Andy Ngo runs interference for fascist terrorists. Jesse Morton runs interference for Andy Ngo. Andy Ngo tries to get people who oppose fascism killed—and Jesse Morton tells people who oppose fascism they deserve to die.
Andy Ngo doxxes people. While an editor at Quillette, an “intellectual dark web” online magazine that promotes literal race science, he helped put journalists on a neo-Nazi terror cell’s kill list. Ngo spent years as the de facto propagandist for Patriot Prayer, a violent Christian fascist group with a body count of four. When Patriot Prayer attacked Cider Riot in Portland, Ngo was there to “report” on it. He didn’t mention Patriot Prayer pre-planning the attack, which he witnessed. Instead, Ngo chose to doxx a woman who had her spine broken by fascist Ian Kramer’s baton. Ngo has deadnamed trans people, deliberately misgenders them, and in general tries to disprove the idea that hate crimes are real. (For an excellent rebuttal to Ngo’s false claim, see this Twitter thread by far right expert David Neiwert). Anyone unlucky enough to meet Ngo’s public disapproval gets their face and name plastered on Ngo’s social media and falls victim to his over hundred thousand Twitter followers. These followers send Ngo’s victims death threats and harass them. It is increasingly likely that Ngo’s form of stochastic terrorism will result in a murder committed by one of his enraged followers.
If Light Upon Light’s founder Jesse Morton were acting in good faith, he would have had done his due diligence and recognized that Ngo profits from spreading hate and stoking extremists’ resentments. All of this background on Ngo has been available for months–and Morton knew it.
In September, Light Upon Light published an interview in which LUL employee Samantha Kutner interviews Portland-based antifascist group PopMob. In it, PopMob activists accurately lay out how Ngo operates in bad faith and targets people. Kutner has confronted Ngo on Twitter before and even repeated the popular and factually accurate meme, “Andy Ngo is a threat to our community and provides kill lists for Attomwaffen.“
Morton had no excuse not to do his due diligence before associating with Ngo. And yet he had no problem meeting with Ngo last November after the latter gave a talk at the Heritage Foundation. Morton even called Ngo a “nice guy” and said he was open-minded. When pressed, Morton did say that “the accusations against [Andy Ngo] may be somewhat warranted,” before couching the statement in obfuscating CVE-speak that only served to further Morton’s “both sides” line. “Both sidesism” is a reductive rhetorical sleight of hand that bad actors like Morton often use to say the people who fight fascists are somehow just as bad as fascists.
In January, Ngo published an article about Antifash Gordon (AFG), a high-profile antifascist researcher who has outed numerous members of the Proud Boys, Atomwaffen, American Identity Movement, and other hate groups. The article weaponized old allegations (addressed by AFG on this Twitter thread) in order to disparage AFG’s character and thereby justify allegedly doxxing AFG and their family to thousands of people who want to hurt or kill them.
Absurdly, Jesse Morton is cited heavily in Ngo’s article, essentially to say that doxxing is wrong. In the article, Morton says that outing someone as a member of a hate group only gives fuel to hate groups’ “victimization narratives;” an asinine claim given hate groups already use anything and everything to frame themselves as victims and their victims as aggressors. Morton also claims that somehow people are more willing to join hate groups after seeing others getting doxxed and fired for participating in them, an assertion completed unsupported by any serious research studies.
The antifascist community was alarmed by Ngo’s article. While Ngo has gone after individuals before, this is the first time to our knowledge that he’s targeted someone’s family as well. Further controversy, which we won’t cover in detail here, erupted when allegations of a supposed alt-right-funded bounty for AFG’s doxx started circulating on Twitter at the same time as fame-hungry Nazi trolls began to claim credit for the alleged doxx. Those allegations are beyond what the authors of this blog feel is necessary to cover at the time, but we encourage everyone not to make or uncritically accept any claims without evidence.
For the goal of this blog, we believe it is most important to note that Morton’s willingness to provide credibility as an “expert voice” for Ngo at all is damning and discrediting. But Morton went further: he helped Ngo get a pass to target someone’s family. Morton’s actions show that he is willing to look the other way with fascist propagandists like Ngo, and therefore that Morton isn’t able to judge peoples’ characters competently enough to do deradicalization work.
