Fake Daily front page with hate-filled messages discovered on campus

A poster containing text reading “Local communists and Nazis form new party, promise to kill everyone equally” was found taped to a light pole outside Catt Hall Saturday morning. The poster was designed to look like the Iowa State Daily.

Isd Staff

Editor’s note: The language used in the poster discovered Friday solicits violent messaging directed at specific demographics. The Daily has decided to leave some language in the poster out of the article, as to not provide a larger platform for the rhetoric. The community is encouraged to report posters found on campus to the Iowa State Police Department at 515-294-4428.

A poster mocking the far left and far right was found on campus Friday evening depicting a newspaper with a headline reading “Local communists and Nazis form new party, promise to kill everyone equally.”

The poster uses a logo similar to the Iowa State Daily’s and is printed using newspaper design. It is dubbed the “Iowa State Nightly.” The poster indicates there may be more editions posted periodically, specifically on Fridays.

The Iowa State Daily’s editor in chief, Emily Barske, said the Daily is in no way affiliated with this poster.

“We are very displeased to have our branding used to promote such a horrific message,” Barske said.

Posters depicting extreme messages, such as white nationalism, have been appearing on campus for more than a year, the first being found outside of Hamilton Hall in October 2016.

This poster is different, however, as it uses language specific to Iowa State with mentions of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the department of sociology. It also makes no claim to a specific ideology, such as white nationalism, like the ones in the past.

One poster was discovered by an Iowa State Daily reporter and was taped to a solar-powered trash bin outside Hamilton Hall. Another poster was found taped to a light pole on campus.

The Daily requested comment from the ISU Police Department Friday evening, as well as Saturday morning, but have yet to receive a response at the time of publishing. Due to the nature of the poster and its association with the Daily, editors reported sightings of the poster to the police on two separate instances.

Austen Giles, junior in public relations, was the only person named on the poster. It said he is associated with the “Alt-Right” and Nazi groups. Giles said he has no affiliation.

“Alt-Right” is a euphemism for white nationalism created by white supremacist Richard Spencer, who has been pictured using the Nazi salute several times and has a long history of racist statements.

Giles is also quoted in the article with something he said he never said. Giles said he was unaware of the poster until he was contacted by the Daily.

He said he heard rumors the Daily planned to publish a slanderous article of him; a friend of his claimed he spoke with a Daily reporter though there are no articles about Giles currently being pursued.

With the timing, Giles thinks this poster was what his friend referring to. Giles said he has no affiliation with the “Alt-Right,” but sees why he was painted in this light because of his reputation as an outspoken conservative on campus.

“I do say very edgy stuff, so I do say provocative things that would challenge someone’s mind that would be very like not the status quo,” Giles said. “I would say [I have] far-right beliefs in the sense of immigration, but, no, I’m not associated with white nationalism.”

Giles took down his social media, excluding his Facebook, when finding out an article may be written about him.

Following the interview with Giles, he posted on Twitter a screenshot of the section which associated him with the “Alt-Right” and wrote in German, “That made me laugh. This is Onion tier @iowastatedaily.”

“Yes, I do have very strong beliefs, very pro-Trumpism beliefs that are not the status quo, but I don’t really know anybody who goes out of their way to like slander me,” Giles said.

Giles formerly had to be questioned after a snapchat the police acquired used a caption that said he just killed seven people using a racial slur. The snapchat had been altered and originally said, “On my way to church.”

Giles also reported a white nationalist poster last year to the police.

The Iowa State Young Democratic Socialists, who were compared to communists, responded in a written email. They became aware of the posters on Feb. 16.

“What is most concerning about this article is the alignment of our organization with a movement we stand in direct opposition to and it is also concerning that our organization was specified while the other organization was given a more general title. The article also implies that the ISU Young Democratic Socialists are not accepting of straight, Christian males, which is the opposite of true. As an organization, we strive to be a safe, productive and educating force and we strive to protect and further the rights of the entire Iowa State community.

“It is our goal as a club to create a climate of solidarity on campus for all, so the implication that our organization would align with the ‘Alt-Right’ to kill ‘everyone who is a straight, Christian male’ is in direct discord with our core beliefs. While we do understand that the article written was most likely written as a satire piece and we believe that everyone has the inalienable right of free speech, this article has infringed on our identity as civic defenders of what is right and what is just. We extend a welcome to those involved in the making of the Nightly to a Young Democratic Socialists meeting so they can see for themselves who we are and what we do.”

When asked if he thinks it’s an issue that this poster as well as the white nationalist and supremacist posters found on campus were an issue, Giles said he doesn’t think they should be censored.

An archived 4chan post from Jan. 27, 2018 shows an anonymous user seeking information on a font used by the Iowa State Daily in an attempt to make a logo nearly identical to that of the Daily.

The poster is divided into four sections. Below the largest headline is a photo of Adolf Hitler marrying Joseph Stalin, who is wearing a wedding dress with a Soviet Union symbol.

The poster depicts violence as a way to “become the most inclusive political organization on campus” through “killing everyone who isn’t a straight, Christian, white male” and “killing everyone who is a straight, Christian, white male.”

Other messages on the poster joked about the sensitivity of the freshman class and used Swastikas, among other things.

In an interview with Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen on Monday, the Daily asked about the rhetoric on the white nationalist posters found in the past.

“We have to be asking all of our students to realize that we do not discriminate at Iowa State University, that we value others, that we want to have a welcoming and inclusive environment,” she said.

Previous posters found on campus have also prompted administrators, such as Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Martino Harmon, to regard the actions as “cowardly” and “hate-filled.”

“These racists intend to evoke fear, separatism and hatred,” Harmon said in September. “We will not succumb to their fear mongering. We know that hate-filled messages have no place here. If we persevere and stand by our principles, they will retreat knowing their cowardice and tactics had no impact on this university.”

According to university policy, “posters, advertisements or other visual display materials may be affixed only on permanent building bulletin boards.”

Iowa State students and organizations must obtain approval in advance of posting their information.

Check back with the Iowa State Daily as more updates become available.

The Daily’s Dani Gehr, Alex Connor, K Rambo and Emily Blobaum contributed reporting.