A web and graphics designer who collaborated with white nationalist Nick Fuentes worked for pro-Donald Trump lawmaker Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., throughout 2022 and into 2023, a Hatewatch investigation found.
Lance W. Smith, 23, of Melissa, Texas, purchased or managed multiple web domains associated with Fuentes and his “America First” movement, livestreams on Fuentes’ website Cozy.tv under the pseudonym “UX,” and owns a gaming server for Fuentes fans. While associating himself with Fuentes’ wing of the white nationalist movement, Smith received $55,020 from Greene’s congressional campaign between June 24, 2022, and May 1, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records reviewed by Hatewatch. On one page of his online portfolio, Smith said he “oversaw production of the representative’s podcast and managed the creative direction of her campaign.”
Smith advertised multiple “digital assets” that he said he created “for team Trump as he pursues election in 2024” in his online portfolio. However, Hatewatch was unable to identify Smith on the Trump campaign’s payroll in a review of FEC data.
FEC records indicate that Smith began working for Greene’s congressional campaign as a consultant in summer 2022, several months after Greene addressed white nationalists and other far-right extremists at Fuentes’ America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC). (Hatewatch was unable to determine if Smith attended the event.) On June 24, 2022, Greene for Congress paid Smith $3,750 for “digital consulting and production” services. From July 1, 2022, through Nov. 1 the campaign made biweekly disbursements of $1,875to Smith. On Nov. 15, 2022, the biweekly payout amount was increased to $2,710. On Feb. 15, someone changed the description of the disbursements to Smith to read “campaign staff payroll.” Greene for Congress last paid Smith on May 1.
Hatewatch reached out to Smith through an email address listed on his portfolio but did not receive a response.
Multiple Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, criticized Greene for her decision to speak at AFPAC, where Fuentes lauded the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as “awesome” and approvingly compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. In response, Greene derided her Republican critics as “Pharisees” and stated her intent was to “speak to a lost generation of young people who are desperate for love and leadership.”
That same year, Greene brought on Milo Yiannopoulos, a racist, far-right provocateur, as an unpaid congressional intern. A Daily Beast report from May indicates that Yiannopoulos used the Greene campaign’s credit card to purchase a domain in support of antisemitic rapper Ye (formerly known as Kanye West). The website was associated with Ye’s presidential campaign, which both Yiannopoulos and Fuentes have helped advise.
Since late 2022, Greene has since sought to distance herself from Fuentes’ “America First” movement, calling the pro-Hitler livestreamer “immature.” Nevertheless, Hatewatch reported as recently as December 2022 that she addressed a New York Young Republican Club event featuring an array of radical-right figures, such as Jack Posobiec . White nationalists also attended the event, including Peter and Lydia Brimelow of VDARE.
Hatewatch reached out to Rep. Greene’s office over email via a member of her communications staff but did not receive a response. Likewise, Hatewatch contacted the Trump campaign through an email listed on their website. No one responded.
Greene campaign staffer’s ties to Fuentes
Smith’s association with Fuentes appears to date back to at least 2020. On the evening of Sept. 23, 2020, Smith registered the domain genzgop.com with the extremist-friendly web services company Epik, according to hacked company data that activists leaked to the public in September 2021. By Nov. 2, 2020, the genzgop.com URL was redirecting to NicholasJFuentes.com, according to an archived version of genzgop.com captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which captures and saves archives of various websites. Another archive of the genzgop.com site from July 1, 2021, shows that someone changed the site to redirect to AmericaFirst.live, a website that Fuentes used to stream his online show by the same name.
Today, genzgop.com redirects to genzgop.org, the website of the 501©4 nonprofit Gen Z Grow Our Platform (Gen Z GOP), whose stated goal is to encourage the Republican Party to focus on issues important to young, right-wing voters.
In a statement sent to Hatewatch over email, Gen Z GOP said that the group “fully and unequivocally disavows” Fuentes and his movement.
“In 2020, Fuentes and his cronies attacked our organization, and the domain’s ownership was likely purchased in an attempt to subvert our efforts to create a more inclusive Republican Party,” the group added.
