EVER since what I had planned to be my final retirement from politics in 2019, people have dreamed up reasons for that retirement’s taking place. Many of those rumors are either so outlandish and fact free as to be funny, or so vile that they would be legally actionable if they took place anywhere outside the Section 230-protected land of YouTube comments.
I was a secret intelligence officer, some said. I was running away to avoid having proof of my being a double agent for Leftists, said others. My name wasn’t even Lauren Southern, and I was secretly Jewish, and also transgender, and was running off with a treasure trove of money gained by grifting from credulous “simps.” Rather like the hideous deepfakes made of my likeness, the internet just kept concocting lies to stroke whatever conspiratorial erogenous zones they had. They were all, unequivocally, bullshit.
The truth was less lurid, but much more decent: I had found a husband and started a family. I naively thought that just picking up stakes and walking away and just hoping to be forgotten would be enough to give me back some semblance of a normal life. But in this toxic media environment, an accusation unanswered is often perverted into an accusation admitted. Silence is mistaken for confession. While I am far from perfect, and while there are things I have done that make me cringe with remorse, there are things that have been said about me since my retirement that I cannot, and will not, be seen to confess to, even indirectly. And for once, the bulk of these accusations do not come from the Left. They come from the Right.
I hesitate to use the term “Right,” though, because at bottom, the accusations leveled against me have not been related to conservative principle, or have even really been about politics. They bear no resemblance to the political at all, in fact. Politics is about solving and deliberating over problems that affect the citizenry of a nation. Right-wing politics is about doing so while preserving as much of the existing social order and protecting as many functional institutions of the past as possible, particularly when those institutions are at their most fragile in the face of destroyers. But the critics I speak of do not care about solving problems, let alone deliberating about anything, and their complaints are only about protecting institutions in the most shallow way. And unlike the Left’s destroyers, who at least try to masquerade as reformers, the people I speak of don’t even go that far. Their nihilistic, personalized hate shows me that, ironically, the movement that should be most devoted to preventing careless destruction has become a home for the most wanton destroyers. The nihilists are in the big tent of conservatism. The call is coming from inside the house.
I said earlier that the theories about my departure were largely confined to YouTube comments and anonymous Twitter rants. This is mostly true, but it leaves out one very ugly, and sadly very widely believed exception. Shortly after my retirement, a self-styled journalist who I will not name simply because he loves reading his name in print published what purported to be an expose on me and two young British men. Caolan Robertson and George Llewellyn, who I had worked with on my two documentaries, “Farmlands,” and “Borderless.” I say it “purported to be” an expose, because in reality it was pure, vicious libel from start to finish. If I had wanted to bother with the cost in time and money required for a lawsuit, I’m sure I could have claimed damages, but why bother when the only money I could sue for was one man’s Telegram-driven pittance? That wouldn’t even cover lawyers’ fees. And unlike the person responsible, I don’t particularly want an education on “how to be poor.”
Nevertheless, I must go through those accusations, if only so you understand what I mean when I knock them down. In the piece, my two colleagues were accused of stealing money from conservatives, and of conspiring with the Left-wing pressure group Hope Not Hate to destroy the life of Tommy Robinson, whose friend they claimed to be. I, meanwhile, was accused not just of being a Left-wing spy, but also of using sex as compensation for other people writing my work, and of being nothing but a paid actress out to defraud conservatives, who had to vanish from public life after this scheme was heroically exposed by Twitter egg profiles.
Even a basic journalism student should’ve been able to spot some of the issues with the piece. For instance, when writing about me, the person responsible relied on sources known to be untruthful, all of whom had a grudge against me for personal or professional reasons or who had an incentive to attack me to cover up their own wrongdoing. What’s more, none of these claims were corroborated or fact checked in any way. Instead, all that happened was that the person responsible sent me a series of increasingly unhinged, bizarre, harassing messages on WhatsApp threatening me with whatever the right’s version of being canceled is, if I didn’t rat out (lie about) my two producers. He even admitted to me in private conversation that he knew the charges against me were bogus, but put them in to get more traffic for the article.
But I know what you’re thinking. Why do all this in the first place? If his goal wasn’t to expose me or my producers as fakes, what was this actually about? The answer is so petty, it makes the story about President Trump liking two scoops of ice cream look like Watergate-level journalism.
The whole thing starts with an Infowars documentary titled You Can’t Watch This. The documentary was about the effort by mainstream media and social media companies to silence various right wing figures, and focused on five of those people: Gavin McInnes, Paul Joseph Watson, Tommy Robinson, Laura Loomer, and Alex Jones. When this documentary premiered, the person who wrote the article smearing me was incensed that he wasn’t included. He sent Caolan a series of irate messages on WhatsApp after the documentary came out. “[It’s] ludicrous to make a movie like this without me in it. A joke. I’m patient zero for everything. No. Also: go fuck yourself, you treacherous slimebag. Your day in the barrel is coming. I am coming for you. You will not know when or how. But I am coming for you.”
Anyway, when a series of unscrupulous figures began making unfounded accusations that Caolan and George were collaborating with the Left-wing pressure group Hope Not Hate, this person saw his opportunity. The most prominent of those pushing this made up story, was Mark Collett, who devoted an entire hour and a half stream to the idea that Caolan, George, and me were screwing over Tommy Robinson. In truth, these rumors were just that: rumors. The kind of evidence-free drama-mongering that I’m sad to say is almost a weekly occurrence in the UK far right. While Collett was ranting on YouTube, I have it on good authority that Caolan, George, and Tommy were out at the pub together laughing about how ridiculous it was.
It’s not that Caolan and George, or I, never met with Hope Not Hate. A lot of figures who were involved in right-wing politics met with them, Tommy himself was on good terms with Nick Lowes for a time. Many others will be pursing their lips reading this hoping I never mention them. Of course this doesn’t mean anyone adopted each other’s views, but from the stories I’ve heard people described it as quite cheeky chatting across enemy lines. Unlike many who met with the group, at least I can say my singular meeting was so brief it’s hardly even mentionable. There was certainly no love lost there.
Our 2017 meeting I attended to grill them on their role in my Patreon ban concluded with a shouting match between me and their staffers after they claimed (truthfully) to have been responsible for lobbying the company. Things didn’t go any better between them and Caolan and George.
Being out of the UK I luckily never ran into the group again. Caolan and George were not so lucky. The pair were pulled in by Hope Not Hate at a later date and threatened with criminal charges for their involvement with Tommy Robinson if they didn’t begin feeding them information. Of course they never did work for the organization and told me about the blackmail attempt.
Shortly after they told Tommy as well, who called to get my thoughts on the issue. Little did I know he was acting more shocked by the discussion than normal as he was recording our call to be used in a movie.
After some panic, Tommy, Caolan and George made up and Tommy announced he would be exposing the organization in a documentary called Panodrama. Not only did Caolan and George never work for Hope Not Hate, after they went to Tommy and fed him info about them instead, the organization despised them and still view them as responsible for significant financial and social losses today.
The narrative spun for the public in Panodrama was quite different from how it actually went down, using cut voice clips from plenty of sources including myself. We had a bit of a tiff about it internally, yet privately Tommy knows exactly what happened and was quite good friends with Caolan and George after the incident. Which is why none of it ever bothered me, privately they were all mates. So when people asked me “how dare you work with the two men who betrayed Tommy!” I would just roll my eyes while getting snap chats of the three of them having a laugh. The public retained the image of them as betrayers though and it was an image they never shook.
In fairness, Tommy, Caolan, and George should have publicly cleared the air on all this, but none of them wanted to deal with the drama that would create, so they decided to just go on working together while keeping the public in the dark that they were still friends. But the “journalist” I’m talking about was not one to let facts get in the way of his revenge attempt.
