More details

In Conversation with Douglass Mackey

Noor Bin Ladin

In Conversation with Douglass Mackey

For those of us acutely aware of the predicament we find ourselves in, stating that free speech is hanging on by a thread in the West is an understatement. Whether overtly or covertly, freedom of expression is under assault on all fronts. Corporations, intel agencies, think thanks, international organizations, our own governments and courts, are all in on it. They write policies, “recommendations”, international regulations to fight “disinformation” and “misinformation”. They subvert national laws to censor populations. Big Tech colludes to “visibility filter” content online or outright ban it. Institutional lapdogs character assassinate “dissenters” and in some cases, people get arrested and sent to jail. Sadly, such cases are on the rise.

Since 2016, Douglass Mackey has been on the receiving end of this mighty attack for the “crime” of “shitposting” on the Internet. Due to his effectiveness during the meme wars of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, his anon account on Twitter was targeted. First came the ban, followed by the doxxing, and then the arrest. Those of us who cherish the First Amendment have paid close attention to Douglass’ case, and the grave implications for the future of free speech in America should the justice system fail him.

Thankfully, Douglass is standing up to these egregious charges. In this exclusive interview for MAN’S WORLD, we discuss the details of his case and next steps as he appeals his conviction and 7 months jail sentence. Douglass also shares how this ordeal has affected him personally. I came away from our conversation inspired by his fighting spirit and bravery in taking on this battle on behalf of all of us. I am sure you will be too.


Douglass, can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what led you to support Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

Sure. I’m 34 years old and I was born in Washington, D. C. My family lived in Colorado and then Vermont, where I attended a small school in Middlebury, Middlebury College. I then moved to New York City and worked there for five or six years. It was when I was living in NYC that I created a Twitter account, “@RickyVaughn99.” That was about a year before Trump ran for office. Trump announced he was running, and that’s when I got behind him.

I didn’t really know anything about Trump and didn’t understand that he was running a serious candidacy until his announcement. But I was really attracted to his populist message, railing against political correctness and speaking to a lot of issues that were off topic that the elites didn’t want to focus on, like trade, immigration, failed foreign policy. That was what really attracted me to Trump. Later on down the road, I posted the two infamous memes in November 2016 that said, “get out to vote for Hillary, text your vote to this number.” It was just two memes that I had found on 4chan and thought were humorous. I thought maybe it would get a rise out of some people, or maybe not, to be quite honest with you.

Five years later, I was arrested for posting those memes, seven days after Joe Biden was inaugurated. I was convicted of a conspiracy to deprive citizens of their right to vote. And after I was convicted, the judge sentenced me to seven months in prison. She completely summarily denied our appeal or ask for a bond. And we didn’t even file a motion. There was no hearing. She just denied it outright. So we went to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals with my appellate team. And we appealed the bond decision, which was overturned. So I’m out on bond and waiting on the oral arguments for the appeal of my case in the Second Circuit, which will be April 5th. My appellate team has turned in all the motions necessary for this appeal. I live in Florida now with my wife and my young son, just waiting for the appeal and to move on with life.


Let’s unpack all the above and start from the beginning. You mentioned your family living in Colorado and then Vermont. Would you say you came from a conservative background growing up? Were you naturally inclined to Trump’s messaging?

My background was from a more moderate, liberal family. Nothing too extreme, just sort of middle of the road. During the Bush years, I was attracted to the anti war message, the protest movement against Bush, probably because I lived in Vermont. It was a very active movement. In college, I became more of a libertarian. It was after college that I became more of a conservative, and then found that Trump’s message resonated with me.


So you started the account before Trump announced he was running. Were you already posting political content at that point?

A little bit. I was posting political content, memes, just any kind of interesting stuff I found with a small little tiny community. It was really inconsequential, but then once Trump announced he was running for office, that’s when things really took off.


What was your day job when you were moonlighting as an online meme poster in New York?

