In a surprising turn of events, Carl Benjamin, better known by his online alias “Sargon of Akkad,” has been selected by the United Kingdom Independence Party to become a Member of the European Parliament for his country’s Southwest region (1).
Benjamin came to prominence on YouTube’s platform during the “#GamerGate” scandal. In 2014, video game consumers used the hashtag to broadly criticize gaming journalists favoring progressive social justice. Their grievances included both unethical tampering with journalist neutrality, such as sexual relationships for career advancement (2), and forcing unwanted political ideologies onto the video game community (3). The gamers’ behavior against specific journalists varied, ranging from critiquing leftist ideology to trolling and death threats (4). Figures like Zoë Quinn, Brianna Wu, and Anita Sarkeesian came under intense scrutiny. Benjamin created fervid, podcast-style videos under his alias, calling out the gaming press specifically. His rational analysis gained Benjamin a sizable following. He then moved on to produce more videos directed against feminism, identity politics, and political correctness in general. Benjamin entered mainstream politics by making derisive comments about Labour MP Jess Phillips on Twitter, sparking hundreds of trolls to do the same (5). He joined UKIP after acquaintance and shitposter Mark Meechan, known online as “Count Dankula,” did so as a dare on Twitter. (6)
Carl Benjamin is a “self-described classical liberal” and “centrist,” despite biased media incorrectly slandering him as alt-right or fascist (7). He had no intention of representing his country, but instead feels duty-bound to do so because professional British politicians have been neglecting their duties (8). He believes and promotes the liberal understanding of freedom: the license to say or do anything as you please within reason of the pragmatic good. This is Benjamin’s principled reason for joining UKIP, as it’s “the only major party that gives a damn about the erosion of liberty in [the United Kingdom], and they’re not afraid to say it” (6).
Benjamin’s ascension from “his living room” into the political limelight seems to indicate a real, growing dissatisfaction with the British and their establishment party system. UKIP hopes to take a stand for their principles amidst ineffective competitors: to effectively split the United Kingdom from the European Union. With new members flowing in, the party’s prospects seems favorable.
Featured Image. Sargon of Akkad, “My Campaign to become an MEP for South West England,” YouTube, April 12th, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmytXiVXoYs
- “UKIP announces top two candidates for each EU election region,” UKIP: For the Nation, United Kingdom Independence Party, April 12th, 2019, https://www.ukip.org/national-ukip-news-item.php?id=205
- Gjoni, Eron, thezoepost, September, 2014, https://thezoepost.wordpress.com
- Sargon of Akkad, “This Week in Stupid – XL #GamerGate #NotYourShield Edition! (31/08/2014),” YouTube, August 31st, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_K13iEWQfY&list=PLM9L2W5aOI_1zFJPiJST1GpxOTP-qomDS&index=5
- Edwards, Jim, “Video Gamers Are Having A Bizarre Debate Over Whether Sending Death Threats To Women Is A Serious Issue,” Business Insider, Insider, Inc, October 13th, 2014, https://www.businessinsider.com/gamergate-death-threats-2014-10
- Daubney, Martin, “I set out to troll her — why all this fuss about 600 rape tweets?,” The Times, June 5th, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/i-set-out-to-troll-her-why-all-this-fuss-about-600-rape-tweets-56h38ts97
- Sargon of Akkad, “War Plan Purple,” YouTube, June 27th, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upOWJjHqL60
- Holt, Jared, “‘Sargon of Akkad’ Cites White Nationalist Propoganda, Reveals His Alt-Right Sympathies,” Right Wing Watch, December 13th, 2017, http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/sargon-of-akkad-cites-white-nationalist-propaganda-reveals-his-alt-right-sympathies/
- Sargon of Akkad, “My Campaign to become an MEP for South West England,” YouTube, April 12th, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmytXiVXoYs