Readers of The Right Stuff long knew that founder “Mike Enoch” had two main interests: technology and white supremacy. Posts on the neo-Nazi site have included discussion of “a new blogging platform built on node.js,” while other less techie content has alluded to the “chimpout” in Ferguson, putting Jews in ovens, and Trump’s “top-tier troll” of Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In January, Enoch was outed as Mike Peinovich, a Manhattan-based software engineer. His unmasking highlighted a lingering question about the racist far-right movement that rose to prominence with Donald Trump’s election: What support might the so-called alt-right have among techies?
Ever since I began investigating the extremist groups lining up behind Trump last spring, several of their leaders have made big claims to me about an alt-right following in Silicon Valley and across the broader tech industry. “The average alt-right-ist is probably a 28-year-old tech-savvy guy working in IT,” white nationalist Richard Spencer insisted when I interviewed him a few weeks before the election. “I have seen so many people like that.” Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, told me he gets donations from Silicon Valley, and that Santa Clara County, home to Apple and Intel, is his site’s largest traffic source. Chuck Johnson, the publisher of the conspiracy-mongering site Got News, said he gets lots of page views from the San Francisco Bay Area.
After Peinovich was outed, he also insisted to me that many techies secretly identify with the alt-right, which he attributed to a backlash against the “corporate feminist and diversity agenda” of tech companies. “The fact that speaking up about this virtually guarantees career and social suicide, as in my case, shows why so many white males in tech would be attracted to the alt-right.”