I was working as an analyst at a very small economic consulting firm in Brooklyn. We did a lot of economic modelling and that sort of thing, mostly for industrial clients, trade associations.


In June 2015, Trump announces he’s running and your Twitter account Ricky Vaughn picks up steam. You’re named in this study published by MIT’s Media Labs in February 2016 as one of the most influential accounts of the election. You were very effective during the famous meme wars.

Yes, that’s accurate. It had to do with the primary at the time, mostly the Republican primary, so it was getting a lot of attention. The MIT study, it’s a funny kind of a methodology, but I think they were just counting impressions, retweets and replies and that sort of thing. Back in those days it was a smaller core group that was engaged. The general election didn’t even kick off for three or four or five more months after that. So during the primary and in the meme wars, I would say it was getting a lot of engagement.


It was a fun time I bet.

Yeah, absolutely. It was a lot of fun.


At the time you were tweeting from your account @RickyVaughn99 and you were really effective in reaching people. They banned that account, and shortly after, they banned your other account @TheRickyVaughn, because of those two memes that you didn’t even create. You had found them on 4chan, and posted them just a few days before the November election, and then you got suspended. Why was your first account banned?

@RickyVaughn99 was my first account, and they banned that one a month before the election. It had about 62,000 followers. They never gave a reason, but the pretext back then was targeted harassment, where it’s like, if you talked about somebody in a negative way then they could consider that targeted harassment and ban you. The account that posted the memes, my second account, @TheRickyVaughn, had about 14,000 followers. That one got banned as well, specifically for posting those two memes.


So officially, they came after you legally solely on the basis of these two memes posted from that second account?

Right. Exactly. They used previous tweets as evidence, but I mean, none of that was illegal or considered illegal.


Before we get into your case, can you tell us how and when the Huffington Post first doxxed you, and how that impacted your life?

It was in 2018, about April or March. The Huffington Post doxed me, for the first time ever. That had to do with some, let’s say, aggrieved or embittered former acquaintances. One was a congressional candidate and the other a documentary filmmaker. The two of them teamed up with the Huffington Post to doxx me. The Huffington Post had been working on the dox for a long time, and then they were able to confirm it with these two people basically.


What happened after you were doxxed?

It was a big situation. It was probably, at that point in my life, the most difficult thing I ever had to deal with. It was the catalyst for me to basically leave the Northeast (I had already left New York City and I was back home living in Vermont), go down to Florida, and start the next chapter of my life. The fallout was extremely difficult to deal with. It damaged my relationships with my family, severed a lot of relationships with friends, especially college friends…

I was fortunate that a few relationships did survive and that I was able to rebuild relationships with my family or most of them, but that was a process that took a long time. It’s very difficult to be on the other end of one of these things, but I would say the silver lining is, now being on the other end of this, if you go through it, you come out of it a lot stronger. I was able to restart and rebuild my life, probably from a better foundation than it had.


The hardship came from the fact that close people around you, didn’t understand your political inclination, and your choice of supporting President Trump?

Well, yeah, that’s part of it. The other part is just that I posted a lot of stuff on the original account that was very politically incorrect, very sort of offensive and caustic. You know, at times sincere, at times satirical, or just provocative. Some of these posts were featured in the Huffington Post article, and that caused a big fallout with people that were offended by it, or who didn’t understand it entirely. So that was the big problem. It was the most difficult thing to deal with, especially with close family.


How did you recover from that fall out?

Unfortunately, I lost friendships. With family, since you can’t choose family, it’s harder in a way, but at the same time, you know, you can mend those relationships fortunately. But yeah, that was very difficult. I had to restart my life on a better path and get my life sorted out a little bit. I headed down to Florida, took a job at a law firm to sort of transition. I worked there for two years. Like I said earlier, it was a crisis, but there was an opportunity within the crisis.


