Less than a week after the start of Shia LaBeouf’s nonstop anti-Trump live stream, “He Will Not Divide Us,” the space has become an online target for Donald Trump supporters and neo-Nazis. BuzzFeed has a detailed report on groups congregating on 4chan and chat platform Discord to disrupt the peaceful exhibit in real life.
The stream, which is the combined effort of LaBeouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö, and Luke Turner, began on January 20th at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image and is expected to run for the duration of Trump’s four-year presidency. During its short run so far, the stream has primarily been filled with people gathering, in groups or alone, to repeat the phrase “he will not divide us.” Occasionally, LaBeouf will step in to rally people or repeat the phrase with them. An unofficial Twitter account for the project has been tweeting various clips and images from the project.
But the anti-Trump stream has predictably drawn the ire of groups online affiliated with both the president and white supremacists. In one of the most notable instances so far, a clip posted on January 22nd, a man wearing what appears to be a SS M43 field cap steps into frame and says “1488,” a phrase combining two white supremacist numeric symbols, directly into the camera. The “14 Words” slogan refers to "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,” while 88 is shorthand for “Heil Hitler.” LaBeouf gets involved, and as he screams directly (but non-violently) into the man’s face, the white supremacist can be heard saying “we must secure the position of the white people...”
Although this particular confrontation remained peaceful, BuzzFeed reports further incidents sparked by conversations on Discord and 4chan. In one instance, men in masks cut up a stuffed animal on-stream, while others have shown up with “Make America Great Again” signs, Pepe logos, or Trump-labeled gear. With the cameras rolling, it’s easy to make examples or statements that can easily go viral. On Inauguration Day, a video of white supremacist Richard Spencer getting punched in the head quickly spawned its own meme. Conflicts at the museum so far have not led to any actual violence, but BuzzFeed says that protestors’ information is being recorded on a neo-Nazi wiki page.
Some of the tactics used by online harassers so far — ordering mass amounts of food to the museum with no one to pay — are standard techniques frequently used with doxxing victims. The Verge contacted the Museum of the Moving Image for comment and will update this story accordingly.
What makes this particular case unusual is that these online discussions are prompting participants to actually get offline and take action in person — more so than the armchair attacks of food pranks or even the far more dangerous swatting attempt. In that way, it bears a similarity to to the Pizzagate fiasco in 2016, in which online conspiracy theorists managed to push online rumors into real-life action.
Update February 1st, 9:34AM ET: This piece has been updated to include Turner and Rönkkö’s role in the project.