Ricky Vaughn, a far-right Twitter user who named his online pseudonym after Charlie Sheen’s character in the 1989 movie Major League and was followed by the likes of Donald Trump Jr., was unmasked by a fellow member of the alt-right this week. And surprise surprise, he’s a rich kid who comes from a family associated with the mainstream Republican Party.
Earlier this week, white nationalist Congressional candidate Paul Nehlen revealed Vaughn’s real name, Douglass Mackey, in retaliation for what HuffPo’s Luke O’Brien describes as a spat between two factions of the fascist right, those who want public shows of power (Nehlen) and those who want to focus on propaganda (Mackey).
Nehlen, who was banned from Twitter earlier this year, was then promptly banned from the alt-right Twitter alternative Gab for doxxing another user. People on Gab are very mad about this.
Today, O’Brien elaborated on Mackey’s backstory: He grew up in Vermont and went to Middlebury College, and now he lives in New York City. Not only that, but Vaughn’s father is Scott Mackey, a lobbyist for the wireless industry who served as a legislative aide to former Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords—a Republican who, when he switched his party affiliation to independent in 2001, temporarily handed control of the Senate over to the Democratic Party.
When HuffPo reached Mackey’s father by email, he told them that “this is a very difficult time for our family and I don’t have any comment.” Doug Mackey
Here’s what Mackey was up to whenever he wasn’t posting anti-Semitic and racist memes on Twitter, per HuffPo:
After college, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, and took a job as an economist at John Dunham & Associates, an economic consulting firm that uses data to help clients “respond to threats and opportunities in the policy arena.” When reached by phone on Wednesday, the president of the company, John Dunham, confirmed that Mackey had been an employee there from April 2012 to July 2016, when he was terminated for reasons that Dunham could not reveal under New York labor laws. (A month earlier, the @RapinBill Twitter account was registered.)
Mackey appears to have moved that year into a two-bedroom apartment on Lexington Avenue in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. That was certainly his residence by the time he voted, as a Republican, in the 2016 election, according to New York voter registration information.
A graduate from a liberal arts school who hails from a nice wealthy Republican family, who later became an economist and moved to the Upper East Side, was secretly one of the loudest fascists on the internet when he clocked out. Shocking!
It’s easy to dismiss Mackey—whose second Twitter account @RapinBill was suspended today, as a random Twitter troll. That would be a mistake. As O’Brien wrote:
There was no mistaking Ricky Vaughn’s influence. He had tens of thousands of followers, and his talent for blending far-right propaganda with conservative messages on Twitter made him a key disseminator of extremist views to Republican voters and a central figure in the “alt-right” white supremacist movement that attached itself to Trump’s coattails. The MIT Media Lab named him to its list of top 150 influencers on the election, based on news appearances and social media impact. He finished ahead of NBC News, Drudge Report and Stephen Colbert. Mainstream conservatives didn’t know they were retweeting an avowed racist and anti-Semite, but they liked what Ricky Vaughn had to say.
Looks like he won’t be influencing anything else anytime soon.