The internet is not a safe space for a dead white man, writes James Fallows.
The article began with a joke, as the internet has.
“The internet is now a refuge for dead white men,” wrote a user on the alt-right forum 4chan.
The man, whose real name was Andrew Auernheimer, is now facing multiple charges after he was found in his Brooklyn apartment on Thursday morning with two handguns in his pocket and a pistol in his left hand.
He was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition.
“I had to get him out of there, but we were in the middle of an internet discussion, and I don’t know what to do with myself,” Auernheim said.
He added: “I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.
I felt like a little kid in the playground.”
Auernhems lawyer, Evan Halpern, told the New York Times that the internet was the best refuge for a man who “had an insane fear of death”.
“I think it’s important to remember that while he was being arrested, there were literally thousands of internet users around the world who were horrified and worried about him,” Halperns statement read.
Auernhiser is the self-described “internet king” of the alt right, a movement of white nationalists and other right-wing extremists that grew out of the online discussions surrounding Gamergate, a dispute about the portrayal of women in video games.
In 2016, the group gained notoriety when it announced that a fictional character, the online avatar of “Pizzagate” (which was also based on a false claim), would be portrayed as a “pedophile” on its site.
“He was the internet king,” Halberns said.
“It was an alt-left phenomenon, the internet.”
The internet Auernhelms describes is now also a refuge in his case, but not for everyone.
He told the newspaper that he was angry at those who were critical of his arrest, including “journalists, commentators, and even his lawyers”.
“My lawyers, their lawyers, they’re the ones who are going to be hurt by it,” Auherns lawyer said.
Auvernheimer is due to appear in court on Friday.