The street address Smith used to register the genzgop.com website with Epik matches a mailing address that multiple data brokers attributed to him. The email Smith used to register the site is tied to an Instagram account under his own name, where Smith describes himself as a “designer” and “MAGA.”
Smith also appears to have shared pro-Fuentes content under the pseudonym “UX” on multiple social media websites, including during his tenure with the Greene campaign. The term “UX” is short for “user experience,” a term used in web design to refer to how a user interacts with a digital product.
“UX” began livestreaming on Fuentes’s Cozy.tv platform in late 2021 or early 2022.
“UX” is also listed as an owner for a chat related to an “America First”-affiliated group in Minecraft, an online game where users can design their own worlds out of 3D objects referred to as “blocks.” He has also described himself as one of the managers of the server, as well as shared links, videos and other promotional material associated with it. Minecraft allows users to launch their own self-hosted servers to enable multiplayer gameplay.
“UX” said on Gab, a social media site popular with extremists, that a similar game called Roblox banned him for declaring “Gays are gross” and “Gays go to hell” within the game. Almost half (45%) of Roblox users are under the age of 12.
Hatewatch linked Smith to the “UX” persona after far-right livestreamer and former Fuentes collaborator Ethan Ralph identified Smith as “UX” and published his full name and phone number, along with information about three other close Fuentes allies, in a July 16 series of posts on Telegram. Ralph shared the personal information in the run-up to an event that Fuentes hosted in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In his Telegram posts, Ralph did not discuss Smith’s involvement with mainstream Republican politics.
Hatewatch confirmed this identification through a review of usernames associated with “UX’s” Twitter account. Each account is assigned a unique numerical code that allows Twitter to identify an account even if a user changes to their handle. Using an archive of historical Twitter data from programmer Travis Brown, Hatewatch was able to determine that @uxreturns, the Twitter handle used by “UX,” first launched their account in 2019 using the handle @lance_ws and the display name “Lance Smith.” Hatewatch confirmed these findings by searching for mentions of @lance_ws on the platform, which brought up tweets from @uxreturns, indicating that both handles shared a Twitter ID.
@uxreturns has not publicly commented on Ralph’s identification of him as Smith. However, in a tweet shared at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time on July 16, @uxreturns shared a screenshot of Ralph mocking the small number of cars at Fuentes’ event, commenting, “bro has never heard of uber.”
‘A very immature young man’
Greene has a longstanding, but at times tense, relationship with Fuentes. In 2022, Greene spoke at Fuentes’s AFPAC, a gathering of white nationalists and other far-right extremists that Fuentes has held since early 2020 to coincide with the more mainstream Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Fuentes and Milo Yiannopoulos, who worked as an unpaid congressional intern in Greene’s office during 2022, joined Ye’s (formerly Kanye West’s) presidential campaign in late 2022. Greene said in a December 2022 episode of her podcast, “MTG Live,” that “most people in this country have no clue who Nick Fuentes is.”
“If they heard the statements that he makes, they would want nothing to do with him. He sounds like a very immature young man saying hateful things about people,” Greene continued.
On his portfolio website, Fuentes collaborator Smith says he created the artwork for both the “MTG Live” show and its production company Front Porch Politics.
Fuentes, who marched at the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and was present on the Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, has said he envisions his movement as becoming “the right-wing flank of the Republican Party.” After a series of prominent defections in mid-2022, Fuentes appears to have abandoned his annual AFPAC event, which did not take place in 2023. Instead, he has hosted smaller gatherings, branded as “rallies,” where he is the primary speaker.
During Fuentes’s July 16 rally in West Palm Beach, he stated that he saw himself as involved in a “holy war” and described killing “enemies of Christ.”
“Because we’re willing to die in this holy war, we will make them die in the holy war. And they will go down. We have God on our side. And they will go down with their Satanic master. They have no future. The enemies of Christ have no future in this world,” Fuentes said.
On July 19, Fuentes wrote in a post on Telegram that Rumble, a video streaming platform popular with the far right, removed multiple videos from his West Palm Beach rally and said that Rumble had restricted his channel from posting new videos for two weeks.
Hatewatch reached out to Fuentes over email but did not receive a response.
Photo illustration by SPLC with source images from Getty