That’s great. We’re talking about the time frame between spring 2018 and January 2021. During those years, you’re in Florida rebuilding your life, working at this law firm. Politically, how involved are you, if at all? Are you still following what’s going on?

During this time period I was taking a break. I was following politics but I wasn’t really engaged or participating. I wasn’t running any sort of social media accounts or anything like that. I was sort of on a hiatus. I didn’t have a social media account after 2018 for a couple of years.


What were your thoughts on the 2020 “election”?

Let me just put it this way, I thought it was pretty questionable how everything went down. I mean, it was obviously very suspicious how everything happened with the vote count shutting down in the middle of the night. This was sort of textbook UN criteria for an illegitimate election, which is mass mail-in balloting, the polling stations closing for the counting etc.


What about the level of lawfare going on and the weaponization of the national security state against President Trump? And of course, January 6? Were you watching that closely and aware there was something really wrong with how the Federal Government was targeting American citizens?

Oh, yeah, absolutely. But I didn’t really know how far they would actually go until I got the knock on the door at 7 a.m. from the FBI. You know, they started arresting the people from January 6th, and I kind of expected that they would arrest some of the people that were rioting. But then we saw the full extent of the J6 thing, the lengths that they would be willing to go to arrest people, even the ones that just walked into the building and walked out, and the overcharging, the over-sentencing. That hadn’t fully unrolled quite yet. All the investigations and attacks on Trump too. I knew that they could go to great lengths, but the extent of it really hit me once I was arrested. That’s when I knew that basically all bets were off.


Let’s talk about your case. The Biden regime is installed on the 20th of January 2021. Two days later, unbeknownst to you, charges are filed against you. A few days later at 7 a. m., four FBI agents and six other law enforcement officers raid your home in Florida and arrest you. At that moment, did you have any idea as to why? Did you have even an inkling?

No, I had no idea why they were arresting me. I thought that they had just come up with some trumped up charges. I mean, I know that what they can do—but I had no idea what they were arresting me for.


So the memes don’t even enter your mind?

No, no, no, of course not.


I can’t imagine how surreal that moment must have been. Listening to your interview with Tucker and you describing that moment they came to arrest you at 7am and brought you to jail and put these leg irons on you—What are you thinking throughout this whole process until they let you go?

What are the charges here? What could they possibly be? I had no idea what the charges could be. And I didn’t know if they had made some kind of mistake, because I wasn’t in the Capitol for January 6th. I wasn’t even in D. C., and had nothing to do with January 6th. So I was like, did they make some kind of mistake? Or are they just trying to prove a point? I really had no idea.


But you had that thought process, “It can’t be January 6th because I wasn’t there. You actually thought about that?

Yeah, I was like, what’s going on? You know, I wasn’t in D. C., so why are they arresting me?


Can you walk us through what happens after the raid, those few hours where you were at the courthouse in West Palm Beach?

So the judge releases me on a signature bond, right? Basically, you don’t have to put up any money. You just have to sign your name and say you’ll forfeit, whatever, $50,000 if you jump bail. So, of course, what the FBI tells you when they arrest you—because they want to make their own job easier—is, “Oh yeah, you don’t need to bring your stuff”, right? Don’t bring your stuff, because then they have to put it into a locker and write it down and then give it to you at the end, so they tell you not to take any of your stuff so that they don’t have to do any of that. And they they say, “Okay, you’re free to go”, take the leg irons off. I was in West Palm beach with no wallet, no cell phone, no nothing. My friends who were there weren’t sure what was going on at the time or how long it would take, so they had left. Fortunately, I was able to get a ride home with a nice guy, a Haitian cabbie who took me to my apartment. I then got my wallet and went to the ATM so that I could pay the guy. So that’s what happened.

