DARK HORSE Inside the world of ‘bronies’- the men who love My Little Pony & are linked with neo-Nazism & shootings

MY Little Pony is supposed to be a harmless kids show, but a hardcore following of adult fans have twisted it into something darker.

Animal porn and white supremacy have long been associated with the surreal subculture — which is now being linked with a mass shooting too.

Brandon Scott Hole’s final Facebook post expressed a desire to be with a My Little Pony character in ‘the afterlife’ before his killing spree in IndianaCredit: The Mega Agency

Hole shot eight dead and then himself in an attack on a FedEx facility where he used to workCredit: Imagn Content Services

Last week, 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole shot eight people dead at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis where he’s believed to have previously worked.

The teen, who killed himself after the attack, posted a bizarre message on Facebook less than an hour before he opened fire. 

“I hope that I can be with Applejack in the afterlife, my life has no meaning without her,” the post read, according to the Wall Street Journal

The post was reportedly accompanied by a picture of Applejack, one of the main characters from the children’s TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Characters from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV series have become an obsession for ‘bronies’

Bronies at BronyCon in Baltimore in 2019 – it’s a quirky hobby for many, but some use the subculture to spread dark ideasCredit: AFP

An internal Facebook memo obtained by the Journal says Hole had two Facebook accounts which mostly focused on My Little Pony. 

Adult fans of the show refer to themselves as “bronies” — a portmanteau of the words “bro” and “ponies” — and as a group they’ve “displayed elements of far-right and white nationalist extremism,” the memo said, though there’s no sign that was what motivated Hole’s attack. 

While the overwhelming majority of bronies are just sincere fans of the series, online forums have been infested with extreme porn and racist messaging for years — and have even been linked with real world violence before. 

Kids show with adult fans

My Little Pony had happily cantered along for decades as an innocuous brand for kids long before online forums became obsessed with it. 

Hasbro began manufacturing the range of toys in 1981, but the series’ characters didn’t gain a widespread adult following until the launch of the animated kids series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in 2010.

The cartoon, which ran from 2010-2019, was aimed at kids and covered themes of friendship and kindnessCredit: BBC

The series soon attracted an adult audience and a market of conventions and merchandise spread in recent yearsCredit: AFP

The show follows a group of magical pony friends with names like Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash on their adventures in a fantasy world called Equestria.

In the years since it first aired, the brony subculture built in online forums including 4Chan, an anonymous image board site now linked with a seemingly endless list of scandals. 

But it soon spilled offline too, with brony conventions attracting thousands of likeminded fans from around the world to meet up in person.

And there’s even a hardcore following in the UK who’ve been outspoken in defending their interest, arguing that most bronies are just well-intentioned hobbyists.

Sam Harris, a British brony, has defended the subculture from critics who see it as dangerousCredit: BBC

“Some people seem to think it’s sexual attraction to the characters,” Sam Harris, organiser of the Severn Bronies, told the BBC.

“Or that they might want to do things with actual horses, or they collect the cuddly toys to do lewd things to them, that kind of thing is sensationalist hype and completely untrue.

“If anyone thinks it’s strange or unusual, I’d just say, there are so many different types of people in the world who enjoy various different things and as long as it makes them happy, and it doesn’t hurt them, what does it matter?”

Horse porn and white supremacy

In recent years, concerns have been raised about some of the content that is being shared on a daily basis on dedicated brony sites. 

And despite Harris’ insistence, there are some bronies who do sexualise the characters.

Sexualised drawings of the characters from My Little Pony are regularly shared onlineCredit: derpibooru

Sometimes referred to as “cloppers”, these users commission and share pornographic images of the kids TV show characters.

And there’s also been well-documented threads of neo-Nazi and white supremacist content spread throughout the subculture.

One fan-made character, Aryanne, is often depicted wearing an SS uniform with a pink heart marking on her hip which contains a swastika. 

The alarming cross-over between the alt-right and bronies might also have a serious grounding in the UK too.

Bronies have created the Nazi character Aryanne and have used My Little Pony to spread white supremacist hateCredit: .

An anonymous blogger known as Buttercup Dew ran a site called My Nationalist Pony which used the children’s characters to spread white nationalist ideas. 

The writer claimed to be a man in their 20s from south London in a 2014 interview with Counter Currents

“I was raised here and have never lived significantly far from here, so I’ve always been on top of a Ground Zero for white displacement,” they said. 

They added that they were specifically preaching white nationalism to bronies because they are: “an implicitly (and heavily) white group of young men, who are suffering from a total disillusionment with modern life, casting around for an identity and meaningful purpose.

