[Part 1] Anatomy of a Troll Account: Hunters Against NRA
A troll account linked to the Fake Antifa campaign is provoking Americans left and right on social media — here’s how they do it.
No matter what our political beliefs are, we should be able to agree that those who work to divide the American people are a grave threat to the Republic.
Hunters Against NRA (HANRA) is one of those treasonous people. They have dedicated much of their online lives to dividing Americans and inflaming hatred on both sides of the political aisle. And I’m going to show you exactly how they do it.
This is Part 1 of my breakdown of Hunters Against NRA. In this article, I will examine the history of the fake #NeverAgain group’s social media accounts, and introduce the “character” it is playing to better troll Americans.
In Part 2, I will explain its character more in-depth. And in Parts 3 and 4, I will analyze the trolling tactics it uses.
This series will also serve as a guide to understanding troll accounts on social media, especially those that serve to provoke the American people.
With that said, let’s go through HANRA’s history on social media.
A Brief History of HANRA’s Predecessor, Boston Antifa
On April 7, 2017, Gavin McInnes, the founder of the right-wing Proud Boys organization, interviewed a young couple from Oregon — the account holders of Boston Antifa.
Boston Antifa, if you don’t know, was one of the most infamous fake Antifa accounts on the Internet until its demise in late 2017. It was responsible for spreading toxic memes and provoking rightists and leftists alike.
But in that April 2017 interview with Gavin McInnes, the Oregonian couple, whose real names are Brandon Kreg and Alexis Esteb, according to activist media center It’s Going Down, admitted to trolling Americans with Boston Antifa.
“For some reason a lot of people seemed to buy it up,” Brandon said to McInnes. “I don’t think any of them should feel bad, because the real people are so ridiculous anyway.”
Although Boston Antifa no longer exists on social media, it has been succeeded by another, arguably more sinister, troll project: Hunters Against NRA.
Boston Antifa = Hunters Against NRA
On March 7, 2018, HANRA (@NRAHunters) published its first tweet, announcing that it was starting up operations on Twitter.
Fourteen days later, on March 21, HANRA uploaded a video of Brandon Kreg of Boston Antifa reciting “A Poem Against The NRA.”
They look awfully similar, don’t they?
Here he is in another video posing as an anti-NRA activist. Interestingly, Brandon refers to himself as “Skylar B.”
So, the same person behind Boston Antifa is also part of HANRA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. But what we don’t know is if Alexis Esteb, Brandon’s female partner at Boston Antifa, continues to work with him.
(Brandon is not working alone. We have identified two other people that are working with him. More on this in Part 3.)
With Brandon and HANRA’s identities established, let’s examine how the account is able to troll Americans in the first place.
Introducing HANRA’s Character
To troll is to act. And to act is to play a character so well that people believe, even for just a little while, that you are who you say you are.
At HANRA, Brandon’s character is a member of a “conservative #NeverAgain activist group,” according to the account’s Twitter bio. I say “member” because there are more people behind the troll operation. Here’s the full Twitter bio as of July 9:
A conservative #NeverAgain activist group. Welcome to all colors and creeds! Let’s take our country back! 2A & gun nut trolls not welcome here
On Facebook, HANRA is “the definitive Anti-NRA page” and a “conservative defense against the NRA.” Full version:
HANRA is the definitive Anti-NRA page.
A conservative defense against the NRA and other dangerous elements in American society. If you found this page, welcome to the revolution. Here we say #Enough
We are allies with AGR [Anti-Gun Republicans, another troll page] against the gun lobby!
HANRA is not any of the above, obviously, but the account’s audience — the people it is targeting — believes it is who it says it is. In other words, the audience is under the account’s influence.
Therefore, a good troll understands that if it wants to continue to play its mind games, it must keep up its act for as long as possible. Otherwise, without a convinced audience, the troll is powerless and unable to manipulate others.
In Part 2, we will go over how HANRA is able to keep and play its character on social media.