White nationalist Nick Fuentes claimed in 2021 that he was put on the TSA’s No Fly List as a victim of “overt political persecution.” Around the same time, he bragged that the federal government froze one of his bank accounts containing a sum in the “six figures” range.
But the 24-year-old Holocaust denier’s version of events doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny.
Documents obtained by The Daily Beast show Fuentes—one of the key figures in the buildup to the Capitol riot—misled his supporters over why he was banned from flying on commercial airlines, as well as why he received a letter from the Department of Justice notifying him that his assets were seized, and subsequently unfrozen, “on the ground that they contained proceeds of money laundering, wire fraud, and threat violations.”
The real story of how Fuentes ended up on the No Fly List wasn’t because of his far-right and antisemitic beliefs, nor his refusal to comply with any masking rules at the time. Instead, the podcaster who dined with Donald Trump and Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago just before Thanksgiving last year stepped on a rake when he sued the TSA; America’s most loathed security agency had the receipts.
In court documents, first mentioned by the left-wing news site The Grayzone, the TSA reported they banned Fuentes from flying because he posed a safety risk to crew members and threatened to strangle flight attendants.
Among the evidence submitted to the court was a clip from Fuentes’ own podcast where he laid out a very specific scenario involving a flight attendant who asked him to put his mask on. The incident went far beyond any normal venting about the modern American commercial flight experience.
“Let me tell you: I’m gonna land, and then I’m gonna get in the airport parking lot, and I’m gonna wait for you, and then I’m gonna put a mask over your face, your mouth and nose,” Fuentes recounted on his show two days before the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“You still need to be wearing the mask even if you can’t breathe,” Fuentes continued, making a strangling gesture on-camera before adding a quick “kidding!”
Threatening a flight attendant is a felony and can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, part of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Nov. 2021 “zero tolerance” orderfor prosecutors to shift from seeking fines to charging unruly passengers under federal law, though each offense still carries a $37,000 civil fine. Under FAA regulations, “no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.”
Before his Twitter account was shut down, Fuentes tweeted about a December 2020 incident in which he refused to pull his mask up to cover his nose and then got into a verbal altercation with a flight attendant…