An anonymous blogger purporting to be from London ran a site dedicated to a white nationalist interpretation of My Little PonyCredit: .

“Basically, the target demographic that White Nationalism needs to capture if whites are to survive. 

“Despite a healthy crop of alienated losers seeking inclusion, the presence and sheer scale of the ‘brony’ fandom cannot be underestimated.”

Brony bloodshed

Bronies have been implicated in murder cases even before last week’s bloodshed. 

Joshua Charles Acosta, a soldier of the US Army, murdered three people at their home in Los Angeles in 2016.

Joshua Charles Acosta, a reported member of a brony group, killed three people in LA in 2016Credit: Orange County Register

Acosta, who was 23 at the time of the attack, shot dead the mother, stepfather, and a family friend of a teenage girl he believed to be freeing from an abusive family situation. 

He met the teenager through furry and brony groups, NBC Los Angelesreports, with the former referring to people who are interested in dressing up as animals with human qualities. 

Two girls aged six and nine were in the house at the time of the bloodbath. 

On a 911 call played in court, the six-year-old can be heard saying: “My dad is in the backyard dead and my mom is dead in bed…”

Acosta was jailed for life in 2018.

Investigators at the scene of the shooting in Indianapolis which saw eight people shot dead last weekCredit: Indianapolis Star-USA TODAY NETWORK

While investigators hoped to discover a motive for Hole’s massacre in Indianapolis last week, the search continues. 

He was placed under psychiatric detention by police last spring after his mother reported concerns that he was contemplating “suicide by cop”, according to the FBI.

A shotgun was taken from his home, but when he was cleared of harbouring “racially motivated violent extremism ideology”, he was able to legally buy assault rifles in July and September.

Police say he was seen using both weapons during the shooting, which left four members of the local Sikh community dead. 

The Sikh Coalition has called for an investigation into “bias as a possible motive” in the killings, though investigators are yet to establish a motive. 

The FedEx attack is the deadliest attack on the Sikh community in the US since 2012, when a white supremacist killed seven at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

17-year-old Black teen accused in mass murder of his own family in Indianapolis

Sources tell 13News the 17-year-old suspect in the Adams Street killings was upset after his parents refused to allow him to leave home.

INDIANAPOLIS — NOTE: The above video is from a previous report on the mass murder.

More details have surfaced about the mass murder of an Indianapolis family this week on the city’s east side. Sources told 13News the 17-year-old suspect in the Adams Street killings was upset after his parents refused to allow him to leave home.

After an argument with his parents, the accused teenager reportedly used an assault-style rifle to fatally shoot everyone in the house on Jan. 24. The deceased are the teen suspect’s 42-year-old father Raymond Childs, his mother Kezzie, 42, a 13-year-old sister Rita and his 18-year-old brother Elijah Childs along with Elijah’s 19-year-old girlfriend Kiara Hawkins and their unborn child referred to as “Baby Boy Hawkins.”

Credit: New Boy Mentoring
Elijah Childs

Another sibling, injured by gunfire, escaped the home in the 3500 block of Adams Street and ran to a neighborhood house for help. That sibling told responding officers what led to the gunfire, according to IMPD.

Sources also told 13News the teenage suspect may have used an assault-style rifle seen in music videos where he raps about emptying the clip to kill others.

IMPD is working with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to file final charges against the 17-year-old no later than next week, according to a spokesperson in the prosecutor’s office.

IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey told 13News the department is withholding the minor suspect’s name until after charges are filed. That will likely happen in adult court.

In Indiana, the case can go directly into adult court when a juvenile is suspected in a violent felony without a waiver hearing in juvenile detention court. IMPD has not released the name of the surviving teenager, who is expected to recover from his injuries.

13News has learned that relatives of Kiara Hawkins are making plans for her final arrangements as relatives of the Childs family begin to do the same. A GoFundMe for the Childs family can be found here.

New Zealand Mosque Shooting Suspect Brenton Tarrant Flashes White Power Sign in Court

ec3600b4-4778-11e9-b5dc-9921d5eb8a6d_image_hires_083810He made his first appearance since the massacres.

 

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand—The self-described racist who allegedly carried out massacres in two mosques flashed a white power sign during his first court appearance.

Photos from the brief proceeding showed Brenton Harrison Tarrant, flanked by police, using his shackled hand to make an “OK” symbol that has been appropriated by white supremacists and is also used by right-wing internet trolls.

The 28-year-old Australian personal trainer is charged with one count of murder in connection with the back-to-back mass shootings that left 49 people death and dozens more wounded—but authorities said more charges will be coming. His court-appointed attorney did not apply for bail, and he will be jailed until his next appearance on April 5.

