No, Mark Lind From the Ducky Boys Did Not Punch Richard SpencerJohn Policastro |
If you were a Donald Trump supporter in Washington D.C. this weekend for his inauguration, chances are you had a very nice time at a sparsely attended event. Unless, of course, you are notorious Nerf Nazi, Richard Spencer, the de facto face of the alt-right movement. While giving an interview in the middle of one of the many chaotic pockets of anti-Trump demonstrations in our nation's capital, Spencer was decked in the face with a whole different kind of alt-right while talking about his shitty Pepe the Frog pin. The punch memed round the world tousled Spencer's Himmler hair and sent him running for his pathetic life — while his masked assailant easily got away, cementing his status as the American hero we could all use right now.
The video of Spencer getting blasted quickly went viral, resulting in a dizzying amount of memes and videos set to music so hilarious that I am willing to wager even Crying Jordan had a good laugh (check out a Twitter compendium here). Understanding that nothing can be more uniting or dividing than musical tastes, videos of Spencer getting cracked set to music from acts as diverse as DMX, Hatebreed and Phil Collins (My personal favorite is New Order's "Blue Monday") helped me realize that any song is actually great if you are listening to it while watching Spencer get punched on a loop. The subsequent search for Spencer's unknown assailant ultimately led to a favorite (and dangerous) pastime of internet users operating in the dark corners of message boards such as the Chans and Reddit: Banding together to hunt down and accuse innocent people of crimes while publishing their personal information online.
While this story was unfolding in Washington, over 400 miles away, veteran Boston musician Mark Lind (the Ducky Boys, Sinners and Saints, the Unloved) was returning home from work and discovered a series of bizarre messages [ed: see examples below] as he went online. "I got home from work around 11 [on] Friday night, and had notifications from Twitter," he relates. "They appeared to be hacked accounts, because I had no idea what they were talking about. Then one person put up links to all of my social media platforms, along with my email address and mailing address. A group of people on a site called 4chan decided I was the person that punched out Richard Spencer. I had never heard of him before." The online mob of Spencer supporters attacking Lind quickly swelled in numbers as the fake news even made its way to infamous white power (and perhaps weather-obsessed) message boards Stormfront and The Daily Stormer, where he was also falsely accused of being Jewish. Vengeance-obsessed idiots were so wrapped up in their fact-free frenzy that they even tracked down and published Lind's home address.
Lind himself has no idea how he was even accused of this to begin with, telling me, "The person that hit him was white, had glasses, a black hoodie and what appeared to be a beard. That description really applies to millions of people, but somehow they decided it was me." That said, his best guess is perhaps some person unknown to him had some personal axe to grind and found this to be the perfect occasion to pounce. Incredibly, Lind was still fielding threats on all of his social media accounts through the weekend — even after Spencer himself had retweeted a photograph collage of a second man being dommed and defecated on, who was now being accused of being his attacker. This second suspect, known as "Ray," was also ruled out as being the puncher, namely because he is dead now. That real fact sadly killed the fantastic scenario of an alt-right big mouth getting smashed and run off by a caca cuck. (I did press Lind on the possibility of similar photographs of himself existing, but he would not confirm nor deny that any such pictures exist.)
This latest chapter of internet idiots riled up in a fact-free rush to judgement once again highlights the dangerous (and potentially deadly) consequences of seeking out and believing anything you read on the internet. It certainly serves as an embarrassing flashback to 2013, when Reddit users identified and falsely accused two innocent men of orchestrating the Boston Marathon bombing, which resulted in one of the men even finding himself as a suspect on the cover of the New York Post. With the Trump administration (and their new White House Suppress Secretary, Sean Spicer) leading the charge against mainstream media as fake news in favor of unfiltered fact-free sites such as Reddit and Twitter, it is a safe assumption that this will not be the last time something like this happens, but rest assured, internet Nazis: It was not a man in Boston named Mark Lind, and he would like to be left alone, adding, "I haven't even punched someone since 1995."
As of this writing, Richard Spencer is still trying to locate and identify his actual attacker. There is now an online bounty of $2,500 and growing in hopes that someone will give him up. There is, however, at least one piece of real news at the center of this fake news story, and it's really great news, too: Richard Spencer got punched in his shitty face while he was talking about Pepe the Frog, and he ran away crying. As a result of that great news, we now have some terrific videos of it to keep us laughing into 2020 and beyond.