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Right-wing blogger Andy Ngo went from relative obscurity to a national conservative hero in the struggle against antifa after antifascists beat him up during a rally in Portland, Oregon, earlier this summer.
But now video has surfaced of Ngo smiling and laughing with members of the far-right group Patriot Prayer shortly before they allegedly orchestrated an attack on a group of antifascists at a leftist bar in a separate incident in May. A female bar patron was knocked unconscious and said she suffered a fractured vertebrae.
In his coverage, Ngo framed the incident as an “antifa brawl” and did not mention that he was with members of Patriot Prayer as they donned body armor, helmets, and weapons before launching their alleged attack.
To Ngo’s critics, the footage confirms what they’ve argued all along: that far from a victim of political violence in Portland, he’s a willing participant. He’s been repeatedly accused of selectively editing videos from protests in a manner that absolves far-right activists of responsibility and skews blame towards antifa.
His coverage of antifa’s protest tactics (which are sometimes violent) in Portland has helped drive national attitudes toward the decentralized activist movement over the last two years. The June attack inspired two GOP senators to introduce legislation to label antifa as domestic terrorists, and Ngo has even found a sympathetic ear in mainstream figures like CNN anchor Jake Tapper and President Donald Trump.
Ngo didn’t respond to VICE News’ request for comment.
Ngo, who has made a career out of peddling conspiracy theories about Muslims and live-streaming antifa activities, became famous when antifascists came after him during a rally on June 29. It’s not clear how the confrontation began.
Video of the melée, which went viral, showed a black-clad activist throwing punches at Ngo. He then emerges from the fray dazed and dripping with silly string and a milkshake someone had thrown at him. He went to the hospital and was treated for a brain hemorrhage, according to medical records he provided to BuzzFeed.
In the days and weeks following, Ngo appeared on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show and on CNN, and penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal decrying antifa violence. President Trump referenced his plight at several events, and hi story even inspired Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) to introduce a bill to label antifa as domestic terrorists.
Ngo also made nearly $195,000 on a GoFundMe raising money for his “security and medical needs” as well as replacing his camera equipment, which he said had been stolen.
The video of Patriot Prayer going after the antifascists in May came to light Monday in an article by the Portland Mercury, which told the story of a Democrat who posed as a Patriot Prayer sympathizer to go undercover with the group and film its members. Hours after the story ran, online magazine Quillette — a self-described “platform for free thought” — announced that Ngo was leaving his job there as an editor and removed him from the masthead.
Quillette founding editor Claire Lehmann dismissed as “speculation” the idea that Ngo’s exit from the magazine had anything to do with the new video, and said he’s simply “moving on to bigger & better projects.”
What happened in the video
In the video, about a dozen Patriot Prayer members discuss their plan of attack and assess the wind direction so that they don’t pepper-spray themselves.
“We’re the ones with the weapons here!” someone says.
“There’s a hundred of them there,” someone else says. “I’ll take the first three.”
Multiple people mention that Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson is on his way with “back-up.” “Hope they got 10 big dudes with them,” someone says. “That’d be nice.”
Ngo is standing with them while they prepare to enter the bar, Cider Riot, with his phone in his hand. But he doesn’t film anything, and he didn’t tweet or write about anything he saw or heard.
The following day, he tweeted a screenshot of Cider Riot’s Facebook event for the “May Day afterparty.” “Seemed bizarre to me that it didn’t look like Cider Riot was just place #antifa had amassed to have drinks,” Ngo wrote. “It looked like they were using business as base to prep attack.”
When Patriot Prayer members arrived at Cider Riot to confront antifascists, many of whom were wearing all black, chaos ensued. Videos taken from different angles show the two sides brawling, and someone using chemical spray.
Ngo claimed that antifa maced him and posted a picture of himself looking like he's in pain. “After I was temporarily blinded by the mace, I could hear the rioting escalating in front of me,” he wrote. “The mob moved closer & closer. People around me told me I needed to get away but I couldn’t open my eyes & didn’t know where my stuff was. It was a terrifying experience."
A 31-year-old female Cider Riot patron said she was hit on the head with a baton and knocked unconscious. According to a lawsuit filed by the owners of Cider Riot against Patriot Prayer, the woman suffered a vertebrae fracture. Ngo was criticized for broadcasting the identity of the woman he said “got knocked out cold.” In a tweet, he also noted that she’d attempted to disrupt a panel featuring a disgraced former Google employee who’d circulated a sexist internal memo.
Two Patriot Prayer sympathizers have so far been indicted in connection to the attack on the woman. Since then, another four Patriot Prayer members or supporters have been charged for the incident, including the group’s leader, Gibson.
Lawyers representing Cider Riot reportedly filed a motion last week, containing new evidence in the case, including the newly-surfaced video featuring Ngo.
Cover image: Andy Ngo, a Portland-based journalist, is seen covered in unknown substance after unidentified antifascist activists attacked him on June 29, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Moriah Ratner/Getty Images)