Do you all know about the guy who made the fake Ammon Bundy Twitter account that fooled the media? He sounds awful. Completely awful.
The fictional character the he calls “The Saint Negro,” he said, is black, but he himself is white. His avatar is an image of a caricatured black face, which “The Saint” said he found while Googling around for “funny faces” on the Internet. When told that the image — which has made its way around the Internet over the years — appears to be an old racist Halloween mask, “The Saint” said he wasn’t previously aware of where the image came from. He countered that he doesn’t really believe its origin matters because “I’m not using it in a racist way at all.”
The Saint’s account is known among his friends for his image manipulations, which often involve placing the mask image over the bodies and faces of black people — including in contexts that reference racial stereotypes. Some of his images and captions make fun of activists in the “Black Lives Matter” movement — particularly activist Shaun King.
“The Saint” said that he believes some Black Lives Matter activists are fair game for his particular brand of mockery because they don’t want to have an “open discussion” on race and police brutality — and instead, he argued, automatically label those who disagree with them as white supremacists.
When I suggested that a parody account with “Negro” in the handle and a picture of a caricatured black face as an avatar was perhaps not an effective way to start the sort of serious conversation he wants, he replied: “I do agree with that statement. It does come off the wrong way.” That’s why, he said, he changed his display name to “The Saint” on Thursday, dropping the “Negro” reference. But for now, the handle, the avatar and the Photoshops are staying put, because he believes that anyone who sees his account as racist hasn’t taken the time to understand his intentions.
He sees his main account as just a character who likes to “push buttons” and “make fun of everybody” — including journalists.