I should rewind a little bit though. Once they took me out of the leg irons, they gave a copy of the complaint. And I’m reading this complaint and I couldn’t believe it. Because what they’re putting in this complaint, first of all, that I posted these memes, well I could vaguely recall posting those memes. But then it was a bunch of DM groups and chats and conversations that I had no recollection of because I wasn’t involved in any of these chats. And they were putting things in there like, “Oh, they, this group of people,” it wasn’t necessarily criminal, but they would say as a background, right? They call it background. “Oh, they created a meme that said Hillary Clinton is going to draft Whether daughters to go fight overseas or in Russia,” or whatever. And it was just political, pure political activity. Whether satirical or not even satirical, it was pure political activity, that they were using as the background for their complaint. So this was just surreal. The injury to free speech was obvious when I first started reading this complaint, it was just unbelievable.


Looking at the details of your case, you’ve been charged of conspiring to violate the enforcement act of 1870, 18 U.S.C. § 241, a law which targeted members of the Ku Klux Klan. Can you explain the reasoning (if we can call it that) of their argument?

Right. It’s really unbelievable. So it’s a conspiracy against civil rights. What this statute says is when two or more people conspire to injure, intimidate, threaten, or oppress anyone in the exercise of their civil rights. The allegation in my case is that I conspired to injure people in the process of voting because I sent out a satirical meme, a joke meme, saying that you can text your vote for Hillary Clinton. So right off the bat, you look at that, you ask “What is the injury here?” I mean, you’re thinking of people beating other people up as they are on their way to the polls. You know, let’s say freed slaves, African Americans, back then. That’s what you’re thinking of when you see this act. It’s the Ku Klux Klan Act. That was the basis for the charges.


When you read something like this, what are you thinking?

I couldn’t believe it. It was surreal. My mind was going through all the scenarios, but there was never any question that they’re charging me with a single felony that I was not guilty of. So there was never any question in my mind that we’re going to fight the charges all the way. A lot of people take pleas with the Federal Government on a misdemeanor, because it’s actually not really a big deal. A lot of times they’ll plead guilty to a crime they didn’t do, because it’s just a misdemeanor. But they charged me with a felony, and so there was no question that I was going to fight the charges.


You have to fight the charges because otherwise you allow them to set a precedent.

Exactly. There’s a higher principle at stake. This is not just about me. This is about liberty and the rights of the American people.


I agree with you, there is no other option here. Coming back to the memes. I’m sorry, but you have to be really dumb if you actually believe that by texting the number, you’re going to be able to vote in a presidential election. I mean, it’s so obviously fake and just a meme. That’s the first thing. The second thing is, apparently they tracked down the people that did text that number. There were a few thousand, 4,000 or 5,000 if I’m not mistaken. And none of them took it seriously and came forward saying that “Yes, harm had been caused or whatever”.

Exactly. This is the length that they will go and the resources that they will consume, on this side of a prosecution of course. The reason I know this is because I have access to the discovery. Essentially, they went around the Eastern District of New York, knocking on people’s doors and asking, “Did you text your vote in 2016?” They interviewed these people and most of them didn’t even recall texting the number. Basically,, nobody said “I fell for it”. Everybody said, “Are you kidding me?” Like, “Why would I fall for this? I’m not that stupid.” They also went and then pulled the voting records for these people, and most of them voted. If they had a track record of voting, almost all of them did—I think one of them didn’t vote in 2016 and that person didn’t have a track record of voting. They couldn’t find a single person who actually said, “Yes, I was fooled. I texted my vote and then I didn’t go and cast a ballot because I thought this was legitimate”.


And despite this, the Brooklyn jury still convicted you.

Right. After four days of deliberations and two deadlocks, they came out with a conviction on Friday afternoon, which is really kind of sad because that’s the point where they’re just thinking about going home to their family for the weekend.


Before we get into the verdict, can you tell us why this was being tried in New York in the first place?

Right. The case was being tried in the Eastern District of New York. That is Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, and Long Island. However, I was living in the Southern District of New York at the time I posted the memes. So the New York Field Office of the FBI put all these resources into investigating this case. And then I guess that the SDNY didn’t care for it for one reason or another. It’s possible that the SDNY just didn’t care about this case. So they brought it to Eastern District of New York, even though there was no connection to that venue.