In the aftermath of Ngo’s article and the subsequent allegations around the supposed bounty, Morton began making a series of increasingly bizarre and hostile statements. First he took to Light Upon Light’s Medium account to make a number of false claims in order to deflect blame from himself for aiding Ngo. In the Medium post, Morton repeatedly misgenders Antifash Gordon’s accuser. Morton lays a blanket denial over all allegations against LUL and flatly refuses to accept any responsibility for aiding Andy Ngo.
“My interview with [Andy Ngo] was done without prior knowledge of the abuse, so I do not apologize for doing it,” Morton says.
After refusing to take responsibility for anything, Morton goes on to claim at length that AFG isn’t taking responsibility for what happened with their accuser, insinuating, with absolutely no evidence, that a campaign of harassment against the accuser was directed by AFG. This line of attack conveniently derails the relevant issue: Morton and Ngo’s actions in weaponizing the accuser’s statement against AFG. Morton’s statement is padded out with misused accountability language that shades into psychobabble, such as this narcissistic line: “As the cofounder of @lighttuponlight, I am accountable… for anything that might play a role in harming another individual.”
Later that day, Jesse’s public statements began to sound less high-minded and more angry and unhinged. “I’ll be off twitter for the next two weeks to see if my daddy, who got me my job, can salvage it,” Morton said in reply to AFG’s statement.
To clarify, this tweet taunts Antifash Gordon by referring Andy Ngo’s alleged doxx of their family.
If that wasn’t enough, Morton replied to a comment AFG made about LUL’s funding with a vague threat. “Come see me!” he said.
This wasn’t the end of Morton lashing out at antifascists. Later the same day, Morton got into a long, heated exchange with several people, calling them “simpletons,” “spoiled, white priveleged [sic] kids,” (ironic considering the role of his own white privilege in avoiding long sentencing for terror charges) and “crazed lunatics.” One of the people he was arguing with was prominent antifascist, journalist and Charlottesville-based activist Molly Conger. Conger, it should be said, persists in her work in the face of constant threats of death and rape from neo-Nazis including Paul Nehlen, Christopher Cantwell and the “Bowl Patrol”–– a cult dedicated to worshipping mass murderer Dylann Roof.
In the exchange, Conger said she believes the factually correct assertion that Andy Ngo “is a threat to our community who provides kill lists to Atomwaffen.”
“And then you are just as full of oversimplistic heuristic bias as all these other spoiled white privileged kids,” Morton replied.
“No, I’m someone who is on an Atomwaffen kill list, Jesse,” Conger retorted.
“Live by the sword…” Morton said.
The full biblical proverb Morton references is “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” Morton means here that Conger deserves to be on an Atomwaffen kill list. There is no other way to interpret this.
Andy Ngo liked Morton’s tweets.
In case he deletes public tweets, as he often does after fits of rage, we have archived many of them. He threatens Molly Conger, insults her, insults her again, refers to members of fascist organizations as “our numbers“, denies that Andy Ngo is even an extremist, and attacks a Charlottesville UTR survivor by accusing them of lying about their extensively documented experiences with Nazi terror attacks.
Saying that Light Upon Light counters violent extremism is like saying “ANTIFA are the real fascists”; it’s meaningless doublespeak only fascists believe. Jesse Morton isn’t just a grifter laundering hatemongers for public consumption. He is actively, personally aiding and abetting a stochastic terrorist in his attacks on innocent people, and when antifascists try to hold him to account, Morton tells them they deserve to be killed by neo-Nazis.
We call on everyone who now works with or has worked with Light Upon Light and Jesse Morton to disavow them now if they haven’t already. Those who don’t should expect to be considered collaborators with fascism and apologists for stochastic terror.
We also call on Mitch Silber, co-founder of Light Upon Light and former Director of Intelligence Analysis at the New York City Police Department, to deliver a statement as to the behavior of his protégé and clarify his current role in Light Upon Light.