The public was not allowed into the courtroom, which was packed with media. Tarrant wordlessly swayed in the dock, looking back and forth from the gallery to the bench.

Tarrant did not seek a suppression order that would have prevented media from using his name in New Zealand—perhaps not a surprise given his apparent lust for notoriety as evidenced by an online manifesto and a sickening live-stream of the attack.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the symbol Tarrant used was adopted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis “to signal their presence to the like-minded, as well as to identify potentially sympathetic recruits among young trolling artists flashing it.”

Tarrant did not have a criminal record before he turned Friday prayers at two mosques into a bloodbath and “was not known to authorities in connection with far-right violence,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during a press conference Saturday morning.

He began purchasing guns in December 2018, officials said, and allegedly used five legally purchased guns: two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm.

Tarrant was apprehended in a car in southern Christchurch, according to witnesses. His car had been rigged with explosives, which police said they dismantled.

The prime minister confirmed two other people were in custody though local authorities are still trying to determine if they were actually involved. One was identified as 18-year-old Daniel John Burrough of Christchurch, who was charged with trying to incite racial hatred. No other details were provided and it was unclear if he even knew Tarrant.

A fourth person arrested late Friday night turned out to be just “a member of the public” who was in possession of a firearm and was trying to help police, authorities said. That person was released.

“While the national grapples with a form of anger and grief we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers,” Ardern said on Saturday morning. “We are all grieving together.”

Tarrant allegedly began legally purchasing weapons in December 2018 while “sporadically” traveling in and out of the country, authorities said on Friday in a press conference.

In a press conference Saturday morning, Ardern revealed “the suspect” acquired a category A gun license in December 2018, and began stockpiling firearms shortly after.

“This individual has travelled around the world, with sporadic periods of time spent in New Zealand. They were not a resident of Christchurch, in fact they were currently based in Dunedin at the time of this event,” she said, though she did not identify Tarrant as the suspect.

A Facebook account for a Brenton Tarrant,  where the video of the attack was posted, used the nickname Barry Harry Tarry, an apparent play on his full name. The same nickname was used on his Vimeo account.

A Twitter account under the name Brenton Tarrant posted images of black rifles and magazine covered in white writing that matched the weapons seen in the live-streamed video. (The names were of people whose deaths he claimed he was avenging and of racist murderers who he said inspired him.) And the metadata on the online manifesto listed the author as Brenton Tarrant. An 8chan post linked to both the manifesto and the Facebook page.

The rambling manifesto is titled called “The Great Replacement.” The name is a reference to the 2012 book by right-wing French polemicist Renaud Camus that pushes the conspiracy theory that Muslims are replacing the white European and French Catholic cultures. The entire work is filled with anti-Muslim white supremacist vitriol with the clear intent that it would be widely read. He asks and answers questions he clearly wants quoted, much like his Islamophobic idol Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 69 people on a Norwegian island in 2011.

Tarrant’s Twitter account @brentontarrantprofile, from which he published his rambling manifesto was disabled shortly after his alleged shooting spree started. It was just a month old and had 2,018 followers and 63 mostly anti-immigrant tweets. He retweeted stories about white women’s low fertility rates and crimes carried out by Islamic extremists from underground websites and mainstream outlets like the New York Times and Daily Mail.

Tarrant said in the manifesto that he was traveling and “training” for the massacre for the past two years. He reportedly worked as a personal trainer at the Big River Gym in his hometown of Grafton, New South Wales, Australia. He helped disadvantaged children, according to the woman who once supervised him.

“He worked in our program that offered free training to kids in the community, and he was very passionate about that,” Gym manager Tracey Gray told Australia’s ABC news. “I think something must have changed in him during the years he spent traveling overseas.”

His travels took him across Europe and Asia, Gray said. He had worked for cryptocurrency trader Bitconnect and used the money he made to travel to North Korea, where he was photographed visiting the Samjiyon Grand Monument according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I honestly can’t believe that somebody I have probably had daily dealings with and had shared conversations and interacted with would be capable of something to this extreme,” Gray told the paper.

He described himself in the manifesto as “just a ordinary White man, 28 years old. Born in Australia to a working class, low income family. My parents are of Scottish, Irish and English stock.” He said his childhood was normal “without any great issues.”

But he goes on to say it wasn’t without problems. “I had little interest in education during my schooling, barely achieving a passing grade,” he wrote. “I did not attend University as I had no great interest in anything offered in the Universities to study.”

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