Neo-Nazis and white supremacists on Twitter and 4chan express delight in finding a new potential ally
Neo-Nazis and white nationalists online have flocked to the support of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after he included a perceived Nazi dog whistle in a tweet posted last Friday. The post included the numbers 14 and 88 close to one another, resembling the numerical signifier “1488,” which represents the 14 words and 88, which is numerical code for HH, or “Heil Hitler.”
Kennedy’s perceived call to white supremacists spurred a series of racist and violent speech from users on Twitter (now called “X”) and 4chan. In some cases, it was taken as a call-to-action for neo-Nazi mobilization, while others were elated at the prospect of another white supremacist ally in government.
As one example, Dago Supremacy, an account with over 30,000 followers, tweeted a screenshot of Kennedy’s statement with the caption “14 days for request? 88 days no response??? Message received ” Dago’s tweet, at the time of publication, has amassed over 300,000 views, 400 retweets, and 4700 likes.
Neo-Nazi reactions to Dago’s affirmation of the dog whistle included “message received Israel will fall,” “HH, brother,” “1488, brother,” and “*ieg *eil” (Sieg heil) along with “We must secure the safety of our President and a future for American children,” a reference to the 14 words, and “What’s more based, DeSantis Black Sun or Kennedy 1488?”, referencing a video posted by a Ron DeSantis staff member featuring the Black Sun, a Nazi symbol made popular by Heinrich Himmler. Similarly, a now-deleted account posted a photoshopped picture of Kennedy with a Black Sun in the background.
White supremacist Twitter and 4chan users began to declare Kennedy as “/ourguy/,” which is slang originating from 4chan meaning that he aligns with their extremist views. A thread on 4chan titled “RFK Jr goes 1488,” for example, had responses that included quotes from Adolf Hitler and support for RFK Jr. becoming “/ourguy/.” Not every 4chan user was on board, with some expressing that Kennedy’s support for Israel makes him “the most pro Zionist candidate in US history,” and therefore not one of their own. Support for Kennedy by white supremacists heavily outweighed any dissent, culminating in users showing their support for mobilization, and in some cases, advocating for violence.
Kennedy’s new-found white supremacist supporters made it clear that they would mobilize, if need be, due to his perceived neo-Nazi sympathies. A common response on Twitter echoed the same rhetoric used by Donald Trump during a presidential debate where he reference the violent white supremacist groups the Proud Boys, saying “stand back and stand by.” “East Coast Elitist” tweeted “Standing by with 1488 unvaxxed super soldiers ”, while others, like “Paid’olf Lift’ler,” said “Standing down but standing bye (sic) mein leader.” Consistent with references to Trump’s message to the Proud Boys, some users like “Liquid H” posted explicit calls-to-violence, like one that shows a man with a gun saying “I’ll handle them, Mr. President” next to Kennedy saying “These are horrible, horrible people…1488 btw.”
This isn’t the first time Kennedy has made comments that appeal to white supremacists. Recently, he spread a conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 pandemic was meant to “attack Caucasians and Black people” while “Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese” were more immune to it. These allegations were endorsed by numerous neo-Nazis on their social media accounts, like Thomas Sewell, The Western Chauvinist Telegram channel, and the neo-Nazi internet forum “Frens Chan.”
With Twitter refusing to act against racist, homophobic, neo-Nazi, anti-semitic, and conspiratorial content, it has once again demonstrated how its uninformed and profit-first policy is instrumental in creating neo-Nazi echo chambers, aiding in the radicalization process, and increasing the threat of violence through the platforming of extremist rhetoric.