You never laugh at another’s misfortune… but then you find out it is Vox Day (Theodore Beale) and his minions… https://t.co/R9Gi5nI9s3
— Tony Sarrecchia (@tonythescribe) October 20, 2022
If (to paraphrase Sir Terry Pratchett) you choose to filter that pour through your kidneys first, for best purity, well…
An attempt to make a right-wing superhero movie has ended in disaster, with $1 million missing in China and a participant facing a federal indictment.
“I wouldn’t count on us getting the money back,” Theodore Beale, a far-right blogger known as “Vox Day,” admitted to his fans and investors in a video last week.
This isn’t how Beale’s followers thought their investments would go in 2019 when they started contributing to fund a film based on a Confederacy-themed superhero comic book character created by Beale. A trailer promoting the proposed movie, Rebel’s Run, featured the character Rebel fighting a global police force hunting down freethinking conservatives…
The trailer has been scrubbed from Vimeo, but apparently ‘Rebel’ is a Wonder Woman rip-off in Daisy Duke cut-offs, because I guess there was already a surfeit of not-at-all-homoerotic steroid-enhanced male cartoon characters.
… There was reason to think Beale and his fans could realize their dream of going from comic books to cinema, if only through sheer fanaticism. His devoted followers call him the “Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil,” and describe themselves as his “minions.” Beale’s supporters, who frequently complain about supposed progressive “social justice warrior” influence creeping into fields like video games and science fiction, had already funded a handful of comic book issues and stirred up a controversy at science fiction’s premiere awards.
Beale’s history of racism could have made it difficult for Rebel’s Run, which stars a character sometimes depicted in a Confederate flag bustier, to find traditional financing. He has claimed that certain races are more likely to commit violence and called one of his foes in the science-fiction dispute, a Black author, a “half-savage.” Beale has affiliated himself with the Gamergate movement, opposes women’s suffrage, and once described homosexuality as a “birth defect.”
Given that track record, he instead turned to Utah-based Ohana Capital Financial, a business aimed at customers that would struggle to get money elsewhere.
As Ohana’s promotional materials put it, according to prosecutors, the firm offered “banking [to] the unbankable.” On Nov. 5, 2020, Beale transferred the $1 million to Ohana to be held in escrow in advance of future film funding.
Ohana was the creation of James Wolfgramm, a self-described cryptocurrency billionaire who posted pictures of sports cars that supposedly belonged to him on social media. But in fact, according to a federal indictment filed last month, Wolfgramm’s wealth was a sham. The sports car pictures, for example, were pulled from other websites. Wolfgramm’s business also sold what were billed as high-tech cryptocurrency mining rigs—but those too were a hoax, according to prosecutors, with their screens just running on a loop to create the illusion of mines.
Unbeknownst to Beale and his supporters, the indictment alleges, Wolfgramm was deeply in debt to one of his business’s other clients. That client had paid Ohana more than $4 million in September 2020, several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of what was meant to be a payment to a Chinese manufacturer of personal protective equipment. Instead of carrying out the transaction, prosecutors allege, Wolfgramm spent the millions on his own unrelated business issues.
Now seven figures in the hole and with no PPE to show for it, Wolfgramm allegedly used the Rebel’s Run money to buy the Chinese medical equipment. Soon after that, according to a video Beale released to his fans, the blogger and his collaborators became suspicious and contacted the FBI, sparking the investigation into Wolfgramm…
Beale claims, without evidence, that the alleged con was carried out to disrupt his right-wing fanbase.
“I strongly suspect that this whole thing was a targeted operation intended to break our community,” Beale said in the video he published last week…
*I* strongly suspect Wolfgramm worried more about shorting the sort of people looking to profit off semi-licit PPE at the height of the pandemic than he did about cheating a bunch of nerds whose most dangerous weapon is trollbombing review sites and social media threads.
This may be the first time something Theodore Beale has written made more than a thousand people happy. pic.twitter.com/pDT7jXLkHM
— Kern Wallace (@TheKernWallace) October 20, 2022
… Who Else Was Involved in the Rebel’s Run Trainwreck?
Beale is a longtime right-wing blogger who promotes his own role in the misogynistic GamerGate harassment campaign. He was also at the head of the Rabid Puppies campaign attempt to usurp the SciFi Hugo Award with a host of right-wing fiction and innocuous, sexually charged e-books (which eventually blew up in his face spectacularly). Beale has been called “the most despised man in science fiction.” He reportedly called the lauded and award-winning SciFi-Fantasy author N.K. Jemisin, who is Black, an “ignorant half-savage.” These comments helped him get expelled from the Science Fiction Writers Association.
Scooter Downey was listed as the film’s director. Downey had been previously signed on to write the script for Tucker Carlson’s right-wing conspiracy extravaganza documentary series on the Jan. 6 insurrection called Patriot Purge, and was also set to direct Rebel’s Run. His IMDB page lists Tucker Carlson Originals as part of his editorial filmography, which could include the utterly insane series End of Men, and he’s promoted that series on his Twitter account. Carlson recently caught some flak for platforming and endorsing men who tan their testicles, thinking that it aids testosterone production. Here’s a hint, it doesn’t…
The other big name attached to the film was Chuck Dixon, a well-known comics writer who has written for Marvel’s Punisher series as well as DC’s Batman through the 1990s and early 2000s. Since 2010 he has dived headlong into the alt-right conspiracist sphere and started writing for Beale’s Arkhaven brand including the Alt-Hero series. That comic even includes a “Q” storyline, with the tagline “Where we go one,” which is a common phrase for the QAnon conspiracy that believes satanic Democrats are involved in a ring of cannabalistic pedophiles.
To which one commentor replied, “What a hero. I meant the crypto scammer.”