UBC Chair Resigns After Far-Right Social Media History Exposed
UBC and its so-called free speech clubs regularly play host to far-right hate speakers
June 26, 2020
By Sean Orr
Michael Korenberg, chair of the UBC board of governors, has resigned after his proclivity to like content by far-right figures was exposed by the UBC Students Against Bigotry.
The University of British Columbia has been a flashpoint in the growing movement to confront institutional white supremacy and the normalization of far-right hate speech. UBC stands out in that its administration has been particularly permissive of so-called free speech clubs inviting far-right activists and propagandists over the last five years, despite legal obligations not to do so and objections from students and faculty.
Korenberg has a history of following and liking multiple accounts that circulate hate and division across multiple platforms, including liking a tweet by Dinesh D’Souza comparing Black Lives Matter to Hitler's paramilitary, Ann Coulter blaming the “Antifa and BLM ideology” for “the destruction of businesses we’re witnessing across the US,” and following a veritable all star cast of far-right voices like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Charlie Kirk, and Brit Hume. He also likes Students for Trump and Turning Point USA, and showed up to a UBC Board of Governors meeting in a MAGA hat — which has come to be recognized by many as a hate symbol. In an interview with The Ubyssey, Korenberg says he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and that he “wasn’t actually familiar with the fact that people can look at my Twitter account, so I do regret that.” He argued he was liking tweets to save them to read later.
Maia Wallace from the UBC Black Student Union tells CityNews1130 that the resignation is a good first step but wants more action: “We want foundational change. Lip service only goes a certain way and I think it comes down to integrating Black people into policies and minorities into positions of power so that we can make decisions that benefit all of us.”
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Korenberg’s resignation comes in the wake of UBC firing an assistant basketball coach who liked a tweet calling Black Lives Matter a leftist lie.
UBC Students Against Bigotry, which exposed Korenberg’s social media activity, was formed a year-and-a-half ago in response to a number of hateful and discriminatory incidents on the campus. "Michael Korenberg is just the tip of a very large iceberg at UBC,” they say. “He is only the most obvious example of the colonialism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness that are rooted in the very core of this university.”
Students Against Bigotry have compiled a timeline of hate incidents at UBC that documents the bad-faith decisions that allowed numerous racist, transphobic, misogynistic, and Islamophobic speakers a platform at the school, and exposes the access to the administration enjoyed by the so-called free speech groups. The Free Speech Club and their splinter group Students for Freedom of Expression have hosted such luminaries of the far-right as Lauren Southern, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Ricardo Duchesne, Meghan Murphy, Jenn Smith, and attempted but ultimately failed to host Stefan Molyneux and Andy Ngo.
Many of these new campus free speech groups and their audiences are hypocrites; they argue for unlimited or near unlimited free expression rights for far-right personalities, but against free expression rights for leftists, anti-racists, and anti-fascists. Their audience calls for BLM protestors to be arrested for blocking roads as part of their demonstrations, and wants anti-fascists to be designated as terrorists by the government. The Free Speech Club asked the RCMP to investigate and lay charges against another student for organizing demonstrations against them and went to the UBC administration in the hopes that the school would punish the organizer.
According to UBC policy, the university “reserves the right to ensure that any use of Bookable Space does not compromise UBC’s or the UBC community’s activities, as well as the safety and security of persons and facilities.” However, they are not applying this policy to hateful speakers. Vancouver Pride banned UBC from attending the parade in 2019 after the school played host to a number of anti-trans activists.
UBC has a responsibility under administrative law to balance Charter interests, in this case freedom of expression and equality in accessing services. The Supreme Court has been clear that hate speech, the kind issued by these far-right propagandists, is low value speech that will be easily outweighed by other Charter interests. UBC may well be vulnerable to legal challenges by students who belong to groups targeted by these speakers.
Of course, the debate around the limits to free expression is nothing new. In a piece in the Ubyssey by Helen Zhou, we're reminded that we had the same debates about racial slurs 40 years ago. This most recent iteration of the campus free speech movement is rooted in toxic white fragility and a backlash to changing social norms. Freedom of expression is not threatened by leftists and anti-racists, but by the far-right, some of whom in the alt-right neo-Nazi movement have acknowledged they are using the term hypocritically and, if they take power, would censor their opponents (and much worse). They try to use free speech arguments to shield themselves from the social consequences of hate speech and influence mainstream discourse.
Students, staff, and faculty were active in their efforts to alert the administration to the dangers presented by these speakers. Students Against Bigotry believe the discovery of “MAGA Mike” Korenberg's affiliations is a window into why this white nationalist, misogynistic activity was allowed to take place under the guise of free speech. "We have lost all faith in the supposed leadership of this university to take meaningful action,” says SAB. “Time and time again, they have shown themselves unwilling or unable to do so. It has become clear that it will always be up to members of our community to join together and get the job done."
Here's How You Can Help
While we don’t have the resources to run an organized volunteer program, there are several ways you can help and stand up to hate groups in your own community and across Canada. The most important thing is to organize with other likeminded people in your own community, collect information, and be ready to respond to hate group activity.
Monitor Hate Groups
We couldn’t do the work we do without dozens of community members across Canada that monitor the public social media pages of hate groups, taking screenshots and documenting examples of:
- Overt bigotry and racism
- Celebrations of violence and incitement to violence
- Death threats and targeted harassment
- Event planning
- Infighting and leadership changes
Read more about this vital and often invisible work done by anti-fascist and anti-racist members of your community and all across the country.
Some groups or collectives primarily monitor one group. For example, Yellow Vests Canada Exposed began by documenting and exposing the hundreds of examples of overt racism, bigotry and death threats shared by Yellow Vests Canada and its affiliated pages. Others, like Halifax Against Hate, focus on local groups, particularly when they plan events. We recommend this level of specificity rather than trying to cover everything at once. Pick a group and individuals (especially if they're active locally) that you find concerning and don't be afraid to switch focus as you learn more.
Archive.org is useful for saving individual pages, but it doesn't work on social media pages. We recommend copy and pasting entire Facebook pages and Twitter feeds into Word documents and taking screenshots of the most important pieces. Make sure what you find is well-documented and can be verified by other observers.
Keep your files organized, and please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you hear about events, or find death threats or targeted harassment campaigns. Try not to work in silos - flag important information for our attention, but please also connect with others doing this work and share your publicly available findings.
Infiltrate Hate Groups
Some individuals take on the necessary work of infiltrating hate groups online, creating a false persona and posing as supporters to gain access to less public online spaces where hate groups often share the worst and most telling examples of hate and racism, and encourage and plan violence and events.
We will not recruit individuals to infiltrate groups, but will work with individuals already undertaking this necessary work. If you are infiltrating groups you must be responsible for your own safety. You should not attempt this work without first learning deeply about the group over several months and taking a number of precautions, including protecting your identity. We also recommend reading the Anti-Racist Canada blog to gain some insight into the methods used.
Cancel Hate Group Events
Individuals and groups have been very successful in getting hate group events cancelled by convincing venue owners to make the principled decision to cancel events. Be polite but firm. Start by speaking with the venue and providing information on the hate group that has booked their space. If they won’t cancel the event, talk to your friends and family and use local Facebook groups to encourage community members to send emails and make phone calls. It’s always in their best social and business interest to have a good relationship with the community, which you should emphasize. Stand by the venue if they receive any backlash, and be sure to thank and support them in the coming days if they cancel the event.
Events held in public spaces are more difficult to cancel. While no city has an obligation to provide venue space (eg. a library) to hate groups, there’s less they can do when a group is planning an unpermitted event in front of city hall, for example. If you can’t get the event cancelled, the best way to disrupt and demoralize hate groups is to participate in a counter-demonstration with a coalition of anti-fascist and anti-racist community groups that use direct but nonviolent tactics and massively outnumber the hate groups and their supporters. We do not organize demonstrations, so we encourage you to find and connect with your local organizations.
Pitch us a story
We take story pitches that deal with hate groups, often about upcoming events or ones that just occurred, or explainers that will get our audience (and your community) up to speed on local events. Send a short email to email@example.com that explains the story, why it matters, and what information you have to back it up. We can pay $100 for stories from members of the community and $200 for stories from individuals with some kind of professional writing experience, i.e. writers/researchers/journalists.
Canadian neo-Nazi podcasters barred from United States
Bernardo Garcia and Tyler Hall-Kuch didn’t tell border officials they were on their way to a neo-Nazi meetup
April 14, 2019
Tyler Hall-Kuch (left) and Bernardo Garcia (right). Source: Youtube.
The United States barred two hosts of a Canadian neo-Nazi podcast from crossing the border earlier this month, according to a recent episode of their show.
Bernardo Garcia and Tyler Hall-Kuch, who are based in the Toronto area, say they were turned away after being asked about their weekly podcast, which shares alt-right and hateful commentary on the news of the day.
“Would you believe it if I told you we’ve had some trouble at the borders?” yells Hall-Kuch on the show. “For reals this time.”
