Report: Neo-Nazis Using ‘Pokemon Go’ to Recruit Young Followers
The neo-Nazi wing of the alt-right movement is taking advantage of the popularity of the “Pokemon Go” game app to attract new young followers, the Vocativ news website reported on Wednesday.
The report cited a story posted on the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer blog earlier this week by its editor, Andrew Anglin. In the story, Anglin wrote about an “enterprising Stormer” who was finding “Pokemon Go” gyms — places where kids gather to play the augmented-reality game – to be fertile recruiting grounds.
“The Daily Stormer was designed to appeal to teenagers, but I have long thought that we needed to get pre-teens involved in the movement,” Anglin wrote. “At that age, you can really brainwash someone easily. Anyone who accepts Nazism at the age of 10 or 11 is going to be a Nazi for life. And it isn’t hard. It’s just a matter of pulling them in. And what better way to do it than with Pokemon fliers at the Pokemon Go gym???”
Marilyn Mayo, a research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told Vocativ that the blog post marked “another publicity stunt on the part of Anglin to gain media attention.”
According to the Vocativ report, the recruitment flier said to be being distributed at Pokemon Go gyms “rails on Jews, African-Americans, and claims a ‘white genocide’ is happening and white people need to stand up and prepare for the impending race war.”
“Adolph Hitler was a great man,” the flier was quoted as saying. “Just as you want to catch all the Pokemon, he hunted a different type of monster: Jews.”
In July, as reported by The Algemeiner, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC expressed concern about Pokemon Go users in its building.
“Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” Andrew Hollinger, the museum’s communications director, told The Washington Post. “We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”
Since Pokemon Go’s launch earlier this summer, the craze surrounding the app has swept across the world. In New York, a player posted images online showing that he had found Pokemon creatures near the 9/11 Memorial and the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. In Israel, Pokemon creatures have been spotted in the Knesset, among other locations.
And in Britain, The Algemeiner reported, a group of youths took selfies while playing the game at a Jewish cemetery in Edmonton.