At least with Tommy’s publicly spun narrative in Panodrama, there was an ideological reason for misrepresenting things this way. A defense against a hit piece that would likely be far more contorted than even his movie. With our bleached journalist friend, it was purely personal. His approach was vintage yellow journalism: he contacted everyone, me included, who had ever worked with Caolan and George and threatened us to give him whatever dirt we had on them, or to make some up if we didn’t want him to come for us. He also tried to use the fact that Caolan and George were drifting toward Leftist politics as a way to stoke paranoia among those of us who had worked with them. “Caolan says he regrets his work with you and Tommy and thinks he was ‘radicalized,’” he wrote to me. “Trying desperately to save himself. He quotes you as saying you were ‘rooting for them,’ meaning illegal immigrants in Turkey.
Now would be a good time to throw them under the bus. Tommy is going pretty hard on the record.”
In fact, Tommy only “went hard on the record” to avoid the fate that befell me. But whatever he said in the article, he kept working with Caolan and George long after it was published. On June 19, Caolan texted me, “Woke up at 4 AM, had [Tommy’s] booker collect loads of camera equipment from locations all over London. Finally made it to the venue for 10 AM for the shoot at 12.
Started getting ready. Tommy cancels at 11.” In July, Caolan sent me a video of him filming a smiling Tommy in their studio.
Caolan and George have thousands of texts and voice notes from Tommy begging them to work on new projects with him long after this piece came out. What’s more, it wasn’t just Tommy who kept working with Caolan and George despite their being ostensible “betrayers.”
Alex Jones called Caolan and George immediately after the slanderous allegations to say he didn’t even want to have the author of the piece on his show anymore. “I’m just done with all this weird behaviour…” he expressed and asked Caolan and George to continue on with their contracts as usual.
In December of 2019, Alex Jones texted Caolan to chat. “Hope you guys are well,” he wrote. “I am ok. Stopped drinking 3 months ago. Family doing well. Infowars not doing well. But it’s just par for the course. Let’s talk soon.” One of the large allegations in this hit piece was that Caolan and George defrauded Alex Jones. This is complete and utter nonsense. Alex personally told me that none of the allegations in the piece smearing us were true on a phone call. In text he also continued “You guys are amazing! I really like you. Tired of all the bull,”. Which, same.
Is it true that Caolan and George have moved to the Left in the time since? Yes. Having not just friends but large members of an audience who they had dedicated years of work to lie about them, I’m not really surprised. And frankly, even when they were on the right, I didn’t keep them around because they agreed with me. I kept them around because they produced good work.
But, speaking of treating former friends disgracefully. I was not willing to lie to keep my name free from a vengeful has-been’s libel. I’ve been libeled a lot. I’m used to it. My integrity is more precious to me than my reputation. And surprise, surprise, I was libeled. The fact that I met with Hope Not Hate was, of course, blown into proof of my having gone over to the dark side, even though there was no evidence of anything we’d talked about. No minutes of our meeting. No contemporaneous records. Nothing. Just the fact of a meeting, which my detractors spun out into wild and crazed speculation about my motives. I’m not sure what else I can say about this except that, if anyone believes that Hope Not Hate was secretly funding two gay guys to produce documentaries on the South African farm murders, let alone on the criminal underside of the migrant crisis, then they don’t understand how politics or reality work.
But maybe I shouldn’t complain. After all, at least the accusations there started from some form of evidence.
At least they had some relation to politics, insofar as they questioned whether I was an honest advocate for my publicly stated beliefs. Which, with public figures, is always a fair question.
However, the rest of what was written about me was pure, malicious, fact-free filth. Let’s start with the accusation so scandalous that it became a meme: that I slept with numerous men on the Right in order to get them to write content for my YouTube channel.
First of all, that people on the Right are willing to repeat such bragging uncritically in print is a monstrous hypocrisy: when women claim to be assaulted, particularly with seeming ulterior motives, the Right correctly pleads the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” Men’s locker room talk about sleeping with a woman, which is no less potentially self-interested and disingenuous, should be treated with the same skepticism.
But what’s funny is that even some of the men most frequently cited as “sex for content” ghostwriters of mine will deny it if you ask them. One such person texted me after the article came out offering to set the record straight. I told him I didn’t want to fan the flames, and to just tell the truth to those who wanted to know in private. Although it’s been a year, before publishing this piece, I did take him up on that offer. A much appreciated act of decency.