Garcia and Hall-Kuch’s podcast, now on its 34th episode, is the direct successor of This Hour Has 88 Minutes, a neo-Nazi podcast shut down by a joint VICE Canada and Canadian Anti-Hate Network investigation that exposed its hosts. Garcia and Hall-Kuch were both listeners of and guests on the earlier podcast, and their current show shares the same producer, a man who goes by the alias “Jonathan Boone.” Their intention for the new podcast is to be more genteel and family-friendly, and thereby more effective at radicalizing new listeners.
The podcast is full of both overt and coded sexism, racism, anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, and antisemitism, and often targets journalists.
Late last year the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and a team of journalists uncovered the identities of Garcia and Hall-Kuch, who were operating under pseudonyms.
Garcia and Hall-Kuch declined to comment for this story.
Hateful public statements by Garcia, Hall-Kuch, and 'Boone'
"Records, bodies, neither of these things substantiate a claim of 6 million. At best, you have a couple hundered [sic] thousand in TOTAL, including Jews and all . . . Maybe you should ask what Jews did to deserve being rounded up in PoW camps" – Tyler Hall-Kuch denying the Nazi Holocaust on Facebook
“I'm not dumb enough to send my daughter to university where she can come home a drunken whore with a 25+ partner count and dead eyes. Check out [podcast’s name] for intriguing takes like these!” - Tyler Hall-Kuch on Twitter
“Muslims go to hell [kiss emoji]” - Tyler Hall-Kuch on Twitter.
“Niggers lie like 6 year olds” – Jonathan Boone on Discord
“Election night is in the rear-view, and after a day of celebration we need to keep moving forward. It’s time to consolidate our gains and trigger Jews and leftists . . .” - Jonathan Boone on the Daily Stormer (neo-Nazi website)
“Guy is weirdly obsessed with cum and kiddy diddling, definitely Jewish.” – Bernardo Garcia on Twitter
“How mad is Lauren Southern right now? Muzzies finally start misbehaving here in Canada and it happened during one of her tourist nationalism vacations.” - Bernardo Garcia on Twitter
Garcia and Hall-Kuch ran into trouble at the U.S. border while on their way to ExoFest, a weekend retreat of alt-right neo-Nazi podcasters and personalities held at a secret location in the southeastern United States.
The event is hosted by the American neo-Nazi podcast Exodus/Americanus, whose hosts describe it as “The Alt-Right's number 1 meta-political talk show.”
At the last ExoFest, the live recording of Exodus/Americanus kicked off with a call to “smoke a bowl, drink a beer, it’s time to gas the Jews and queers!”
Garcia, who says he attended the event last year, claims he and Hall-Kuch were invited.
It’s not unusual for alt-right figures to hop between countries. Canadian neo-Nazi propagandist Gabriel Sohier Chaput, aka “Zeiger,” who is currently wanted by police on a charge of wilful promotion of hatred, attended the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, with a group of other Canadian extremists. Infamous Canadian neo-Nazi Paul Fromm is now required to request a visa before entering the United States.
Henry Chang, a partner at Dentons law firm who specializes in immigration law across the U.S. border, says that “as a general rule, being associated with a white supremacist group (or any other extremist group) is not automatically a bar to entering the United States.”
A restriction would normally apply only to applicants planning to “engage in unlawful activity and those who are associated with designated criminal organizations” says Chang, adding that U.S. border agents “have a lot of discretion” to deny entry to travellers.
Garcia and Hall-Kuch said they told U.S. border officials they were “going drinking with friends” during questioning and did not reveal the real nature of the event they were planning to attend.
Lying or giving an incomplete answer to an official could be a “a permanent ground of inadmissibility,” says Chang.
'All three hosts of this show have been effectively banned’
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they were not able to comment on private travel plans, but wrote in an email that they turn away visitors for a range of reasons including security concerns.
But Garcia and Hall-Kuch’s rejection and the line of questioning they faced at the border suggests U.S. border security is looking more seriously at white nationalists travelling between the United States and Canada.
“Our dual mission is to facilitate travel in the United States while we secure our borders, our people and our visitors from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals, and contraband,” wrote a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson.
A third host of Garcia and Hall-Kuch’s podcast, Vincent Bélanger Mercure of Montreal, said on the show he too was recently rejected at the border after being questioned about his presence at Charlottesville.
“We’re at a point where all three hosts of this show have been effectively banned from the United States,” lamented Garcia on the podcast.
Co-published with Ricochet Media. With files from journalist Zachary Kamel.
Garcia’s usernames include SonOfDix, Thiccson, Dixon, and Amigoy. Hall-Kuch’s include Cracker Jack and Jack Tyler. Mercure also goes by Bébécoco. We have made the editorial decision not to link to their accounts or name their podcast. Anti-hate practitioners and researchers may contact the Canadian Anti-Hate Network for additional information.