Why? We don’t know exactly why they brought the case there. But there was no connection to the Eastern District of New York. The only connection that the government tried to say there was is that, well, number one, it’s a reasonable outcome that they could prove that someone had seen the memes in Brooklyn, which they didn’t prove at trial. Number two, they also tried to argue that it was reasonably foreseeable that the memes could be broadcast into Brooklyn. However, under that theory, they could have been broadcast into Alaska, or Hawaii, anywhere in the country. Number three, they said, “Well, the tweets go over wires to go to the Twitter servers, and those wires go underneath the river or over the bridge surrounding Manhattan. And the Eastern District of New York shares jurisdiction over those waters with the Southern District. So they said that because the tweets were zapped over these wires, they could bring this case in Brooklyn. But that is a direct violation of the Constitution, because the Constitution says that if you’re accused of a crime, you have the right to be tried in the state and the district in which the alleged crime was committed. The reason for that is because during the Revolution, colonists were being dragged to England and being tried for whatever, sedition or treason, in England in Star Chamber. That’s why the Founders put venue into the Constitution. That’s a huge, huge part of our appeal. It was improper.


Unbelievable. So it’s Friday afternoon, and sadly, as you said, people just want to get home to their families for the weekend. So they come out with this verdict. What was your reaction when you heard it?

I would say that while I was not expecting an outright acquittal, we were very hopeful. When I say we, it’s my team, my lawyers, my close supporters. We were very hopeful that the jury would deadlock. They were clearly some very serious people on the jury. Very good people. And, you know, you could see it on their faces when they came back that they didn’t want to convict. The jury came back twice and told the judge “We don’t have a verdict. We’re deadlocked”. However, what the courts have allowed in this country is for an Allen charge to be read. And the Allen charge is where the judge says to the jury, “Look, everybody spent a lot of time and money and resources on this case. We don’t want you to change your mind unless it’s a deeply held conviction, but go back and really try hard to come up with a verdict.” And at that point, you can see the jurors squirming in their seats, feeling like they’ve done something wrong, right? They feel like they’re being shamed, and that they are costing the government all this money, all these people in these suits, these stiff suits and this process and all these government agents, FBI etc. They feel like they’re on the hot seat.

So the jury went back one last time and came out with a conviction. Looking back, being doxed was an extremely difficult period of my life. And the trial itself was also extremely difficult, especially because you’re just sitting there watching it all take place. It’s exhausting. For nine hours a day or eight hours a day, and then during the jury deliberation, you’re just sitting in the courthouse doing nothing. Reading the newspaper, waiting for them to come back with a verdict. It’s extremely exhausting. Then after the verdict came out, I would say I wasn’t that surprised by it, honestly. Just because of the resources that the government is willing to deploy, the judge’s attitude towards the case, and the fact that they even allowed it to go to trial, I just wasn’t that surprised at the verdict.


What happened next?

After that, we had some post-trial motions to try to overturn the verdict. That failed, so we went to the sentencing which is where I got the seven months in prison, and then it’s another waiting game. All right, January 18. That’s the reporting date to prison But they were going to wait until the Second Circuit Court of Appeals had considered the bond appeal, right? So then it’s like, what are they going to do about the appeal? More suspense, more waiting, and more expense. Honestly, it’s very expensive just to file a simple bond appeal. The amount of legal research and writing that goes into it is unbelievable. So it’s just a long, tedious, expensive process, but just as with the doxxing, if there’s a silver lining, it’s that this has definitely hardened me. It’s made me become a stronger person. You also find out who your real friends are. Overall, it’s an enlightening process.


How does it make you feel that you’re being used as a pawn by the Federal Government to set a legal precedent to go after political opponents and squash free speech online?