Not sure who needs to hear, but no I have not ever ghostwritten articles/books/etc for anyone from Canada.
Feedback on writing, sure – done so for many. Do y'all really think anyone would swap uh, favors, for that? lel
Thank u, back to our regularly scheduled programming
— Allum Bokhari (@LibertarianBlue) June 21, 2020
The truth is, I write my own stuff, though I had a small circle of very close friends, including Caolan and George, who I would sometimes ask to edit my work. For example, George reminded me when I sent him a draft of the script for Borderless that I was using the term “European Union,” when what I really should’ve said was “European parliament.” I’d also get cheekily teased and corrected often for my inability to put my writing in proper script format. George is gay. Even if I were to offer to sleep with him for editing me, he’d be repulsed.
If I did want someone else to write my content, though, I’d hardly have to trade any favours. I’d just need to open my DMs. Many people, both male and female, gay and straight, have offered to write content for me for free.
The number of people who I actually trust to help with my writing, on the other hand, is so small it’s barely worth mentioning. And frankly, this is a particularly funny allegation considering that most of my YouTube videos before retirement were filmed live and on the ground. Did I sleep with God to get him to rewrite reality for me?
Moreover, there’s more than a whiff of projection about this accusation, considering the source, who was known to not only not write his own work, but keep a menagerie of young men around him to do it while worshipping and fawning over him. I don’t care what he does in his personal life: that’s between him and the God he claims to love so much. But hypocrisy is hypocrisy. And it only gets deeper when you consider that he accused me of being a grifter and a scam artist, when he has more than one actual, verifiable scam to his name.
I am not a grifter. Grifters don’t take the trouble to spend months running around the Moroccan mountains, risking attacks by human traffickers and going into the mountains where hikers have been beheaded.
Grifters don’t put themselves at risk of recreating the movie Midnight Express getting arrested by Turkish police. Grifters don’t embed in migrant camps to get a story. And they sure as hell don’t waste time hiring private security or buying cinematic-quality video cameras to do it. Aside from being dangerous, that sort of thing is expensive. You know what isn’t expensive, though? Sitting in a basement or home studio with nothing but your webcam, ranting about the latest VICE article while using ADD-inducing jump cuts and hawking brain supplements.
Speaking of, imagine my shock that the person most quick to promote the lies about me, and to try to sabotage me now that I am trying to move forward in a positive way, is Paul Joseph Watson. Paul’s only accusation against me, to the extent that I can discern one from the drunken rant he posted after I made my return video, is that I retired when Infowars was being canceled, and therefore threw him, Alex, and the others under the bus. Which, yeah, my pregnancy was so rude for not paying attention to the news cycle.
This, too, is projection. Actually, after Infowars was banned from all social media, Alex reached out to Caolan to bemoan Paul’s behavior on precisely the grounds he is now using to attack me. “Paul has gotten real tense about promoting Infowars, or anything, now that this ban happened. And he’s not being really responsive, so it’s all this timidness, and all this other stuff,” Alex complained in a voice note. “Everyone else I work with is starting to get really nebulous.” So to Paul, I say: Physician, heal thyself.
I don’t like spending this long clearing the air on what should be pointless, Gossip Girl-level bitchery. But unfortunately, since my attempt to return to YouTube, this malicious nonsense has been all anyone seems to want to talk about. My years of work and my actual ideas don’t matter. All that matters is who I sleep with, what color they are, who I collaborated with, what color they are, whether I’m 100% pure Bavarian phenotype, blah blah blah. For a movement that claims to disdain the Left’s idea that the personal is political, these people make Tumblr look like an oasis of rational discourse.
E-drama is incredibly lame. So lame, I let myself be slandered for a year out of disgust for partaking in this filth. Just to hit publish on this piece I have to keep reminding myself I didn’t start this fight, I’m finishing it. The irony isn’t lost on me that grown men who like to talk about how women shouldn’t be in politics because they “cause too much drama” seem to be the ones always starting it.
It’s not productive, it’s a waste of time and it’s all about peoples egos. Remember, this all began with someone not being featured in a film.