"Experts say Canadians should also be concerned about the rise of hate groups in this country. There are at minimum 130 active right-wing extremist groups across Canada according to Dr. Barbara Perry, an expert on hate crime — a 30 per cent increase from 2015.
Most of these groups are organized around ideologies against religion and race — with anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiments being the most common, followed by hate against immigrants, Indigenous people, women, LGBTQ communities and other minorities.
. . .
[Evan Balgord, Executive Director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network,] says the radicalization process happens quickly and that people typically go from consuming hate material online to organizing offline. Balgord says they are increasingly involved in mainstream politics. 'Now we’re seeing in terms of real-life organizing, they are coming out to support Faith Goldy’s campaign for mayor of Toronto. They are also excited by Maxime Bernier’s party,' he shares."
Faith Goldy is a prominent member of the alt-right movement who associates with neo-Nazis and promotes their ideology.
She is running to be Mayor of Toronto, endorsed by the alt-right neo-Nazi movement in Canada, who volunteer for her.
After a campaign by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Bell and Rogers made the principled decision not to run her advertisements.
Goldy took Bell to court to try to get an injunction and had her case thrown out, wasting $50,000.
The evidence that Faith Goldy is deep in the alt-right neo-Nazi movement is extensive. For example:
Goldy has said the infamous Fourteen Words on air, a neo-Nazi slogan coined by the neo-Nazi group The Order, which murdered a Jewish radio host. She continues to defend her use of the Fourteen Words.
She appeared on The Krypto Report, a neo-Nazi podcast associated with the Daily Stormer, one of the most popular alt-right neo-Nazi sites which often refers to Jews as “Hooknosed kikes” and is currently running a banner image calling itself the “#1 rape-legalization website.” The leaked style guide instructs authors that “All enemies should be combined into one enemy, which is the Jews.”
She said that the alt-right Charlottesville manifesto, including its position on the JQ (Jewish Question; that Jews don’t count as white people to the alt-right neo-Nazi movement), was well thought out.
David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, tweeted her video on Charlottesville.
She's called for Canada to return to being a 96% white, European country.
As a point of analysis, given the current demographics of Canada, discriminatory birth policies and ending nonwhite immigration isn't sufficient to reach a 96 per cent white country. It would require mass deportations and mass murder.
She's already been banned from the fundraising site Patreon and a number of other platforms for spreading hate.
Her activism also targets the Muslim community, and she has called for another crusade in the Middle East.
She endorsed For My Legionaries, a pro-fascist book dealing extensively with "the Jewish menace" and eliminating the Jews. (She later claimed she never read the book).
She has referred to herself as a "propaganda arm" for the alt-right movement in a livestreamed broadcast with Roosh V, an infamous misogynist.
Updated 2018-10-18 with additional information.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network chair Bernie Farber calls on Doug Ford to renounce alt-right candidate who associates with neo-Nazis.
"On Saturday, Faith Goldy, in the race for Toronto mayor, well-known for embracing and supporting white supremacist views, turned up at the Ford Fest BBQ in Vaughan. Following a photo-op with the premier, a scandal ensued as Ford refused to renounce Goldy, her white nationalist views and support to neo-Nazis when asked to do so in the legislature by the NDP."
"Ford has condemned hate speech but refuses to renounce Goldy by name and her associations. His words do not live up to his actions. Canadians still expect decency and leadership from those we put in office. Ford can still make this right, but not until he fully dissociates himself from those like Faith Goldy and their vile ideas."
Last evening Faith Goldy posted a picture of her 'volunteers' which included two uniformed Toronto police officers and a police car.
Goldy is a prominent figure in the alt-right movement and associates with neo-Nazis. The Canadian alt-right neo-Nazi movement supports her bid for Mayor.
Source: Faith Goldy, Twitter
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network calls on the Toronto Police Service to investigate whether these officers have violated the Ontario Police Services Act and Toronto Police Services Board policies in appearing to support Goldy and participating in election activities (the photograph) while in uniform.
Goldy shares neo-Nazi talking points and has publicly proclaimed the white supremacist slogan Fourteen Words coined by David Lane, leader of the neo-Nazi group The Order, which was responsible for the murder of Jewish American radio host Alan Berg in 1984.
She has been removed from fundraising platforms, like Patreon, which cited her sincere recital of the Fourteen Words in its explanation. Shortly before registering to run for Mayor she retweeted a tweet from a 4chan account referencing an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish people control finance and the media: “As shown by the deplatforming of @FaithGoldy, the financial system is run by a nasty group of people that has controlled the will of the people for far too long.”
