A recently shuttered website peddling bogus “HRT style” hormone alternatives may have been run by an accused member of the white nationalist neo-fascist hate group, Patriot Front, according to numerous posts that have gone viral on social media.
Internet sleuths noted on Twitter that a name appeared on the PayPal account associated with the apparent scam website that matched someone identified as a member of Patriot Front. The person was part of a police stop after antifascists slashed the tires of cars belonging to members of the hate group when it marched through Washington, D.C. on December 4, 2021.
The effort to identify the member has also gone viral on Tumblr, with posts about the identification racking up tens of thousands of like.
The now-defunct website, EstroLabs, was first promoted by a Twitter-verified account called “QueerQuirk.” QueerQuirk framed the website as “the 🔌 to get HRT style pills without a doctor’s note.”
The backlash to the post was intense and immediate.
Online LGBTQ magazine Them first reported that hundreds of quote retweets called the website a grift and warned users to not get scammed or put their health at risk, and rightfully so: the “Hormone Therapy Replacement”-style pills marked for trans women contained 1,300 milligrams of ashwagandha and a bit of black pepper, neither of which are evidenced to have feminizing effects.
In fact, there is some evidence to suggest ashwagandha may raise testosterone. Following enough links on the site led to a T-shirt identifying it as a troll, which read “Oops! All Testosterone.”
Early this month, multiple Twitter users noted that the PayPal account that EstroLabs used to process payments was associated with a name of a person outed by Unicorn Riot, an antifascist website, as a possible Patriot Front member.
When paying for the bogus bills with PayPal, canceling the payment identified a name, which internet users swiftly realized matched with someone associated with Patriot Front
One person shared their chronological browsing history from June 7 with the Daily Dot. It shows them visiting the EstroLabs checkout page after adding an “Oops! All Testosterone!” T-shirt to their shopping cart.
They told Daily Dot that when they tried to process the payment, they were redirected to a PayPal login page, which featured the name.
A search of PayPal accounts shows there is only one account with that name. According to background check websites, it is not a common name in the United States. One of them is the 22-year-old alleged member of Patriot Front.
When contacted by the Daily Dot, the alleged Patriot Front member said he does have a PayPal account, but denied using it to sell products and denied involvement with EstroLabs. He also denied associations with Patriot Front, despite having been photographed at multiple Patriot Front events.
“I’m not affiliated with them,” he said. “I attended an event that they attended at the same time. That’s about the extent.” He went on to describe his attendance at the Washington, D.C. rally as “obviously a mistake.”
When asked why he had attended the Washington, D.C. rally, he said he “went with some friends.” When asked what event he thought he was attending, he said he did not know. When asked if his friends were affiliated with any particular group, he said he would not comment
“I’m just gonna say I’m not affiliated with any group and whatever you say about PayPal and EstroLabs, it’s got nothing to do with me,” he said.
Patriot Front is a white nationalist neo-fascist hate group that emerged out of a split in the neo-Nazi organization Vanguard after the Unite the Right rally in 2017, where a self-identified white supremacist deliberately plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 35 others. Patriot Front is known for their masked marches and flyering campaigns. In 2022, 31 members of the group were arrested near an Idaho Pride event in Coeur d’Alene on conspiracy to riot.
The QueerQuirk Twitter page has since been private, but not before asserting the criticism was “bigoted.”
A website under the same name was put behind a password wall with a message that asserts the site has “recently become the target of a troll attack.” The message goes on to say the website is not associated with “any social media accounts.” The EstroLabs website has also been taken down.
Internet records show that QueerQuirk was registered on May 23 and Estrolabs was created on June 2. Both were registered with NameCheap and share the same privacy contact in Iceland, which conceals the true owner of the website.
Beyond the reports from Twitter users of the name appearing on the PayPal account associated with EstroLabs, there are other reasons to believe that both websites were a dangerous troll by the far-right—one which may have effectively catfished private information from vulnerable trans women.
As reported by Them, the QueerQuirk CEO profile photo, in which a neck tattoo melds into their shirt collar, appears to be AI-generated, and many of the product descriptions on the EstroLabs website read as though they were written by someone who “lurked on trans Reddit pages for a few weeks, took notes on popular in-jokes, and then abruptly launched their version of Alex Jones’ Brain Force targeted at overly online white trans girls.”
And as reported by VICE, posts on right-wing social media site Gab and far-right Telegram groups “have shown people celebrating, but not taking credit for, the website.”
Scam websites are as old as the internet. Snake oil salesmen are even older. But with hormone therapies under legislative attack from Republicans and trans people more visible than ever, there is a real risk that vulnerable people will be taken in by such ploys.
Which makes the timing of all this so pernicious. Not only is there money to be made in exploiting already-vulnerable people who are seeking potentially life-saving care, there’s real danger in exposing the addresses of trans women—particularly to a website that apparently is linked to a possible or former member of a hate group whose members were arrested on conspiracy to riot at a Pride event.
“I think that the prevailing sentiment from trans folks online that very quickly uncovered this is that trans people tend to be very skeptical, mainly because our health and well-being depend on it,” said Alejanda Caraballo, a trans woman who works as a civil rights attorney and clinical instructor at the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic. “But I think it also speaks to this kind of broader goal of not just targeting trans people legislatively, but having these kinds of fascist far-right groups target trans people in more sinister and vicious ways. Fake and scam products are concerning, But I think the more disturbing aspect of that is the potential to get people’s addresses, names, information, contact information, all of that, that they would be able to get from this and potentially create a list for targeted harassment.”
Patriot Front did not respond to an inquiry on the Contact page on its website.