Wednesday, May 18, 2022

#2538: Owen Benjamin

Owen Benjamin – really Owen Benjamin Smith – is a wingut and alt-right internet celebrity, conspiracy theorist and promoter of pseudoscience. Back in the days, Benjamin was a relatively mainstream standup comedian and actor, even something of a minor celebrity, but at some point, he switched profession to YouTube crank, before being kicked off most mainstream social media platforms. He has also performed in several PragerU videos; intellectual bankruptcy is rarely signalled with more clarity. His descent followed a trajectory from Steven Crowder’s YouTube channel, through Washington Times coverage, to Joe Rogan’s podcast to InfoWars, to (this is as close to rock bottom as we can imagine) a show by Vox Day. Though he was banned from most mainstream social media platforms for various policy violations (some hate speech, some violations of terms of service), he temporarily returned to Twitter, Instagram and YouTube as a sockpuppet in 2020 to spread COVID-19 misinformation, before being re-banned. There is a good account of his descent into nonsense here.


Benjamin often presents his views as an attack on political correctness, but that is – obvious to all, really – really just an excuse for promoting all sorts of deranged nonsense, conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. His comedy act has been described as “the alt-right movement disguised as comedy”.


A recurring feature of Benjamin’s “comedy” routines and Instagram posts is antisemitism, including references to international Jewish conspiracies and suggesting that there is a massive Jewish influence in pornography, Hollywood and media (a notable example). Apparently Jewish people are secretly responsible for education programs that help children understand their LGBTQ identities; “nobody wants any of it and it’s all Jews!yells Benjamin: “It’s war Jews [and] sodomy Jews and they’re having a family feud at our expense.” Benjamin is an unapologetic holocaust denialist, and has for instance gone full in on the Neo-Nazi idea that Anne Frank was a hoax (Anne Frank “never existed” and is “even more of a hoax than the thunbergs story”), based partially on the easily debunked “ballpoint myth”. He has even stated that Hitler was trying to “clean Germany, clean it of the parasites, of the fleas”, and that “gays and Jews were considered the worst of the worst. Why? Because if they get power, they will destroy your entire civilization.” Just as the H-guy himself might have put it! Benjamin has apparently also posted fabricated writing from the Talmud to support his antisemitic conspiracy theories. (And yes, he also has a thing for Greta Thunberg, calling her “a little demon troll,” a “bitch,” and “a little gremlin”, all in the name of preserving Western Civilization)


The transgender rights movement, meanwhile, is ostensibly part of a eugenics program to lower the world population. Apparently Bill Gates is involved, too, because of course he is and Benjamin is a moron. In another example of red-pill thinking, Benjamin stated that Stephen Spielberg murdered child actress Heather O’Rourke by pedophilia in 1988: “She, according to the coroner, was sodomized to death on set.” No coroner has ever remotely hinted at anything such, of course, but it’s a claim regularly found on Qanon redpill sites with ‘truth’ in their urls. Benjamin also said he wishes the Spielberg family had been killed in the Holocaust.


Moreover, Benjamin has engaged in moon-landing conspiracy theories and even flat-earthism – in November 2019, he spoke at the Flat Earth International Conference in Dallas. Unsurprisingly a creationist, Benjamin’s crucial evidence against evolution is apparently his self-professed high IQ, which is greater than any scientist’s. And as Benjamin sees it, the fact that evolution is generally accepted among scientists is not only a matter of error, but of conspiracy: dinosaurs, for instance, are a “Smithsonian lie”.


And of course, Benjamin spreads coronavirus misinformation, urging people not to take the virus seriously (“fear is the virus” is a favorite line) and complaining about restrictions: “If the government says close your business, that doesn’t mean anything. That’s just a pedophile in a suit at a news conference.” The messages are, of course, full of anti-gay and anti-semitic rhetoric, referring to Jewish people as “grabblers,” and stating that it was statistically less likely that a Catholic priest is screwing kids than “a Jew is stealing money.” “What’s up with the Jews?” added Benjamin, “because there is something going on with it.”


The Great Bear Trail

In 2020, Benjamin purchased ten acres in Idaho for his “The Great Bear Trail”, purportedly a community “self sufficient and not depending on those with ideologies that are oppressive to mankind.” One pitch to donors described it as “a new Ruby-Ridge-style compound”. The effort has, predictably, led to some legal trouble, largely because of the expected lack of planning and failure to apply for relevant permits – it doesn’t help that his neighbors are understandably less than pleased to have “[a]nother racist zealot with a ‘compound’ nearby”.


The project has been criticized e.g. by experienced Idaho journalist Mike Weland. In response to the criticism, Benjamin published a video where he mocked Weland for using a wheelchair, called him “the pedophile guy,” and made fun of the wheelchair ramps in his home.


Diagnosis: Described as a typical example of what happens when you OD on red pills, Benjamin is mostly a laughable moron shunned even by other altright sympathizers. Given how he systematically goes for lunacy, he could potentially be useful as an anti-fact checker – if Benjamin suggests something, it is evidence that the opposite is correct.


  1. I've no doubt Elon Musk will let this dickweed return to Twitter.

    1. Maybe, maybe not. Remember, Benjamin is an avowed flattard; I don't think it'd be hard to find him shit-talking Mr SpaceX... and we know how thin-skinned he can be.

  2. If there's a massive Jewish influence in porn, why are so many of the male stars uncircumcised? (Never mind how I know that!)