Goldy's activism also targets Muslims and other non-white Canadians and she has called for another crusade in the Middle East.
"This sends the wrong message," says Bernie Farber, Chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. "Torontonians targeted by racist hate have every right to be concerned when police officers who are sworn to uphold the law are pictured supporting a political candidate who associates herself with white supremacy. The Toronto Police Service must respond and take disciplinary action if there are grounds for it."
Police Services Act
46 No municipal police officer shall engage in political activity, except as the regulations permit. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15, s. 46.
Toronto Police Services Board policy on political activity
1. It is the policy of the Toronto Police Services Board that: 1. The endorsement or opposition of political candidates by municipal police officers is prohibited by the Police Services Act and its Regulations;
4. The Chief of Police will discipline any police officer who contravenes this policy.
On August 9th, the first rainbow crosswalk in Burnaby, BC was vandalized. The outline of the graffiti comes from an antisemitic meme and the dot in the question mark is a Star of David. The alt-right neo-Nazis believe in a Jewish conspiracy to promote lgbtq+ rights, which they view as degenerate. In context, this is both an antisemitic and anti-lgbtq+ hate crime.
The Worldwide Coalition Against Islam failed to hold a rally in Toronto on August 12th in the face of a planned counter-demonstration and far-right infighting. Instead, an anti-hate rally was held at Nathan Phillips Square. Coverage of the victory against the WCAI was overshadowed by coverage of an incident during the event in which an anti-racist demonstrator took a photographer’s hat, laying hands on him in the process. That individual has been charged with assault.
Also on August 12th, ID Canada (Identity Canada), a group associated with the alt-right movement with chapters across Canada, did a surprise banner drop over the Don Valley Parkway.
The Soldiers of Odin claimed they would use force to break up a homeless encampment in Nanaimo, BC on August 19th. The SOO were a no show. Some opponents of the camp came to protest anyways, and were outnumbered by anti-racist demonstrators.
The National Citizens Alliance held a 5-person strong demonstration in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also on August 19th. They were outnumbered by 60-80 counter-demonstrators.
The NCA warns about what they call ‘extreme multiculturalism’. Its founder, Stephen Garvey, is a regular speaker at anti-Muslim rallies and has stood alongside the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, which calls Muslims sewage, scum, and has called for their execution.
Toronto’s anti-fascist and anti-racist community held a community BBQ on Sunday to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the riot at Christie Pits. In 1933, a group called the ‘Pit Gang’ unfurled a swastika banner at a baseball game. Jewish and Italian immigrants fought back, reinforcements were called, and the brawl lasted for six hours.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network is deeply concerned that Faith Goldy, a prominent figure in the alt-right movement who associates with neo-Nazis, has registered to run in Toronto’s mayoral campaign.
Formerly a Rebel Media personality, Goldy was fired after she appeared on a podcast associated with the alt-right neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where Heather Heyer was murdered by a neo-Nazi.
Goldy shares neo-Nazi talking points and slogans such as the infamous Fourteen Words coined by the leader of the neo-Nazi group The Order, which was responsible for the murder of radio host Alan Berg.
Goldy has been associating with members of Students for Western Civilization, which is named in the Alt-Right Montreal leaked chat logs that led to the expose of Montreal neo-Nazi ‘Zeiger’. The logs reveal that the leader of Students for Western Civilization met the Alt-Right Montreal crew in person and was in their internal chat room. They provided ‘security’ for Goldy when she was invited for a talk at Wilfrid Laurier University in March, organized by Lindsay Shepherd and the Laurier Students for Open Inquiry.
Goldy has been kicked off fundraising platforms, like Patreon, which cited her sincere recital of the Fourteen Words in its explanation. Last week she retweeted a tweet from a 4chan account referencing an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish people control finance and the media: “As shown by the deplatforming of @FaithGoldy, the financial system is run by a nasty group of people that has controlled the will of the people for far too long.”
Her activism also targets Muslims and other non-white Canadians and she has called for another crusade in the Middle East.
“We expect her to try to use her Mayoral run as a platform to spread hate,” says Amira Elghawaby, board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. “She should not be invited to debates and we call on the Mayoral candidates to pass on any debates where she will be present so not to legitimize her hateful ideology and alt-right neo-Nazi supporters.”
The other host behind Canada's largest neo-Nazi podcast is a former cosplayer from Ottawa. He's now 31 and was spreading serious hate to a large audience before the Canadian Anti-Hate Network/VICE investigation shut them down.