For someone running for Senate in Washington, Joey Gibson spends a lot of time out of state.
Despite his candidacy, Gibson is best known as the founder of Patriot Prayer, a conservative group which publicly disavows racism but has a record for throwing rallies that attract violent white supremacists. And over the last few months, his group has made regular appearances in Portland, a liberal enclave that they claim needs to be “cleansed.”
On Saturday, Patriot Prayer held a “Freedom March” in Portland. Around a thousand counter protesters showed up, far outnumbering the 200 or so people who came to support Patriot Prayer.
But Gibson isn’t playing a numbers game. His strategy appears to focus more on creating moments that will make leftists look violent — and himself look like a victim.
And it seems to be working – a VICE News interview with Gibson was interrupted by police firing stun grenades into a crowd of counterprotesters, as Patriot Prayer members cheered.
VICE News went to the source to see how street protests are spiraling into an online PR war.
This segment originally aired August 6, 2018 on VICE News on HBO.