The GOP Presidential Debate Is Livestreaming on Rumble, Home to Notorious White Nationalist Nick Fuentes

The third GOP debate is sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition and will be livestreamed on a platform favored by one of America’s most notorious white nationalists.
Nick Fuentes speaks to his followers at a rally .
Nick Fuentes, the leader of a Christian-based extremist white nationalist group speaks to his followers, 'the Groypers' in Washington D.C. on November 14, 2020.Photograph: Zach D Roberts/Getty Images

Tonight, the third GOP presidential primary debate will take place in Miami. The event is sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) at a time when antisemitic incidents in the US, according to the Anti-Defamation League, have risen by nearly 400 percent since the Israel-Hamas war erupted last month.

While the Republican National Committee (RNC) has partnered with NBC to broadcast the debate on TV, the event will also be livestreamed for the third time on Rumble, the YouTube alternative that is home to what the Southern Poverty Law Center says is one of America’s most notorious white nationalists, Nick Fuentes.

For the past month, Fuentes has used the Israel-Hamas conflict to push antisemitic hate speech and Holocaust denial conspiracies on his Rumble channel, racking up hundreds of thousands of views. Fuentes has hailed Rumble for reviving his audience, which has gained thousands of followers since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

“I think the show is bigger than it's been in a really long time,” Fuentes told his more than 40,000 viewers last week during one of his frequent livestreams on the platform. “If you look at the viewership on Rumble, it’s crazy. I’ve been getting really good viewership on Rumble like I haven’t since I was on YouTube … The replays have been insane.”

Fuentes is a white nationalist leader of the Groyper movement. He attended the neo-Nazi Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, has openly praised Hitler, and repeatedly denied the Holocaust. He has also had dinner with former president Donald Trump.

Fuentes’ YouTube account was terminated in 2020 as Google demonetized it, and he initially struggled to retain his audience on a number of other platforms, including DLive and his own streaming service. Fuentes joined Rumble in March 2021, and he was initially critical of the platform’s failure to promote his videos. He claims he was briefly suspended from the platform in July after posting the livestream of a rally where he called for a “holy war” against non-Christians. Now, less than four months later, he claims his channel is flourishing.

Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in early October, Fuentes has used his channel on Rumble, which has 42,600 followers, to spread antisemitic conspiracies, claiming in one video that the Israeli government had created the Hamas attack as “atrocity propaganda” to advance “Jewish interests.”

Fuentes compared the Hamas attack to the Holocaust, claiming both were created to “elicit a certain emotional response [to give the government] the popular mandate to do whatever it is the government wants to do.”

While it portrays itself as a free speech network, Rumble does have specific policies in place against racism and antisemitism. The platform removed two of Fuentes’ videos on Tuesday evening after WIRED flagged the antisemitic comments made in them, but many others remain. Rumble declined WIRED’s request to comment on whether or not it had an antisemitism problem on its platform.

Fuentes’ is one of many accounts that researchers at Media Matters, a left-leaning media watchdog group, have identified as not only spreading antisemitic content on Rumble, but also monetizing it.

“There is a plethora of antisemitic content on the platform as well as other violent content, conspiracy theories, and bigotry,” Kayla Gogarty, research director at Media Matters, tells WIRED. “We found about 16 far-right figures and groups who have made antisemitic content and have had advertisements on their content on the platform, including Keith Woods, Elijah Schaffer, Stew Peters, and other accounts like Vincent James Foxx.”

Fuentes’ account has not monetized his own channel, but clips of his content have been monetized on Rumble, Gogarty says.

Fuentes did not respond to WIRED’s request for comment, nor did Woods, Schaefer, Peters, and Fox.

The RNC told WIRED in an emailed statement that “hate, bigotry and violence is unfortunately prevalent on every social media platform, and the RNC condemns it entirely, but the RNC does not manage content or pages outside of our own.”

The RJC did not respond to multiple requests from WIRED about the presence of Fuentes and antisemitism on Rumble. At the announcement of the RJC’s sponsorship of the debate last month, the group’s chairman, former US senator Norm Coleman from Minnesota, told NBC: “As the horrific events of the last week have unfolded in Israel, the issue of American foreign policy has taken on an even greater role. American strength and American resolve—and our candidates’ vision for America’s role in the world—are more important than ever.”

Founded in 2013, Rumble has in recent years become a home for many right-wing extremists, conspiracy peddlers, and election deniers who have been banned from mainstream platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, or who have had their ability to monetize their content removed.

Rumble, which went public in 2022 and has seen significant growth in users over the past 18 months, has also partnered with Trump’s struggling social media platform Truth Social to provide video services. Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, and his wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle, both have exclusive deals with the platform where they post video podcast series.

Updated at 11:50 am, November 9, 2023, to clarify that Media Matter observed advertisements run on content posted by creators who have expressed antisemitic views, not that the creators themselves ran the ads.