Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Growing into Hate is a series in which we provide real-world examples of teenagers’ ideological evolution into white supremacy and fascism.
This was originally posted to our education portal, www.antihate.school.
In the fall of 2020, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network identified then-20-year-old Tyler Blair as “VittorioGiurifiglio,” a prolific neo-Nazi known across several neo-Nazi chatrooms, and a neo-fascist web forum. As a teenager, Blair was one of the younger members of these communities; and even then, he repeatedly claimed that his journey into fascism began from an even younger age. In addition to explicitly fascist online spaces, he was a frequent player in worldbuilding and role-playing games (RPGs), where he developed and propagated his fascist ideology.
Tyler Blair claims on Twitter to have been a “Nazbol (Nazi-Bolshevik) Stalinist Canadian nationalist” when he was only eight years old. He uses a variety of labels to describe himself at different points in time, all having some connection to fascism or neo-Nazism.
Days after joining the overtly white supremacist Canadian Super Players Discord server, Blair claimed to have “discovered fascism in grade 5,” and bragged that he was sent to the principal’s office every day in elementary school “for attacking Irish kids in the name of the British empire.”
Discord is a chat platform popular with gamers where users can create chatrooms called servers. Neither Discord, nor video games, are inherently concerning, and it is used by people to communicate about subjects beyond video games. However, white supremacists often use Discord to talk privately, and to spread propaganda in other more public servers.
As with most self-narratives of white supremacists, we don’t have a way to corroborate these specific details, and the claim does appear at least somewhat exaggerated. However, the context of these claims can offer clues about the motivations for making them. In this case, Blair and another teenager in CSP were comparing their experiences in the school system as young fascists.
While we cannot corroborate Blair’s claims to schoolyard violence at age 10, we know that by age 13, he was logging onto the gaming platform Steam, under the username “Tyler, the Fascist Italian.”
In addition to the toolkit, we also offer initial assessment support, to assist caring adults in determining where a young person is at, where they’re headed, and what can be done to establish a fence of protection around them to prevent future harm. If Tyler Blair’s story sounds at all familiar to you, if you have experienced similar behaviours with a young person in your life — please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]
It is fair to question just how objectively literate children who engage in a complex ideology like fascism truly are. If a 10 year old is given a test of sorts on their understanding, they likely would not pass it, despite claiming to identify with it. At the same time, the degree to which a child believes that they comprehend the ideology, identifies with it, and is willing to act on it, is just as, if not more, significant, than their actual factual understanding of the ideology. A textbook understanding of fascism, is not necessary to commit violent acts in the name of fascism. Furthermore, a child who identifies as a fascist will likely seek out spaces and others who affirm that ideology, leading them to becoming further entrenched in it, and having it shape their psychosocial development.
Canadian Super Player
Blair was 16-years-old when he joined the Canadian Super Players (CSP) Discord server, a right-wing extremist community named as a reference to GamerGate, and to mislead outsiders about their true purpose. He went on to be one of the group’s most prolific users, posting more than 11,000 messages over the server's short existence of about a year. This was the first overtly fascist online space Blair appears to have joined.
In CSP, he bragged: “I fucking yelled Heil Hitler and gave roman salutes in High school and no one did shit…Personally defaced Homo signs in front of people, not even f**s reacted…the best part is fogging up your principles window, and drawing a Swastika and heil Hitler in the fog.”
When one older member of the server responded to Blair and another youth discussing their high school experiences with: “I really don't get how you guys interact with people like this IRL in any way shape or form;” Blair replied “I get joy from it…I fucking love the struggle.”
At the same time as Blair was boasting about harassing others in the real world, he was regularly the target of harassment by members of CSP, most of them older than him; which he also doled out to others. They derisively labelled him “autistic” and mocked him for “never leaving his basement” and not regularly attending meetups.
Many white supremacists recruit youth by claiming to offer respite from a world that they allege to be hostile to young white boys and men. Internally, however, these movements frequently function in laterally hostile and cruel ways, as CSP did.
Weeks before entering high school, Blair joined the space exploration roleplay forum Aurora Station. In an introductory post, he described himself as a “National Syndicalist/Fascist” and an “Ultra-Monarchist.” Within a year of joining, he was described by one player as “the most prolific xenophobe on our server.”
Aurora Station, a roleplaying game (RPG), puts significant emphasis on worldbuilding, character development, and story progression.
In his application to become a “Head of Staff” (which would put him in a leadership role) he described his in-game character as having a “hatred of ‘Foreigners’” and admitted that “he is generally a self insert of the bad parts of me.” Some players argued against his whitelisting, while others endorsed him, replying “I'm more than confident that He'd be able to show his character's xenophobia in a more reasonable manner.”
Throughout his time on Aurora Station, Blair attempted to insert his politics into gameplay, including proposing a “third positionist” political party, which was denied on the basis of it being interpreted as an “openly active…hate group”. He was encouraged to rework his application “to be less out of tune with the [in character] atmosphere.” A year later, he proposed a nearly identical party, which was accepted.
