A staffer for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) is one of white nationalist Nick Fuentes’ biggest fans and allies, according to a new report.
On Sunday, Talking Points Memo (TPM) revealed that a prominent Groyper known as Chikken, Chikkenright, and Chickenright has a job in Congress.
Groypers are the name Fuentes’ fans use to refer to themselves.
TPM reports that there is significant evidence that Gosar’s digital director Wade Searle is behind the Chikken/Chickenright persona. According to its report, there is a large, interconnected series of social media handles using variations of the handle that can be linked to Searle. His posts on far-right websites and affiliation with Fuentes purportedly began well before he started working for Gosar in 2021, the year he graduated high school, and continued after he started working in Congress.
Gosar is notorious for his ties to extremists. Earlier this month, he spoke alongside the leader of an Austrian political party founded by Nazi officers. Last month, he promoted an antisemitic website. Gosar has denied that he’s antisemitic.
He’s also attended Fuentes’ conferences. Following an uproar over his appearance at one last year, he claimed a “miscommunication” among his staff resulted in him recording a message for Fuentes’ America First Political Action Conference.
TPM reports that Searle may have had assistance creating the Chikken accounts from Landen Petersen, who interns for Gosar. An archive from 2020 shows that its Twitter bio credited Wade and Petersen for the account. Screenshots from a since-deleted Instagram account reportedly promoted an appearance by Wade and Petersen. Another defunct Instagram account that belonged to Petersen said his second account was @RightWingChickenWatch, another variation of the moniker, per TPM.
The Chikken accounts posted extremist content on multiple platforms, including Gab and Telegram, which are popular among the far-right. It replied to Fuentes, reposted his content, and once said that they don’t use Nazi imagery because “it takes a very talented editor to make it not look cringe”—not because the Nazis murdered millions of innocent people and launched a world war.
Searle didn’t limit his affiliation with Fuentes to the web. TPM reports that he attended a November 2020 “Stop the Steal” event where Fuentes spoke. Searle purportedly stood behind him holding an “America First” flag.
According to TPM, Searle also was a moderator of the chatroom during Fuentes’ live streams and once pledged his loyalty to Fuentes and vowed to “defend the white race.”
After Searle joined Gosar’s team, the congressman’s social media presence took on more of a far-right feel. He drew controversy for posting an anime video of himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.). Anime is popular on the far-right and the Chikken accounts reportedly posted it often.
The day after he hired Searle, Gosar reportedly created a Gab account. There he interacted with Fuentes and other Groypers, including Chikken.
The online researcher who uses the pseudonym Haley Orion and runs the Arizona Right Wing Watch account provided TPM with some assistance with the story, as did Nick Martin of the Informant.
Martin told TPM that Fuente had described Chikken as a friend and “one of the strongest soldiers of the movement.”
“Chikken’s role has been almost entirely behind the scenes, but he’s been viewed as one of the leaders among the small numbers of young men and boys who have attached themselves to Fuentes in recent years,” Martin also said.
“If you ever wondered why 64-year old Paul Gosar posts like he’s a Zoomer Groyper with a habit of shitposting for Nick Fuentes, wonder no more,” Arizona Right Wing Watch tweeted after the story broke.
Given Gosar’s extremism and links to Fuentes, some were less than surprised to learn that he employs one Groyper and has another as an intern.
“Do not let the fact that this is completely unsurprising detract from how shocking it is. These are open neo-Nazis on Capitol Hill,” @joekatz45 tweeted.
Gosar has not commented on the matter. The Daily Dot was unable to obtain contact information for Searle and Petersen.