Thump quotes one 4chan user who, in a thread that has since expired, asked others to report spaces like Ghost Ship to police and fire departments. The idea is that some of these spaces — as was the case with Ghost Ship — will be in violation of building codes and can be shut down as safety risks. The poster reportedly called the spaces “hotbeds of liberal radicalism and degeneracy” and encourages users to “watch [liberal activists] and follow them into their hives.”
Thump’s report quotes several commenters who eagerly joined this cause, encouraging each other to “look on college communities, facebook groups, and music forums [sic],” and “try searching for keywords like queer and safespace [sic].” One user posted a list of Washington DC-area spaces that “need to be sorted through” and argued that inauguration day protests will be “sowing drug fueled chaos,” and “must be quelled.”
In another thread, posters label themselves a “Right Wing Safety Squad” — something akin to guardian angels, preventing “unwitting leftists from getting themselves killed.” In this thread, one poster lists every space they’ve reported, including anarchist collectives, comedy clubs, co-ops, music spaces, and LGBTQ safe spaces in places like Salt Lake City, Austin, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Savannah, and even Vancouver.
The efforts are reminiscent of “swattings” that happened during Gamergate — a practice in which groups on 4chan or Reddit would falsely call the police or even the FBI on people they considered their online enemies, reporting crimes or emergencies severe enough that law enforcement would storm their homes. This time their aim is at the organization level, and law enforcement’s ability to adapt will be limited. They can’t consider ignoring tips of unsafe conditions in these spaces after the Oakland tragedy.
Thump’s report proved timely last night when Brooklyn club the Experiment Comedy Gallery was shut down by the New York Fire Department. A surprise inspection was kicked off from an anonymous tip, but owner Mo Fathelbab told Brokelyn he believes a far-right comedian he recently banned from the space was the tipster. The comedian, Louie Bee, sent a string of tweets to President-elect Donald Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday, promising to produce a comedy show that would “slam the SJW leftist bullshit in Brooklyn.” Bee denied that he sent the tip or knew about the tip, telling Brokelyn that he’s “semi-against” the 4chan movement to shut down community art spaces and DIY venues.
Fathelbab says he’s looking for a new venue to host The Experiment Comedy’s 31-hour “Fuck Donald Trump” comedy marathon, which is scheduled for inauguration weekend.