A Neo-Nazi Troll Network Is Making Money Abusing Jews

The Goyim Defense League, or GDL, has been banned from almost every social media site. But videos of their stunts find a way online anyway.
Screenshots from a recent Goyim Defense League video 

On a street corner right in front of an Orlando synagogue in mid-Febuary, a group of neo-Nazis did their best to torture Jewish people leaving their place of worship. 

Filming every moment of their abuse, the group, dressed in Hawaiian-print T-shirts and sunglasses, screamed slurs through a megaphone, threw up Nazi salutes inches away from car windows, and tried to provoke a confrontation with the worshippers. One man, in particular, led the hate. 


“Heil Hitler, you fucking k----,” he says at the end of the video and preforms a Nazi salute while posing next to a person dressed mockingly as an orthodox Jewish man. Behind him stands a police officer watching the incident take place. The video of the stunts, shared across a variety of social media including Twitter, has now been seen millions of times. 

The man hurling the vicious antisemitism is Jon Minadeo II, the head provocateur of a collective dubbed the Goyim Defense League (GDL), a mocking take on the Jewish civil rights group Anti-Defamation League mixed with the term for non-Jew in Hebrew. Over the past several years, Minadeo has made himself into something of an e-celeb among the far-right through his trolling and terrorizing of the Jewish community. He’s posed as a transgender activist at a city council meeting, been racist to people he encounters on Omegle (a Chat Roulette-esque site), and spearheaded tours with other racist internet celebrities.

Minadeo also films most of his escapades and posts them on the network’s personal video sharing website, which then directs viewers to an online store where they can purchase racist merchandise—like Hitler masks and “swastika soap”—or donate to the prolific trolls. 


Joshua Fisher-Birch, an analyst with the Counter Extremism Project, described the network as an “extremely antisemitic street theater troupe," whose primary goal is generating as much attention as possible, no matter the damage to their targets.

"They need to have this churn of content that they put out there to keep their audience interested and to keep eyes on them," said Fisher-Birch. "They're doing stuff constantly."

Since the Goyim Defense League and Minadeo have been kicked off any sort of social media platform with even light content moderation, they’ve had to create their own video hosting site for their stunts and livestreams. Followers are also pushed to post the network’s logos, slogans, and URLs themselves, and the network has been steadily growing since its inception in 2018. 

"It attracts the worst of the worst because it is the most virulently antisemitic network that I've come across in my 17 years of doing this work,” Carla Hill, the director of investigative research with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. “[Minadeo] is the front runner. He is the antagonizer, the entertainer.”

“It's not just that they're online spewing nasty stuff. They're actually going out and putting that in the face of the Jewish community, going into their places of worship and harassing them,” she said. “Anyone that agrees with this antisemitic ideology, can go to their content online, print it, and start distributing it.” 


The day after their actions outside the synagogue, Minadeo and his crew hung signs outside the famous Daytona Speedway that read “Henry Ford was right about the Jews” and then projected “Hitler was right” onto the speedway later in the evening. Their actions sparked the ire of Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood who called the group “cowardly scumbags” and said that they could possibly spur the next mass shooter in a press conference Monday. 

“The concern is that somebody is sitting in their garage being indoctrinated into being the next active shooter based on this, based on what they’re putting out there,” Chitwood said. “I don’t think they’ve got the guts to pull the trigger themselves, but they know there’s somebody out there that will do their bidding,” 

Chitwood said that their actions aren’t “First Amendment” but “pure, pure, pure evil.” He said that he, alongside all the Jews in the country are “on the hit list” of the Goyim Defense League.

“This clown group wants me to shut my big mouth and put a bullet in the back of my head,” Chitwood said. “Go for it. That’s my message for you. Go for it.”

While Minadeo disavows violence and the network most likely won’t be physically violent if they show up somewhere, his followers are not benign. One man who shared some of the network’s propaganda was recently charged with shooting two Jewish men who were leaving a synagogue. The two men were wounded but survived, and the suspect, Jamie Tran, 28, has since been charged with federal hate crimes. 


As outlined by the Anti-Defamation League, at least 11 people associated with the Goyim Defense League have faced various charges, including assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, and attempting to solicit sex from a 14-year-old girl. 

Minadeo was arrested in Poland for posing with antisemitic signs outside of Auschwitz. The troll recently moved from California to Florida, but before he did he lamented to a local journalist about how the negative attention was “ruining his life” and how scared he was of antifascists. 

In October, Minadeo and his crew hung a banner over a busy Los Angeles overpass with “Kanye is right about the Jews,” handwritten on it. The stunt garnered so much outrage that California Gov.Gavin Newsom addressed it, saying it was “wake-up call to all of us that we must remain vigilant to protect our values and freedoms as Californians.” Next to the Kanye banner was one promoting their livestreaming platform.

The network is careful not to commit any sort of crime during their trolling but instead tries to bait bystanders into illegal activity against them. In the most recent video, Minadeo can be heard chastising an over-eager neo-Nazi, who was menacing a Jewish person in their vehicle to “not touch his car!” 


Hill said the collective makes sure to be aware of the laws in the locations they pull their stunts in to keep their actions legal. The approach makes it difficult for law enforcement to deal with the neo-Nazis and leads to situations like one in Florida where police officers watched a neo-Nazi walk up to the side of a car trying to pull out of a synagogue parking lot and shout “You filthy Jew piece of shit” through a megaphone.

Chitwood, at his press conference, vowed that would change in his county. During Monday’s press conference, Florida State Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican, said that there would be consequences for the group's actions. 

‘There is no First Amendment right to litter,” Fine said. “There is no First Amendment right to graffiti. There is no First Amendment right to assault. There is no First Amendment right to block someone’s access to the place where they pray. In Florida, if you do that, you’re going to go to jail, and you’re going to go to jail for a very long time.”

Hill told VICE News it's important to view the Goyim Defense League as a network, not a group. Other smaller groups, like the Nationalist Social Club, exist within the network that aid in the stunts. On two separate occasions, high profile members of the network, including a former marine who wants to create a white ethnostate in Maine, went on a lengthy tour where they traveled from city-to-city livestreaming and pulling antisemitic stunts. 


“GDL does have some core members that are devoted to their messaging, promotion and growth. But there are people outside of that, who are in the network,” Hill said. “It's much bigger than just the core membership and core leadership. It's much bigger than that.”

Now, the network’s trolly behavior is nothing new. Neo-Nazis in North America have been attempting to get a rise out of people since George Lincoln Rockwell founded the Nazi Party in the late 1950s. But recent actions have started to gain some attention. Just last week, a neo-Nazi group in New York trolled the debut of a Broadway play about a lynched Jewish man and handed out GDL flyers. 

“This is a propaganda machine that really has an impact on the Jewish community because they have such great intention to get attention,” Hill said. “And it's working, it's scaring the Jewish community.”

Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.

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