Trump supporter accused of 'cyber-brownshirting' at BU debate
- Students at Boston University sponsored a debate over the weekend to promote political discourse, but students representing conservatism were instantly compared to Nazis and repeatedly called “brownshirts.”
Students at Boston University sponsored a debate over the weekend to promote political discourse, but students representing conservatism were instantly compared to Nazis and repeatedly called “brownshirts.”
The debate came on the heels of an incident on campus where student Nicholas Fuentes was singled out on social media for openly supporting Trump, and was intended to restore civility to a conversation that had devolved into insults and threats.
Several of his peers took to Facebook to mock and vilify Fuentes, who had appeared in a video that BU produced as part of a series on students’ presidential preferences, with some saying they would “personally fight this piece of shit” and others threatening that he would “have to transfer schools.”
To foster a more civil dialogue, Fuentes agreed to participate in a debate with BU’s Student Government President Jake Brewer, who resorted to comparing his opponent to a Nazi.
In fact, Brewer, on multiple occasions, accused Fuentes of “cyber-brownshirting,” a clear allusion to the paramilitary wing of the pre-WWII Nazi Party.
“In terms of you being a Nazi, I do think you’re engaged with fascist rhetoric. So, are you a Nazi? No; crypto-Nazi maybe,” Brewer said, asserting that for Fuentes to expect people to behave with civility is “completely ridiculous” since he is engaged in “cyber-browshirting.”
When asked to clarify, Brewer explained that Fuentes apparently likes to “troll leftists to make them look like terrible people,” noting that in reality he is “seeking a reaction just the same way that the Brownshirts did in Nazi Germany.”
Later in the debate, one audience member questioned Fuentes about allegations that Trump has sexually assaulted women, asking him how he is able to defend such a candidate.
Fuentes began to answer but was immediately cut off by the female audience member, who said she was going to “stop you right there,” noting that “as a man, you don’t fully understand what it’s like as a woman in this election season,” which rendered a loud applause from the audience.
The debaters eventually discussed the incident that sparked the debate, with Fuentes explaining that “an ideology which champions diversity and pluralism descended on me like vultures for having a different opinion.”
Brewer agreed that while “threats of violence are not okay,” he was “not comfortable with people not being allowed to speak their minds,” declaring, to a round of cheers from the audience, that “This is a multicultural institution, and for someone to come into this multicultural institution and say multiculturalism is cancer—to not expect a reaction is ignorant.”
Following the debate, Fuentes told Campus Reform that he “thought the audience was against” him but joked that it “wouldn’t be fair otherwise.”
“I think [liberals] love to hate me,” he explained. “I think that so long as I’m a conservative in Boston and on a college campus, I think there will be hate and harassment to go around, but, as I said before, everyone is against us.”