Anthony Fantano is one of YouTube’s biggest success stories, with his album review vlogs racking up over a million subscribers and hundreds of millions of views. With a flashy and appealing camera presence, he has managed to carve out a niche in the music world reviewing everything from hip-hop to doom metal on his channel The Needle Drop.
According to a story published by The Fader, Fantano also ran another channel with serious alt-right leanings. Called thatistheplan, it also held a solid subscription base with 400,000 subscribers and offered a drastically different take on the vlogger. The channel featured videos with titles such as “pepe the frog triggers hillary clinton,” “I CHANGED MY GENDER CUZ DONALD TRUMP,” and “MEGA-CUCK SAYS POKEMON GO IS LIKE DOGFIGHTING.” These so-called “shitposts” featured Fantano taking a screeching cadence with the rapid-fire graphics that categorize much of the alt-right/edgelord style videos on the surprisingly right-wing YouTube.
Additionally, a series of videos titled “… Is the World’s Greatest Rapper,” Fantano took aim at popular rappers by imitating their rap style. In one of the most disturbing of the series, “Hopsin Is The World’s Greatest Rapper,” the background graphics show a black man with a noose around his neck and a black man being choked out at the hands of a white man. Meanwhile, Fantano mock-raps lines like “You should have something around your neck-kek, just on the verge of choking you to death as you read Hopsin lyrics.” Kek, along with Pepe the Frog, is one of the popular “mascots” for the white nationalist movement, an imaginary “diety.” To get an idea of what these videos were like, you can check the Wayback Machine for “XXXTentacion Is The Greatest Rapper.”
However, these flirtations with the alt-right and white nationalism are not a new phenomenon for the YouTube star. He hosted well-known alt-right YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad (aka Carl Benjamin) on his The Needle Drop podcast, during which they had a conversation that touched on a range of topics important to the white nationalist and anti-PC audience. During the discussion, which lasted a couple of hours, Sakkad commiserated with Elliot Rodgers, the man who terrorized Isla Vista in a shooting that killed six people in 2014, saying that he was broken by the feminist system. Fantano later hosted Sam Hyde of Million Dollar Extreme, a show which began as a YouTube sketch comedy channel. Hyde’s show almost made it onto Adult Swim until it was cancelled when the network realized he was slyly adding alt-right in-jokes into the material.
In an industry where the stars are often active members of the online community (Fantano often responds to comments and makes statements in the comments section of his videos), he was a member of the popular anti-PC gathering place of 4Chan and has a massive following on the site’s music-focused forum /mu/. The 4Chan influenced site Encyclopedia Dramatica even proclaimed him “The King of /mu.”
Thatistheplan was updated daily up until October 3, 2017 when The Fader reached out to Fantano for a comment, he deleted every single video save for one – a 30 second clip of the YouTube monetizing logo. The logo is significant because after the purge he took to Twitter to address his motivation.
THATISTHEPLAN is dead. YT continues to demonetize every video regardless of tags, content, titles. There's really no use.
— thee anthony fantano (@theneedledrop) October 3, 2017
YouTube’s demonetization algorithm was a way for the site to cut the funding to videos which deal in topics or contain content that is labeled as not being advertiser-friendly. The algorithm is confusing and kept under tight wraps, adding to the frustration from YouTubers. Violent video games are commonly affected by this policy, though many members of the alt-right are fearful their speech will eventually be deemed “hateful” and they too will have their funding stream cut off.
When asked on Twitter if he would respond to The Fader’s article, he acknowledged that he would respond, though in the form of a video.
well, yeah, but i'm a youtuber, so i'm going to respond to it in a video. https://t.co/LlZVaTB8zT
— thee anthony fantano (@theneedledrop) October 4, 2017
According to Noisey, several shows in conjunction with the 10 year anniversary of The Needle Drop have been cancelled. These dates were in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The promoter for the Brooklyn show on October 28 released a statement on Twitter indicating the cancellation was due to the report by The Fader.
We only want to promote events we can stand by proudly. With that, The Needle Drop 10/28 is canceled. Refunds available @ point of purchase
— popgun presents (@popgunpresents) October 4, 2017