A podcast by two notorious white supremacists has been removed from its hosting platform, after a review of their content triggered by a VICE World News article found it to be in “extreme violation” of the platform’s terms of service.
But in an illustration of the whack-a-mole challenge of tackling extremist content online, the podcast has since been re-uploaded to another platform, one with a reputation for hosting far-right and conspiracy theorist content.
The podcast was launched last month by two prominent white supremacists, who have both promoted a brand of far-right ideology using slickly-edited videos, clothing lines, and mixed martial arts.
Denis “Nikitin” Kapustin is a Russian neo-Nazi and hooligan, widely known on Europe’s extreme-right scene for promoting his white power MMA tournaments and apparel line. His co-host, Robert Rundo, is the co-founder of the Rise Above Movement, a California-based white supremacist fight club known for attacking counterprotesters at MAGA rallies.
In the four episodes posted online, the pair dispensed advice to listeners on how to form their own hate groups, discussed the storming of the U.S. Capitol as a prime opportunity for the far-right to attack their political enemies, and used racist and homophobic slurs.
Christopher Griffin, communications director for the San Francisco-based podcast-hosting site PodOmatic, said a review of the content launched in response to VICE World News inquiries had found it to be “in extreme violation of our terms of service.”
“We, therefore, removed the content,” he said. “As you can imagine, we must take every complaint and every review process extremely seriously, but with an episode being published every 30 seconds on our network, this becomes a time-consuming task.”
However, the content was still available when accessed on a mobile device. VICE World News reached out to PodOmatic for clarification.
The podcast had previously been removed from another podcasting platform, Spreaker, due to its content.
Joshua Fisher-Birch, a senior analyst at the New York-headquartered Counter Extremism Project who had previously called for the podcast to be taken down, welcomed the move.
“It’s a positive step that PodOmatic has decided to stop hosting Rundo and Kapustin/Nikitin’s podcast, raising the number of podcasting platforms to two that have stopped providing them with services,” he told VICE World News.
“Hopefully, in the future, other platforms will follow this example and follow their terms of service, or in some cases improve them, to prevent them from amplifying voices calling for white supremacist violence.”
The removal of the podcast from PodOmatic comes after reports that Rundo, facing ongoing legal issues relating to political violence in the U.S., was expelled earlier this month from Serbia, where he had reportedly been based since last year.
Serbia’s Blic daily reported that police had escorted Rundo to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina earlier this month. Rundo’s presence in Serbia, exposed in a Bellingcat report in November, had triggered Serbian media interest in the U.S. extremist and his support for local neo-Nazi groups, while a local anti-fascist movement had campaigned for his expulsion.
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. are seeking to reinstate charges brought against Rundo and fellow Rise Above Movement members for their role in violence at MAGA rallies in California in 2017. In June 2019, the charges were dismissed after a federal judge found that the statute under which the charges were brought was “unconstitutionally overbroad,” but prosecutors have since appealed the ruling.