San Francisco-based feminist troll Shanley Kane is a racist “full of hatred” who as recently as 2012 expressed disgust at interracial relationships and who uses racially-charged epithets to describe black people, a former boyfriend has claimed.
“I’ve never made a sincere apology in my entire life,”Andrew Auernheimer told Breitbart in an explosive interview that makes outrageous claims about Kane’s racist past. “The public largely despises me for my political views—I’m one of the most visible and public advocates of white nationalism—and my position as the world’s most notorious Internet troll. But I’ve never done anything that I think I should be sorry for, with one exception: for a few short months, I dated Shanley Kane, the technology industry’s feminist antagonist, and I taught her Internet trolling.”
Auernheimer, better known to the internet as weev, is a controversial figure. That’s putting it mildly: he’s a convicted hacker, a prolific internet troll, a self-confessed anti-semite and, as we reported in October, a white nationalist—though he prefers the term “pan-European supremacist.” But he is also, as he confessed to Breitbart this week, the former partner of feminist agitator and former PR girl Shanley Kane, about whom we reported last year.
Kane is one of the most high-profile feminist activists in San Francisco. She publishes long pseudoacademic essays on her website, Model View Culture, which have been characterised by critics as “man-hating diatribes” and she uses a profanity-laced Twitter account to attack prominent figures in the tech industry, such as Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, journalists, start-up employees and even other women. Yet Auernheimer says Kane switched to feminism and social justice merely as an excuse to bully people, and that until very recently she was an outspoken racist.
Auernheimer says he first met Kane at an event called the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo in New York in 2011. “This was last dying whimper of the ‘in tech’ community,” he says, referring to the post-dotcom crash era of Silicon Valley, which was a penniless and moribund time for many in the Bay Area. “These people with marketing degrees had stopped talking about building the next Google. In desperation, they began to talk about the need for greater diversity in tech. Maybe some of them would get to keep their jobs if they helped their employers look less bigoted,” he speculates.
Auernheimer’s as accomplished a troll in real life—and as much of a racist—as he is on the internet, as his anecdotes sometimes demonstrate. “I was feeling especially misanthropic because I was banned from the Internet by order of a federal court, so I felt it was a good application of my time to spend my nights insulting people that didn’t deserve such a privilege. At one point that night, I put a piece of paper and a pencil in front of a black man that claimed he was an expert in scaling web infrastructure and asked him to demonstrate the use of the toupper() function in the C programming language, a challenge equivalent to asking a mathematician to multiply two whole numbers.
“When he was unable to do so, I said to him: ‘This is a bar. You’re a n—-r filling a diversity quota. Don’t front, just get wasted.’ I was removed from the bar by security shortly afterwards. Shanley came out running after me. She had found my remarks hilarious.”
Auernheimer became something of an avuncular figure to Kane, according to his account of their relationship. “At this point, I had a bit of a reputation in the tech world,” he explains. “I was indicted thanks to AT&T. She worked directly with AT&T’s CTO. At this point I knew what the score was: sometimes a girl really wants to f–k a guy that would really piss off her dad or her boss. She’d later say of our relationship: ‘Sometimes a girl just wants to be defiled.’ We spent the next days in her hotel room eating food on her company’s dime.
“Shanley had worked her ass off for years and had nothing to show for it, and seeing my irreverence at an event full of O’Reilly douchebags deprogrammed her to a certain degree. For the next few months we ended up dating. Her vitriolic nature made me proud,” he says. “My heart swelled when she used racial epithets to insult someone engaged in a miscegenatory relationship. She was full of hatred and racially aware.” This is the first in a series of explosive racial allegations Auernheimer makes in the course of his story: that Shanley Kane would use racially-charged language, as recently as 2012, to insult people in mixed-race relationships.
Throughout the interview, Auernheimer uses language and expresses opinions that would unsettle many readers, and which will paint him in most people’s eyes as a bigot. But while he is unashamed about his views on Jewish people and non-whites, he says that Shanley Kane, despite her current protestations about opportunities in tech for “women of color,” shared, at least until 2012, his opinions about non-whites. She is driven, he says, by “hatred” of men.
