Photo via Instagram

Meet the U of C student behind a popular alt-right Instagram page

By Jason Herring, September 21 2018 —

Update:

Following the publication of this article, Gillam approached the Gauntlet to defend his involvement with @rightwingism. He said the page was meant to be a platform for open discourse for people of all political views.

“The main, driving value about what I believe, my core beliefs, is freedom of speech, freedom of expression and open discourse,” Gillam said. “The idea behind this page, whether you like it or not, whether you agree with the opinions or you don’t, is you can have the most unpopular opinion, and as long as people are willing to challenge that, that’s the beauty.”

Gillam also addressed the page’s connection to Schuman, saying that the correspondence comprised of a single Instagram direct message, which Gillam said he did not see himself.

He also acknowledged his post about race-mixing, stating that the page also hosted counter-arguments.

“I’ve also done a post about the benefits [of race-mixing], if you were to scroll through the page, which is actually deactivated right now conveniently for you because we made the decision to deactivate it in light of national news [regarding Schuman],” he said. “I’ve also made a post about the benefits and the consequences, laying out both sides. I even had people come in from different walks of the political spectrum to make those assessments.”

Gillam said he wanted to make it clear that @rightwingism was a page that provided opportunity for dissenting political views.

“Radicals are accepted on my page, and I’m not afraid to say that. But moderates are accepted on my page too. I don’t care who you are, you can be antifa, you can be a Nazi,” he said. “I’m giving a platform, but it’s with a reason. It’s not because I want them to succeed, it’s because I want them and I want people to see who these people are and I want them to be able to challenge them. Maybe change their mind, maybe have their mind changed, at least open their minds and be open to hearing a new opinion.”

 

Original story:

University of Calgary student Leslie Gillam was among administrators of the now-defunct alt-right Instagram page @rightwingism.

The page recently made headlines after Philip Schuman, a candidate seeking the United Conservative Party nomination for Calgary-Glenmore, offered funding to the Instagram account, as reported by PressProgress. @rightwingism shared over 1,100 posts, most of which idolized Nazism and Hitler and often contained explicit anti-Semitic and racist content.

Gillam was among the page’s administrators, posting under the handle “L🚁,” though users occasionally referred to him as “Les.” He appeared in a video celebrating the account’s one-year anniversary and thanking the page’s followers — a base that had grown to over 51,000 before it disappeared on Sept. 19. Gillam also wrote messages accompanying many of the page’s posts, include a screed in which he states that he “would prefer that whites stay within their own race.”

 

Photo via Instagram

 

Photo via Instagram

 

A still-active Instagram account called @les.wingism contains a photo of Gillam in addition to other images, including one of a dagger emblazoned with a swastika. Instagram user @lesghoste — Gillam’s personal account — left a comment simply reading “yes” on the photo.

 

Photo via Instagram

 

Photo via Instagram

 

Gillam is an executive of the University of Calgary Conservatives (UCC), serving as the club’s vice-president communications. He appears in a number of photos on the UCC’s Facebook page as well as in posts on the subreddit /r/rightwingism. According to a post on that subreddit, Gillam “quit” moderation of the Instagram account on Aug. 19.

 

Photo via Facebook

 

When contacted via his Facebook account, Gillam declined the Gauntlet’s request for an interview.

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