It’s infuriating. It feels so infuriating. It’s not so much the process, prosecutors come after you for a crime, whatever. I mean, that’s something that most of us can understand, but when they’re trying to use this as the camel’s nose under the tent to try to get rid of free speech… We have the First Amendment in this country; however,, they’re constantly trying to circumvent it. For instance, with the big tech companies, the Federal Government can’t censor directly so they say to their partners in the private sector, “Well, look at this tweet. Doesn’t this violate your terms of service? Shouldn’t you remove this COVID misinformation, vaccine misinformation?” etc. So they’re constantly trying to chisel around the First Amendment. And there are white papers proposing exactly this type of prosecution from a partisan left-wing perspective, suggesting how they can broaden this law. They had never brought this kind of a case, with this kind of law, but they’re constantly brainstorming how they can get around the First Amendment, how they can subvert the Constitution. So that’s the infuriating part of it. Besides that, it’s an honor to stand up for the First Amendment. Unfortunate circumstances, but it’s an honor.


I sense there is this clear realization on your part that this as much bigger than yourself, that you’re standing up for your country.

Yes, this is not about me. This is about principles. This is about the First Amendment. This is about whether or not we’re a free country. Because ultimately, this case is about the government being able to come after anybody for saying something online even where there’s not a clearly established violation of law. There’s no violation, I should say, of a clearly established law. There’s no clearly established law that says you can’t post “disinformation” about an election on Twitter. I mean, there’s constantly people joking about the election, Democrats vote on Tuesday, Republicans vote on Wednesday, vice versa, etc. So this doesn’t apply to election “misinformation.” Because if the principle is that they can come after you for conspiracy, for a violation of something that’s not clearly established, then they can come after anybody for any kind of speech and say it violates this or that law.

That’s a key part of our appeal, because we all know the kind of speech that is illegal. For instance, if I were to go online and conspire to harass, beat people up or threaten someone, or issue death threats against them, or if I were to go online and say, “Guys, let’s all go meet at the polling place and beat up people on their way to vote”, obviously that’s a crime. But in my case, there is no violation of a clearly established law. And then, to add insult to injury, they’re going to bring it in a completely random venue. I’m sitting here down in Florida. It’s one thing if I’m accused of a crime and my case is brought in to the Southern District of Florida. But now it’s fair game. Ninety eight different U.S. attorneys in the entire country can investigate you, bring you in for violating the law because the tweets went over wires or whatever. That’s unbelievable. This is exactly why the courts have consistently ruled that the danger, when you have these sort of speech violations, is that they can be brought selectively. They can be prosecuted selectively. There’s a lot of people making a lot of different jokes about the elections online, Democrats, Republicans, so on. Well, the Democrats can go and grab someone that they don’t like for their political views and prosecute them. If you allow that, the Republicans will do the same thing. For instance, let’s say some controversial conservative figure wants to give a speech on a college campus and the local communists say, “Well, we want to shut that speech down. We want to shut him down.” They’ll protest. Well, protesting is a First Amendment right, but in that case, it would be a conspiracy to violate the person’s First Amendment right. So this is the grey area that we’re getting into. This is the slippery slope presented by this kind of prosecution.


There are many similar cases going on at the moment in Europe. Belgian politician Dries van Langenhove was just sentenced to a year in prison for being in a group chat that shared offensive memes. In the UK, a man named Sam Milia was recently sentenced to two years in jail for putting offensive stickers in public places. So this assault on free speech is happening across the West. Being in Europe, I always looked at the U. S. as this free speech haven because of the First Amendment. But your case shows that even in the U.S., 1A is hanging on by a thread and they’re doing their utmost to squash any form of dissent.

