Irish anti-trans group confirms it reached out to far-right journalist Andy Ngo

Irish anti-trans group confirms it reached out to far-right journalist Andy Ngo

Anti-trans group The Countess has admitted to contacting the far-right journalist Andy Ngo last week. It came in the aftermath of attacks on the rights of trans people on RTÉ’s Liveline radio show with Joe Duffy two weeks ago. Appearing on the programme members of The Countess claimed they’d been censored when they were refused admission to the AGM of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI). Ngo, who’s been linked to far-right extremist groups, criticised Dublin Pride for ending its partnership with RTÉ as a result of the Liveline broadcasts. In a since deleted tweet, The Countess replied to Ngo and asked him to promote an upcoming campaign.

In recent days veteran activist Izzy Kamikaze has revealed that Liveline withheld vital context regarding the NWCI AGM. Writing for The Beacon she disclosed that The Countess had issued a press release in advance of the AGM in which it announced its intention to disrupt the meeting. The group said it would “be staging an action” due to the re-election of Sara Philips to the NWCI’s board, who until this week was the chair of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

Reaching out to the far right

On 15 June Ngo tweeted about the Liveline controversy. After Dublin Pride announced it was ending its links with RTÉ as a result of the broadcaster’s platforming of anti-trans “discussions”, Ngo described the move as “revenge” for “hosting a radio debate”. He claimed that Dublin Pride was “furious a discussion critical of radical trans ideology was allowed”. 

Responding to Ngo The Countess’s Twitter account related that it was “the group who were on this radio debate”. It also told him that the head of RTÉ was apparently “happy to stand over the programmes”. And, in closing, The Countess wrote to him that “We would be happy to let you know about a campaign we are launching very soon, and would be grateful if you could amplify”. Although the Twitter account of The Countess removed the tweet a screenshot of it was saved and quickly spread on social media. 

The Beacon reached out to The Countess whose spokesperson confirmed that the screenshot of the tweet is legitimate. They also wrote that the tweet “was deleted” after “a member notified our tweeter that this individual is controversial, and not someone we would be aligned with”.

As part of its official launch in March 2021 the anti-trans group had invited Jennifer Bilek, a promoter of antisemitic conspiracy theories, to speak at the event via Zoom. Bilek later had to pull out of the launch but Helen Joyce took her place instead. Joyce has herself written a book called TRANS which essentially repeats Bilek’s claims about a conspiracy of Jewish billionaires which is behind the trans movement but omits the Jewish aspect of the scheme. Bilek has even gone as far as accusing Joyce of plagiarism given the similarities between the content of the latter’s book and Bilek’s writings

A screenshot of the now deleted tweet to Andy Ngo.

Propaganda

Activists and journalists have long documented Ngo’s history of involvement with far-right extremist groups in the US.

For a period of time Ngo was embedded with Patriot Prayer which has been described as “a far-right group known for promoting and engaging in violent clashes with leftist activists”. In 2019 the Portland Mercury revealed that Ngo had even received protection from the extremist group. An undercover investigator detailed that there was “an understanding” between the far-right journalist and Patriot Prayer. “Patriot Prayer protects him and he protects them”, with Ngo only filming when left-wing activists appear in the hopes of documenting a confrontation. 

Writing in the Wall Street Journal in 2018 Ngo contended that England was now “Islamic” and went on to relate how he was “intimidated” by the sight of a woman wearing a niqab. At the time of its publication he was an editor with the alt-right outlet Quillette where he was involved in the publication of an article which attempted to link anti-fascist activists to certain journalists. As a result of the conspiratorial article a number of the named campaigners and writers received death threats. The online magazine is also infamous for platforming Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray, the latter of whom has bemoaned the supposed replacement of white people in the West by migrants. 

Ngo has also written a book about what he believes is the danger of “antifa”. He wrote that “Antifa receive a tiny fraction of the news coverage of the far right” but that it’s “just as much, if not more, of a threat to the future of American liberal democracy”. Published in February 2021, the book was released just a month after a mob of conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists attempted to storm the Capitol in Washington and overturn Joe Biden’s win in the US presidential election.

It’s understood that Ngo currently lives in London due to what he claims are safety concerns. 

This article was updated on 23 June to include a reference to Jennifer Bilek’s accusations of plagiarism toward Helen Joyce.

Featured image via Flickr – Gage Skidmore

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