He also attempted to establish a pan-European monarchist planet in the game, which he justified as giving “Euro's a unique place to come from.” The planet was eventually approved.
A couple years into his time on Aurora Station, he applied to become a moderator in the game. One player replied to his post: “I think you're a good roleplayer…However, what you're presenting here is an app to become a 15-year old moderator with [in real life] fascist tendencies.” His application was rejected.
While some Aurora Station users appear to have been concerned about the beliefs and behaviour of not just the character, but the player himself, as well as the interplay between the two, with one player responding to Blair’s solicitation for feedback on his character: “You inject your political ideology in all of your characters and sort of make them these walking political statements. You're sort of shooting yourself in the foot here, because all the people who would avoid you [out of character] because you're very open about your political ideology will do the same in character because your characters are also involved in your political ideology.”
Still others maintained that there was a place for racism and xenophobia in the game, as long as it made sense in the lore, with another player responding to Blair’s request for feedback: “Vittorio, despite all the flaws I've pointed out, feels like he could be a real person, albeit only in the future. He's a fascist - we're getting more of those right now. He's a racist - racists aren't going anywhere.” Yet another player credited Blair’s character with influencing the revision of their own character to be more xenophobic.
This tension illustrates the concerns raised by anti-fascist game developer Manuel Manhard: “By keeping the line between role-play and actual propagation of fascist ideologies blurry, gaming communities… [offer] an excellent playground for actual fascists.”
We provide these anecdotes — all of which occurred while Blair was only 14-years-old — to illustrate the ways that young people involved in hate movements may use online spaces, such as RPGs, to explore and experiment with their developing ideologies.
Europol recently raised concerns that young right wing extremists exploit the gaming landscape for the “gamification of propaganda, for example through the creation of fascist utopias where racist role-play is facilitated in video games.”
At 17 years old, Blair described his ideological journey in an introductory post on Iron March: "Since I was twelve, however, I adopted Non-Racialist Fascism and then midway through high school I developed racialist tendencies and became what I hope I can describe myself as an orthodox Fascist."
Iron March was a neo-fascist web forum that gave birth to a terroristic neo-Nazi subculture that promotes mass murder. Defunct as of 2017, the forum (and its successor Fascist Forge) was so influential that it created a broader network of neo-Nazis known as the Iron March Legacy network. This network persists today and includes other known groups such as Atomwaffen Division (now called National Socialist Order), The Base and Feuerkrieg Division, whose leader was a 13 year old boy from Estonia. Propaganda and literature from Iron March are still circulated in online spaces.
Leaked metadata from Iron March shows that Blair accessed the forum in June and July of 2017 from a Halton Catholic District School Board IP address.
One of Blair's introductory posts to Iron March.
Source: Jewish Worker's Iron March Exposed database, now offline.
Our original article about Blair described how, in the fall of 2020, he was named to the role of Director of Public Relations for the McMaster Conservatives for the second year in a row. In addition to sitting on the executive of the McMaster Conservatives, Blair was, at the time, also a "leader" In the McMaster Catholic Students Association. A Facebook post identifying him as such was never removed.
Blair responded to our initial request for comment in 2020, following publication of the article, with a statement saying he wanted to take the “opportunity to denounce my ridiculous, backwards and hateful views…I hope any white supremacist reading this can understand that it's not too late to give up hate and embrace love."
In reality, Blair never gave up his hate, and continues to engage in fascist rhetoric on Twitter, to this day.
Nineteen months after being exposed as an open fascist with violent fantasies, who infiltrated and achieved an executive role in the campus conservative club, Tyler Gordon Marco Blair graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of History in June 2022.
A Community Responsibility
A year after our initial article exposing Blair as a white supremacist, a former teacher of his reached out to us, providing a rare glimpse into the young fascist’s adolescence, from the perspective of an outside observer and caring adult. The teacher said that it was clear to him that at 14-years-old, Blair was already deeply entrenched in hate. He recalled Blair never being so bold as to state his fascist beliefs outright, but instead challenging democratic norms like human rights. The teacher adopted the strategy of not outright dismissing Blair’s arguments, but instead engaging with them in an attempt to persuade him to change his mind.
This teacher cared very deeply, and did what he thought was best, with the tools and knowledge he had available to him at the time. He told us that while he knows that the education system has a key role to play in intervening in the recruitment of youth to hate movements; the task cannot fall to individual teachers alone.
We wholeheartedly agree — dealing with these issues cannot fall to individual teachers. That’s why our Confronting and Preventing Hate in Canadian Schools toolkit includes intervention strategies geared at a variety of stakeholders in the school community — not just teachers, but students, administrators, parents, and community members as well.
In addition to the toolkit, we also offer initial assessment support, to assist caring adults in determining where a young person is at, where they’re headed, and what can be done to establish a fence of protection around them to prevent future harm. If Tyler Blair’s story sounds at all familiar to you, if you have experienced similar behaviours with a young person in your life — please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].