in a fight in a movie, sound familiar?” and “No information on the shooters, why do you think that is?”
Nick Fuentes replied, “It’s the Ann Coulter rule: The longer it takes to publicize their identity, the higher the likelihood they’re not white,” and Lauren Fuentes responded, “Yep, yep.”
The reference was to “Coulter’s Law,” a term coined for white nationalist commentator Ann Coulter, who in a 2015 tweet asserted that “the longer we go without being told the race of the shooters, the less likely it is to be white men.”
Coulter’s tweet condenses a conspiracy theory that asserts that the news media corruptly try to hide the extent of crime committed by non-white people, the flipside of the racist belief that Black people are more prone to criminal behavior.
In this livestreamed conversation, Lauren Fuentes’ comments suggested that she shares these beliefs with Coulter and her son.
Later in the broadcast, Nick Fuentes playfully scolded his mother for her contribution to the livestream, asking, “How long did that take before you’re calling out Blacks, you’re calling out k****,” using a slur for Jewish people.
He then asked rhetorically, “Where do I get it,” to which Lauren Fuentes replied, “I have no idea, you get it from your dad.”
Hatewatch attempted to reach Lauren Fuentes for comment by telephone but was unable to do so by publication time.
In a documentary released in February by British journalist and filmmaker Louis Theroux, Fuentes related details of a specific conversation he claimed to have had with his parents at the beginning of his career as a white nationalist propagandist, when they were urging him to instead get a job or return to college.
Fuentes told Theroux of the proposal he made to his parents at that time: “‘Why don’t you give me just one year to explore this. If it works out, I’ll keep doing it. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll abandon it.’ … And it worked out.”
Hatewatch emailed Bill Fuentes at an email address associated with his employer, asking among other things if his assistance with renovations meant that he shared his son’s political views, but received no response.
Hours later, however, on his return livestream, Fuentes discussed the email to his father.
He told viewers that “the SPLC sent an email to my father today, saying that because he helped me renovate an apartment I own, that he’s helping me spread my evil, racist views,” falsely attributing Hatewatch’s request for comment to a desire “to get him fired from his job.”
Fuentes also claimed that this reporting was an attempt “to put my address out there so people come and kill me,” but Hatewatch has not and will not publish the address of Fuentes or his parents.
Fuentes’ rant, however, did corroborate his ownership of and residence at the Berwyn property, and his father’s assistance with renovations.
Fuentes’ Illinois base
Along with livestreaming and making appearances at rallies and conferences around the country, Fuentes has taken the stage at far-right events near his Illinois residence.
In October, he appeared on a panel at a “MAGA” event in Lisle, Illinois, alongside other extremists including Alex Stein, who briefly came to prominence after he allegedly sexually harassed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Also appearing at the Lisle event was Stephanie Trussell, then a Republican candidate for Illinois lieutenant governor, and the leader of the Illinois Proud Boys, Edgar “Del Remy Toro” Gonzalez.
Fuentes has long promoted false conspiracy narratives about a demographic “Great Replacement” of white people by immigrants, orchestrated by Jews. Along with his antisemitism, highlighted by his recent dinner date at Mar-a-Lago, Fuentes has frequently engaged in anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and anti-feminist rhetoric on his livestreams, at conferences and in other venues.
Despite this, he was apparently comfortable buying property in a diverse Chicago neighborhood: According to the 2020 U.S. Census, Berwyn is 62.5% Hispanic, 26% white and 7.8% Black, with the remaining percentage composed of Asian-American and mixed-race individuals.
Photo illustration by SPLC