“Throughout our relationship,” Auernheimer
“She showed herself to be among the best copywriters in the world. If she had decided to be a copy and creative director of an e-mail marketing operation, she would have become wildly successful. She decided to become a ‘social justice’ advocate and dedicate her time to getting men in technology fired. It wasn’t long before her copy was honed to a razor-sharp blade that she wielded on the prison compound of social media, shanking everyone she could to show others how tough she was.
“Shanley and I didn’t have a relationship that lasted very long. Some behaviors that are cute when your relationship is based out of hotels become burdens when you live in the same apartment. After a little bit we couldn’t stand the company of one another. However, a lasting wonder from our time together is how well she adapted the troll dialectic to her social justice campaigns. For a long time I didn’t talk about our relationship simply because her success as a ruiner was a creation of mine that I enjoyed marvelling at from a distance.”
Auernheimer’s “pride” in Kane’s trolling abilities turned to regret when he realised that Kane was not adhering to what he saw as the “rules” of trolling. “There is an unwritten rule in the trolling community … you are supposed to go after charlatans and parasites. Shanley has no such limitations on her behavior. At some point it became clear that I had not made a troll attempting to make comedy out of people’s reactions, but a simple bully making misery in the lives of targets she found weak,” he confides.
That’s one of the reasons the relationship faltered. “One day she began verbally abusing one of the four most brilliant scientists I know, who happens to also be a woman, simply because she refused to toe the feminist party line. The scientist in question responded with a well-thought-out essay.
“Her campaigns have destroyed the careers of many good and decent people. Shanley acts as a very vocal advocate for women of color in the technology community now, [but] the things that once came out of her mouth about minorities and interracial relationships would be commonplace in the comments of neo-Nazi websites like The Daily Stormer.”
These are extraordinary charges, but Auernheimer would at least know what he’s talking about when it comes to The Daily Stormer: it was in that internet blog that he came out, in October of this year, as an anti-semite and “pan-European supremacist”, showing off a large swastika tattoo on his chest.
Auernheimer concludes: “[Kane] feigns concern for the plight of minorities simply to advance her campaign against the technology industry. She does, however, legitimately hate men with an undying rage. I don’t want to even think about what must have happened to her in her childhood for her to carry around that much hate, but it is inappropriate for her to take it out on innocent scientists instead of her father.”
Auernheimer, who today lives in Lebanon and communicated with Breitbart via email, telephone and Twitter direct message, says he is revealing the truth about Kane now because he feels the need for “penance.” In particular, he draws attention to Pax Dickinson, “one of the good people whose careers Shanley ended.” Dickinson was fired from his position as CTO at Business Insider after unsavoury tweets of his emerged, but it has been Kane who has made him permanently unemployable, says Auernheimer.
Dickinson attempted to crowdfund a project to expose corruption in American media last year, but the project did not meet its target. “He was going to use the money to investigate the media outlets that give leftist bullies power,” writes Auernheimer.
Auernheimer, in his role as internet provocateur weev, is a highly intelligent, professionally mischievous figure, and some will question the authenticity of his claims. But emails seen by Breitbart, in which Kane refers to Auernheimer as “Daddy,” suggest that he did have a close romantic relationship with Shanley Kane. Emails include travel plans, flight confirmations and affectionate messages sent between the two between October 2011 and March 2012. Documents show Kane purchasing travel and conference tickets for him on several occasions.
When asked for comment, Shanley Kane, who has a long history of being abusive to reporters, replied, “Go f–k yourself.” She then published this interviewer’s private cell phone number on social media and tweeted, apparently in anticipation of what may appear in this story, that she had written “about my past being a misogynist, slut-shaming, queer-phobic, abusive, racist, ableist and classist [sic].”
“I didn’t start out like this. I became this through a process of growth, education,” she added. “And to get a few other things out the way: I’ve f–ked a bunch of assholes, I’ve practiced sadomasochism and there are nudes out there.”
The problem, critics may note when considering the charges of racism now facing Shanley Kane, is that they do not represent an embarrassing forum post from a decade ago, as is the case with so many manufactured scandals of the internet era. If Auernheimer is to be believed, they form part of a pattern of ugly, racist behaviour just a few short years ago. Which rather begs the question: why should anyone listen to her now?
Photograph of Andrew Auernheimer courtesy of Sarah Erris Torrent