Exactly, and what’s happening over in Europe, there’s no question that the Left would like to do that here. The only thing stopping them is the First Amendment, as you said. However, the First Amendment means nothing if the courts aren’t willing to uphold it, if prosecutors aren’t willing to respect it, if the top law schools in the nation aren’t willing to teach it. If you look at a country like the Soviet Union, of course they had rights enshrined in their constitution, written rights. But obviously those people didn’t have real rights. The courts of that country didn’t protect those rights. The police certainly didn’t respect those rights. So it was ultimately meaningless, and that’s the direction towards which we are headed if the courts don’t strike down this type of prosecution.

There’s also a direct tie-in to what’s going on over there. Apparently, the Belgian guy claims that he didn’t even send the memes. He was simply in a group chat where memes were posted. And the guy with the stickers, they’re arresting him for having offensive stickers. Well, in the US, they can’t arrest you for having offensive memes or being caught with offensive stickers. However, there’s a direct tie-in, because what they want to be able to do is character assassination. What they’ve started doing is bringing people up for charges like myself—and this has happened to other people—and then saying, “Look at this offensive meme they posted. Look at this offensive thing they said in the group chat. Look at these offensive things that they were saying.” Now, they won’t outright admit that they’re trying to do character assassination, but that’s essentially what they’re doing when they introduce these things as evidence. That’s an extremely dangerous proposition, and even the Harvard Law Review recently acknowledged that bringing in political memes and these group chats as evidence of a conspiracy is extremely chilling to free speech. Wouldn’t we rather live in a country where people feel free enough they can go into group chats and not worry that they’re going to be held liable, years later by some partisan prosecutor, for things that people are saying in there? So, while they’re not directly arresting people for memes over here, they’re really doing everything they can to subvert our rights as free Americans.


What part do you think the doxxing played in you getting arrested in 2021?

I’m not sure that they had an open investigation when the Huffington Post doxxed me, but what we’ve seen with these left-wing actors is that they’re highly networked. They can backchannel to the FBI let’s say, and ask them to open up an investigation. Or they’re going to backchannel to politicians. This Hillary meme was plastered on the floor of Congress by Senator Amy Klobuchar back in 2017 or 2018, and she was haranguing the FBI and saying, “This is a crime! This is a crime!”. So once I was doxxed, that gave them the pretext to open up the investigation, right? And then they subpoena tweets from, like, 50 people. How do these people have anything to do with any of this? Then they dig through your entire life. All of my bank statements, all of my credit-card statements, all of my paychecks from my old job. They went down and tracked down my old roommate. They interviewed all these people to try to put together this “case” just so that they can prove your intent, that you had a nefarious intent because you posted a meme that is clearly satirical. That’s a really dangerous proposition. Anybody who’s chatting in a group chat, laughing, whatever, posting memes, well, the government can go and subpoena your entire life if they feel like one of your memes is a crime and they’re going to try to prove your intent. That’s what’s unbelievable. That’s one of the really unbelievable, chilling things about this case.


Regarding online anonymity, I’m 100 percent for its preservation and find it really shocking when people like Nikki Haley or Jordan Peterson call for the banning of pseudonyms on the Internet. What are your thoughts on this issue, especially after your experience?

Well, the issue of anonymity is as American as apple pie. This goes back to the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers. We all know about Publius: many Founding Fathers were writing under pseudonyms. Mark Twain was a pseudonym. The list just goes on and on. And the irony is that in countries that we oppose, for instance Iran or China, we 100 percent advocate for pseudonymity and anonymity in those countries for precisely the reason that the government shouldn’t be cracking down on these people for expressing legitimate dissent. So the whole scare about anonymity is mostly just about people who are being embarrassed online, usually. I mean, every person who goes on Twitter has dealt with anonymous trolls or accounts, and 99 percent of the time you just ignore it if they’re not bringing any value or if they’re saying something ridiculous. But if it’s getting under your skin that much, it just means that, well, maybe they have a point. Maybe they really are embarrassing you. And that’s why I think that actors like Nikki Haley or Jordan Peterson get so upset about it.


