How a Member of the ‘Alt-Right’ Infiltrated Hillary’s Speech on Racism and Made the Internet Go Wild

They walk among us…

It was easy to miss. During Hillary Clinton’s speech on the “alt-right” Thursday, a man shouted the word “pepe” after the Democratic nominee first mentioned the movement, what she called “an emerging racist ideology.”

The shout appeared to catch Clinton’s attention:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKCdkl9PGRk

What to make of that?

“Pepe the frog” is a green anthropomorphic cartoon frog from a 2005 comic book called “Boy’s Club.” The character became a popular internet meme, or cartoon used to express facial reactions and other thoughts on the internet.

Eventually, however, Pepe was effectively adopted by the alt-right and 4chan users (an online bulletin board where users post comments and images anonymously).

Pepe the Frog as "Smug Pepe" Image Credit: Knowyourmeme.com
Pepe the Frog as “Smug Pepe” Image Credit: Knowyourmeme.com

Before Clinton delivered her remarks Thursday, a 4chan user posted a photo of a Pepe flag in the audience at the Reno, NV, venue where the candidate delivered her speech.

“At a hill rally in the top left corner of the balcony. Look for me!” the user wrote along with the photo. The Pepe flag helped identify him to other message board users as an alt-right ally:

Screenshot. Image Credit: wearechange.org
Screenshot. Image Credit: wearechange.org

Shortly after the original post other users on the message board urged him to yell “Pepe” during Clinton’s speech.

Others warned him that the “Live” watermark on television and computer screens blocked him from view:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 3.33.55 PM
Screenshot. Image Credit: wearechange.org

Another user compared the venue interior in the original photo with the interior on the live stream to confirm he was actually in the building:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 3.23.43 PM
Screenshot. Image Credit: wearechange.org

Here is a side view of the venue, where the user said he stood, from Getty Photos:

RENO, NV - AUGUST 25: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign even at Truckee Meadows Community College on August 25, 2016 in Reno, Nevada. Hillary Clinton delivered a speech about republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's policies. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty

Then a man named Sean Lewandowski began streaming the speech from the venue on Periscope, a live video sharing social media platform.

You can watch the speech from the man’s vantage point in the video below. Lewandowski shouts “pepe” near the end of the video at 21:30:

https://twitter.com/SeanLewandowski/status/768888294385995777

When he took the plunge, the 4chan crowd online went wild:

z9lYfpA
Screenshot. Image Credit: wearechange.org

In an interview with Breitbart published Friday, the man was only identified as “Sean,” but Lewandowki confirmed to Independent Journal Review his last name.

He told Breitbart, whose chairman just joined Donald Trump’s campaign as CEO, that:

“Originally I had no intention of doing anything other than documenting the event on Periscope… then she started attacking a true patriot, and someone I really look up to, Alex Jones.”

Lewandowki said he was removed from the Clinton event after shouting “pepe” and said he considers himself:

“Alt-right because the conservative establishment right in this country does not represent my views, they are just as much to blame for the disaster taking place in America as the left, the alt right to me is fiscal responsibility, secure borders, enforcement of immigration laws, ending the PC culture, and promoting AMERICA FIRST (Not Sharia First).”

When asked by an Independent Journal Review reporter if he planned to pull out the Pepe flag for future events, Lewandowski replied on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/SeanLewandowski/status/769277313200500736

What do you think?

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