For a guy who brands himself the “future of journalism,” Lucian Wintrich doesn’t do much actual journalism.
America’s more boring version of Milo Yiannopoulos, Lucian has become something of a new media darling. The Hollywood Reporter, The New Yorker and others have profiled the foppish 28-year-old, highlighting his rise in the New Right and his perch as the White House correspondent for the The Gateway Pundit. He’s also been invited to speak at colleges like Columbia University and New York University, where audiences have gathered to hear his social commentary.
But for all the fascination with Lucian, he has distinguished himself mostly by spreading misinformation, manufacturing confrontations, and taking half nude pictures of skinny young men. His splashiest “scoop” was a breathless report about getting into a shoving match with an underage Malia Obama in a New York nightclub. Under scrutiny, the story quickly began to unravel.
Lucian first gained attention in July 2016 when he curated an art exhibition called “Twinks for Trump,” which featured barely dressed boy models in various suggestive positions sporting “Make America Great Again” hats. The point of the exhibition, apparently, was to show that gay men can be transgressive and rebellious simply by voting for Donald Trump.
The photographs eventually wound up on display at a “Gays for Trump” party during the Republican National Convention, which got the attention of influential New Right figures like Milo.
“I’m so amused by the Twinks for Trump movement, which has not only made topless men in MAGA hats cool, but also reflects a renaissance in gay culture driven by libertarianism, free speech fundamentalism and the joy and mischief of the online Trump movement,” Milo wrote in a Breitbart column titled “How Donald Trump Made It Cool to Be Gay Again.”
Lucian’s newfound fame rests almost exclusively on the fact that he’s a gay conservative who openly champions Trump as the most LGBT-friendly Republican president.
But five months before Twinks for Trump, Lucian was singing a different tune. In a little-watched video interview with New York club kid Michael Alig, an infamous ’80s and ’90s nightlife promoter who pled guilty to a brutal manslaughter in 1997, Lucian trashed then-Republican presidential candidate Trump.
“Donald Trump is a fake Republican … he’s absolutely nothing … I think he’s just trying to steer votes in Hillary’s [Clinton] favor,” he said during the January 2016 interview, as he lounged on a chair with Alig and two of Alig’s other friends, a strobe light flashing in the background. Lucian was buddies with Alig from the New York gay club scene.
Asked this week about the video, Lucian said: “Donald Trump gained my support in June 2016, after he started setting forth policy that aligned with my value system and I began to understand the tremendous value he’d offer Washington.”
Apparently, no one actually saw the video because it certainly didn’t show Lucian’s emergence. During the Republican National Convention, he befriended Jim Hoft, founder of The Gateway Pundit, a conservative site that reaches 2.7 million unique visitors a month and often circulates conspiracy theories like the one about former president Obama being born in Kenya.
Soon Lucian, who had no writing experience to speak of, began posting articles for the site and was eventually announced as its new White House correspondent. But if the mainstream media was hoping Lucian, in his new elevated role, would help them understand the psyche of young disaffected voters, they were sorely disappointed.
Lucian tells people he’s a staunch conservative/populist. He says he believes in no restrictions on free speech; thinks Islam isn’t compatible with Western Civilization; and sees Trump’s policies as “a bridge to an older libertarian Republican Party” and “true conservatism.”
But rather than elucidating any of these ideas, he mostly just spouts nonsense and acts like a buffoon. During a panel discussion at Bard College on May 3, he tried to riff on Trump, with cringey results: “When Bard recruits literature or creative writing majors, they are not sending their best … They are bringing crime, they are rapists, they are bringing drugs. Some of them I’m sure are great people, but the vast majority aren’t.”
When a female audience member accused him of lying about being disinvited to speak at the college the year before, Lucian fired back, saying the woman shouldn’t “wear horizontal stripes,” alluding to her body weight.
This prompted her to throw his glass of whisky off the table, which Lucian then complained about for five minutes.
There was also his talk at New York University in March, where he drank from a flask while talking about orgies and giving sex advice like “ideally you don’t want to fuck people below a certain income bracket.” That prompted a handful of audience members to just get up and leave the awkward event.
“Some of our members expressed their disappointment with the event … We hope to serve our members with quality speakers in the future,” the NYU College Republicans, which invited Lucian to speak, wrote.
Various articles give the impression that Lucian is part of the White House press corps, but in reality, according to a White House source Heat Street spoke to, he has to continually apply for day passes. These passes are not particularly hard to come by for anyone affiliated with a media organization, and even fringe independent media figures like Mike Cernovich can get in that way.
But Lucian doesn’t even always get his day pass, like at the beginning of his Hollywood Reporter profile. What was supposed to be a piece about Lucian in action at the White House—the piece was headlined “48 Hours With the Media Troll Who Is Now Part of the White House Press Corps” —instead became Lucian getting drunk at a bar near the White House with a friend of his who writes for the propagandist Russian media outlet Sputnik News.
I don't consider myself a journalist, I consider myself the future of journalism. pic.twitter.com/xAX9kK6xme
— Lucian B. Wintrich (@lucianwintrich) January 31, 2017
Lucian began his media career in high school with a douchey podcast called Acorns and Merlot, where (again) he occasionally made fun of Donald Trump. The podcast billed itself as being for the “adolescent aristocrat.”
Then Lucian headed off to Bard, where he quickly made a name for himself with (what else) his photos of unclothed boys. Long before the Twinks for Trump exhibit, he did a photo shoot with a young naked model butchering a duck and then cooking it.
Lucian describes the photographs as a “recipe project” on how to prepare meat. He wrote on his website:
Carnivorous Exotica is a photo and recipe project in the works. Living in Koreatown (a Los Angeles neighborhood), I’ve come across a lot of odd cuts of meat and full animals for sale which both heightened my interest in cooking and helped me develop an interest in butchery.