But oddly enough, I actually shouldn’t be angry at them. Because in reacting this way, in seeing the confidence and zealotry from these people about something I knew was wholeheartedly untrue, they may have saved my life from the jaws of partisan solipsism.
People may hate to hear it but there are too many elements of cult like dynamics in the online right. The most prominent example is a love of blackmailing their supporters. The far right knows full well that liberals, who have cultlike dynamics of their own, love to expose people for thoughtcrime, get them fired from their jobs, and basically shut them off from the milk of human kindness. They also know that their own followers will happily turn on anyone who has acted outside the extremely restrictive, inhumane code of conduct endorsed by the most rabid trolls.
Some of the worst actors in the right have done the same. Some of the “leaders” of the online right blackmail each other with exposure, either to the left or to their own fans, as a means of keeping them from ever stepping off of the reservation. While claiming the MSM are slaves to corporate overlords (which, true) the far right media in many ways have become slaves to their audience.
It quite literally is all a massive ideological Mexican standoff, because they know full well that once someone is hooked on the affirmation that being a member of the internet right provides, cutting them off from that is like forcing an opioid addict to go cold turkey and face the worst of their pain with no relief. You can see this behavior in action from none other than Paul Joseph Watson, who threatened to release unspecified information on me if I didn’t “bend the knee” to him shortly after my return video. It’s my punishment for not towing the line.
I’m happy to say though, this last tactic no longer works on me. I’ve been called every name in the book. I’ve been slandered for over a year now without even the slightest response. As Jannis Joplin once said, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, and I do have nothing left to lose. What are you going to do, cancel me? I’m cancelled by everyone.
I’m extremely grateful to have been pushed out of this space online which forced me to confront real life and realize it was much sweeter than all the deluded and misguided affirmation online.
I don’t say this because I want to earn brownie points with the Left; I couldn’t give less of a shit about that. I say it because it’s the truth, which is all I ever want to face going forward, without preconceptions and without ideological blinders. The fact that so many on the far right thought my desire to do that was a threat to them shows just how much they don’t actually care about the truth, or about journalism, or about any of it. Their idea of journalism is less the New York Times, or even Breitbart or National Review, than it is OnlyFans, and it has the same incentive to escalate that porn does.
I’ve been accused by many across the political spectrum of abandoning my principles and becoming some form of “radical centrist.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. The only time I’ve uttered the word “centrist” in relation to my own political ideology, was to explicitly state that I am not one.
Looking at something objectively and seeing both sides doesn’t mean the conclusions you come to will be some centrist wishy washy bullshit. I have no intention of coming to the conclusion that the act of murder is just a “grey” situation, but I do think it should be investigated before someone is charged. Content that is nuanced is not centrism. Willingness to learn is not centrism. Calls for kindness and decency is not centrism. None of these things are political ideologies they are just more meaningful ways to engage the world and other people.
I believe with every fibre of my being that most of my followers believe in me as a journalist rather than as an ideological pinup doll, but if you can’t watch unless I talk like Eva Braun, feel free to go elsewhere.
Rest assured, I’ll discuss this all more, not the e-drama but my wider thoughts on the online sphere right wing and left. Ideas I’ve reconsidered and self criticisms. Mostly though I just want to make movies and let my work speak for itself. I genuinely thought no one believed this stuff and was planning to just move forward, but hopefully this can put it to bed.
For right now, this article has gone on long enough, so I’ll just close by saying this. While I am happy to hear all sides of a story, and hope to do so going forward, the truth is that I am not an unprincipled centrist. People crave ideals through which to analyze the world, and mine will likely always be conservative, even if I do sometimes find that liberals have the better of an argument.
However, laundering homicidal sadism in the guise of conservatism is no less toxic than the woke Left’s attempt to launder suicidal masochism in the guise of liberalism.
The worst defenders of authority are those who mistake it for tyranny. The worst defenders of beauty are those who mistake it for narcissism. Our magnificent society and culture deserves to have its fate decided by better people than the adherents of warring political cults. The sooner we can get back to a world where we can see each other as people, rather than as ideological ciphers, the better.