stephen taylor, metacanada, and the search for answers.
Why am I choosing to share this post now?
I have been investigating and writing this piece for half a year. I have hesitated sharing it due to running into dead ends, feeling burnt out, and worried about the threat of a lawsuit.
I have chose to publish this piece after learning more about the tragedy that unfolded in Christchurch today. Specifically, learning about what motivated the shooter - racism, islamophobia, and white supremacy. Ideologies that have been boosted and legitimized by many powerful figures in Canadian media and Canadian politics.
I chose to publish this piece because I am tired of these figures getting a pass for their connection to the spread of that ideology. Any connection should be enough for condemnation.
I wrote this thread after learning about the shooting. You can read it to better understand why I chose to publish this now.
Introduction: Who is Stephen Taylor and What is /r/metacanada?
The focus on this piece is on Stephen Taylor and his connection to /r/metacanada - a white supremacist “subreddit.” Stephen Taylor was the Digital Director of Andrew Scheer’s successful leadership campaign. Scheer is the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and is likely to be our next Prime Minister. Taylor previously worked for SUN News and was Director of the conservative National Citizens Coalition.
Taylor is still active in the Conservative Party of Canada.
A subreddit is a community-created hub based on www.reddit.com. The subreddit /r/metacanada is specifically focused on boosting far-right figures and is notorious for being Islamophobic. Below are examples of popular posts.
What is Stephen Taylor’s connection to /r/metaCanada?
Taylor’s connection to metacanada has previously been reported on. VICE News wrote about this connection in 2017 writing that he is “linked to the alt-right metacanada subreddit.” Taylor responded on twitter downplaying his connection with the following tweet.
After his denial, the connection to /r/metacanada was not really brought up again. He continues to deny major involvement in the subreddit.
This is not remotely true and his connection to metacanada is long and extensive. He was active on the website with his twitter account even appearing as a “social media” link on the subreddits side bar in June 24, 2016. A sidebar is where the important information of a subreddit is stored.
Taylor was also close to the mods of the subreddit and - as indicated by twitter interactions - knows some in person. With some tweets suggesting that he has gone for beers with them. You can see this from the tweets below between Taylor and the subreddits twitter account.
Taylor also used the subreddit to recruit for a job posting for SUN News. He was ultimately successful in finding a candidate for the position and posted on the subreddit thanking them for their help.
Taylor’s most recent post on /r/metacanada was on April 25, 2017. You can find all of Taylor’s comments on the subreddit here. In short, Taylor was a prominent member of the subreddit who continued remaining active up until 2017.
Taylor’s association and appearance on the subreddit should be enough for him to apologize and resign from any position he holds in the Conservative Party of Canada along with any position related to the upcoming election.
Is that it?
This is all I know for sure. There is more but before I continue I’d like to pause for a moment. The conservative movement in Canada has been plagued by connections to the alt-right and islamophobic figures.
I’ve written about this extensively and the lack of urgency and sense of alarm from these incidents have disappointed me. To put simply, any connection to these groups should be enough to disqualify a candidate and any defense of these figures should be enough to fire a pundit.
With that said, the rest of this article will focus on investigating a tip I received in August of 2018. The tip was from a mod of /r/Canada who heard a rumor that Stephen Taylor was much more active on /r/metacanada via the use of “alts.”
What is an alt?
An “alt” is an alternative account used by users for anonymity. These are common for users on reddit and other social media sites.
Does Taylor have alts?
Taylor has joked about using “alts” on metacanada multiple times. In June of 2013 he said “I am using all of my alts to downvote this thread.” And in September in 2013 he wrote, “my alt accounts don’t run themselves.”
I should emphasis that this does not mean that Taylor has alts but it confirms that he is familiar with the concept.
What are Taylor’s possible alts?
The source informed me that /u/loneKKKonservative is the alt account rumored to be Taylors. Whoever ran lonekkkonservative also ran the accounts /u/lonellliberal and /u/loneconservative.
This is confirmed by prominent metacanada users themselves. However, you can also confirm this by looking at the webarchive for metacanada. Doing this shows that all three accounts have been “mods” of the subreddit but at different times. /u/loneconservative was a mod in in 2013, /u/lonekkkonservative was a mod in 2018, and now /u/lonellliberal has taken the slot as moderator.
/u/loneconservative was important to founding metacanada and was the user who created the ‘CSS” for the subreddit. A CSS is the visual style of a subreddit. Loneconservative was later “shadowbanned” by the reddit admins for breaking the site rules. Shadowbanning makes a users comments lack visibility.
What type of content do they post?
To put it simply, they post racist, islamophobic, and violent content. Below are some examples. Warning advised.
What is Taylor’s connection to these accounts?
Moving forward, I am going to present connections between Taylor and these accounts. The following connections include interactions between Taylor and the accounts in addition to major similarities between the accounts and Taylor.
/u/loneconservative has a twitter account called @metacanada_LC. This account follows Stephen Taylor’s real account - @Stephen_Taylor. Taylor and this account had interactions in 2013. One interaction included Taylor linking an obscure post by /u/loneconservative and tagging @metacanada_LC.
Taylor posted that tweet half an hour after loneconservative posted it on /r/metacanada.
Taylor and @metacanada_LC have also replied to each other within minutes of each other.
Another important thing to note is the similar content pushed by /u/lonekkkonservative and Taylor. For example, /u/lonekkkonservative is a mod of /r/cutCBC.
One final connection: “Shilly Joel”
On reddit users are able to “tag” themselves with a word or phrase that is important to a user. These tags vary and often times include “inside jokes.”
In a December 29, 2013 post, you can see that /u/loneconservative is tagged as “shilly joel.” This phrase is extremely unique and almost no google searches show up for “shilly joel.”
On January 14, 2015, Taylor wrote “Just call me shilly joel” in a response to someone calling him a shill.
For context, Taylor has frequently been called a “shill” for using metacanada to promote his work and for his attempts at seeking recruits for jobs. I have no idea why Taylor chose to write “Shilly Joel” but this is a clear connection to /u/loneconservative and could serve as admittance that he is loneconservative and the associated alts.
Is that everything?
Yes. I’ve worked on this piece on and off and I feel that this is a fair way to present what I’ve found. In summary, Taylor was an active member of the white nationalist site /r/metacanada from its early days up until 2017. This alone should call for major scrutiny due to his position as digital director for the Conservative Party of Canada.
In addition, Taylor has interacted, boosted, and potentially “gone for beers” with users on metacanada that have posted violent, racist, and Islamophobic content. These users range from the person who runs @metacanada along with three accounts - loneconservative, lonellliberal, lonekkkonservative - that a source alleges belongs to Taylor.
I truly believe that people can change and learn from their mistakes. However, this learning must be genuine. Taylor’s undeniable connection to the /r/metacanada requires an immediate apology and explanation for his extensive activity on the subreddit.
He should also resign from any role he has with the Conservative Party of Canada. Including any role in the upcoming federal election
In addition, Taylor should explain his connections to the three “alt” accounts that are alleged to belong to him.
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain
- James Baldwin