I think that’s the more generous interpretation. The darker interpretation would be that certain of these actors are part of pushing the censorship agenda covertly, using their platforms to do so. But as you said, anonymity is central to the preservation of free speech and the ability to express dissent. As someone who values the Founders’ legacy, watching this from afar has been incredibly shocking. I cannot even imagine how this affects you, as an American, having to face the might of all of this. It’s quite a huge undertaking to say the least, and it’s commendable how you’ve stood up to take this on. What do you hope for in terms of your country and the direction it’s heading in for the next few years?

Well, it’s extremely concerning, especially when I’m looking at the people coming out of the top law schools In the country. These are the brightest minds, and these people are going and becoming judges and prosecutors and what have you. However, to be honest with you, a lot of people just fall in line with whatever the prevailing wisdom is of the day. So that can all turn on a dime, I believe. I mentioned the Harvard Law Review and their review of my case, which is really encouraging I would say, because they recognize the danger of going after this kind of political speech or political satire. They recognize that it can be flipped on them very easily depending on what kind of president comes to power for instance.

This is what the Founding Fathers were always concerned about, the problem that with a more pure form of democracy: the mob rules. It’s the reason why we live in a constitutional republic and there has to be safeguards put in place. That’s why we have the independent judiciary, and for Harvard to recognize that, I would hope that it’s a sea change. There’s also this general realization that this whole woke experiment really isn’t working out very well for them. So I’m encouraged by that, but I do think that the trend is unfortunately towards sort of entropy. Sort of the system falling apart where unfortunately we’re getting dumber and dumber and more easily entertained and distracted. I don’t know if that’s a trend that can really be turned around, but hopefully, at least at the upper echelons, those elites can realize that it’s beneficial for all of us to preserve this system with these sort of liberties.


100%. This is not just about you. This is about all U.S. citizens. And not just the US because if free speech falls in the US what hope does the rest of the world have? So we’re really looking to your case. How can we help you fight this Douglass?

I’m in this position, but I haven’t been by any means doing this alone. I’ve got an amazing team of lawyers, and incredible friends, family supporters that are behind me. That being said, fighting this kind of case is extremely burdensome in terms of finances. Like I said, I was always going to fight the case no matter what, even back in the day when I realized I couldn’t pay these legal fees myself and would have to rely on a public defender. But thankfully, with help, I was able to get great representation. Ultimately I need everybody’s help, prayers, encouragement. Spread the word and those who can afford to, please donate and give liberally as much as you can to my fundraisers. There’s the Meme Defense Fund, which is a tax-deductible nonprofit. There’s also other ways to give to this cause, including GiveSendGo and on my website there’s information there about sending crypto and sending physical cash or checks. As I said, this is extremely financially burdensome, but let’s win it together. So please send support. We could actually win this case and set a precedent so that this statute cannot be abused in this way, and hopefully send a broader cultural message that the Federal Government just needs to back off on these kind of prosecutions.


Thank you Douglass, and Godspeed.

1200 630

Man’s World in Print

MAN’S WORLD is now available, for the very first time, as a high-quality printed magazine. Across 200 glorious pages, you’ll find everything that made the digital magazine the sensation that it was – the best essays, the most brilliant new fiction, interviews, art, food, sex, fitness – and so much more.

Man’s World in Print

MAN’S WORLD is now available, for the very first time, as a high-quality printed magazine. Across 200 glorious pages, you’ll find everything that made the digital magazine the sensation that it was – the best essays, the most brilliant new fiction, interviews, art, food, sex, fitness – and so much more.

You must submit

Want to write for
Man’s World?

Here at Man’s World, we’re always looking for new contributors to dazzle, inform and amuse our readership, which now stands in the hundreds of thousands. If you have an idea for an article, of any kind, or even a new section or regular feature, don’t hesitate to get in contact via the form below.

Generally, the word limit for articles is 3,000; although we will accept longer and (much) shorter articles where warranted. Take a look at the sections in this issue for guidance and inspiration.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
I have an idea for a