He remains rather secretive about the odd photographs, blocking some people on Twitter after they mention them. When Twitter users point out the photos, Lucian replies that they are simply “instructional pictures” on how to cook duck. (Because most foodies cook in the nude, right?)
Lucian also tried to get into student journalism at Bard, but says his writing was rejected by the main campus newspaper. So he started his own student publication, Bard Free Press, but it quickly ran into problems. The November 2010 issue included an anonymously written column referring to a student’s vagina as “cold and damp” and linking to her personal Facebook page.
Lucian took the article down after a complaint from the female student, and the college perceived the article to be a sexual threat. “I think there was a joke about a vagina or something. It was infantile. I totally forget it,” he told VICE, adding that he received no official punishment.
Speaking of punishments at Bard, Lucian claimed he was banned from the college’s film department in 2010, and wrote a blog post on his personal site about it (the post has since been deleted, but still available as an archive).
“I was banned from the film department this semester; regardless of how they phrase it, regardless of how they construe the ‘protocol’; that’s what happened,” he wrote in a post dedicated to Kelly Reichardt, a senior Bard faculty member.
He added: “Who do I have to blame you ask? Video diva, Kelly Reichardt. Thanks you, you slutty Justin Bieber, thanks for once again shattering my dreams as a silver-ring-thing-wearing Jonas Brother.” (sic)
Lucian did not disclose why exactly he was banned. But a Bard spokesperson told us that Lucian was never banned from the department. “That’s not true. There’s no there there,” the spokesperson said.
— Lucian B. Wintrich (@lucianwintrich) May 6, 2017
These days, with his White House days passes, Lucian sometimes refers to himself as “the most journalistic person ever.” Perhaps he’s talking about his story on the Pizzagate conspiracy? The article, titled “#MAGA Vets Rally Alongside #PizzaGate Protesters in Washington, D.C.,” was deleted from the site shortly after publication. Lucian told us over email that removing it from the site was “an editorial decision.”
Here’s an excerpt from the archive:
While a member of The Gateway Pundit reporting staff did venture down to Comet Ping-Pong to investigate, the only thing we came away with is the fact the pizzeria is very creepy and does not seem child-friendly at all. We were not able to prove or confirm allegations of child trafficking, just creepiness.
Or maybe Lucian was referring to “Another Top Democrat Passes Out Cold During Speech—Just Like Sick Hillary.” In that piece, Lucian describes a scene in which Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton passed out during a speech. Lucian tries to score cheap political points by telling readers that the episode captures the “current state of the Democratic party.”
Turns out, Dayton actually has prostate cancer.
Or maybe when Lucian refers to his agenda-setting work, he’s talking about leaking the address and telephone number of Gizmodo writer William Turton because Turton wrote a few anti-Trump and Peter Thiel articles?
“I think that William Turton would love a call about what you think of his villainization of Trump supporters and attacks against Thiel,” Lucian tweeted together with Turton’s personal phone number and address.
Without a hint of irony, Lucian later wrote an article decrying Gizmodo’s “hate speech” and “invasion of privacy.”
It seems that some of Gawker’s most misguided and immoral writers have found a new home to spew their hate speech, gossip, and invasions of privacy. That home is Gizmodo.
We asked Lucian how he squared his claims about Gizmodo‘s disregard for privacy with his own doxxing of Turton. He told us that he broke no Twitter rules because all the personal information was available on Turton’s LinkedIn account (a claim we couldn’t confirm). Lucian later deleted his tweet calling for people to besiege Turton with calls.
One of Heat Street‘s own writers, Joe Simonson, had an online run-in with Lucian after Simonson published a mildly negative article referring to Lucian as “Milo Junior.” Lucian took to Twitter “asking the question” if Simonson was a pedophile and using the hashtag #Pizzagate. (He then blocked Simonson and most of Heat Street‘s staff on Twitter.) This from a guy who professes to believe in freedom of expression, and rails against hate speech and invasion of privacy.
When asked about the incident in a New Yorker Radio Hour interview Lucian stuttered out an excuse that he did it because he’s a “curious person.”
When Lucian’s not mangling sentences and logic in his articles for The Gateway Pundit or doxxing people, he likes to manufacture outrage about events that no one but his best friends can vouch for. About six weeks ago, he accused Malia Obama, the former first daughter, of accosting him in a New York nightclub after she recognized him.
“Malia Obama just scolded me at a club NYC. Not joking. She started saying ‘I wanna punch that dude in the face!'” he tweeted. Lucian later noted that Malia is 18 and by law shouldn’t be allowed into a club for people 21 and over.
The bizarre story came just days before Lucian told The Hill that his site is trying to become “more mainstream and less sensationalist in our writing and journalism.”
According to the story in The Gateway Pundit, Lucian spotted Malia at the SoHo club Parlor and tried to take a picture of her twice, once before she came up to him and then again after “she was quickly escorted away by her personal security.”
What evidence did he produce? Just one image showing a shoulder of what appears to be a black woman:
A friend of his, Martina Markota, a burlesque dancer and performance artist, backed up Lucian’s claim that he was “accosted” at a club. But she also wasn’t able to produce any clear pictures showing Malia.
No other witnesses have come forward to confirm Lucian’s claims about being accosted by the former first daughter in the nightclub. We spoke with a couple of managers at Parlor, who said they hadn’t heard of any incidents from that weekend involving security having to calm down rowdy party-goers, or any visits to the club by famous people.
One thing is for sure: Lucian is destined for greatness in his new career as a White House correspondent. When you’re this good at making things up, sky’s the limit.
— Lucian B. Wintrich (@lucianwintrich) March 30, 2017