A former Nuffield academic who was dismissed from Cambridge for links to far-right extremists rejects the charges and is raising money to sue for wrongful dismissal. In doing so, he has enlisted the services of a man with close ties to the far-right, Cherwell and Varsity can reveal.
The man behind the Noah Carl Legal Fund, Conner Douglass, has a history of using his software skills to enable the funding of the far-right. Just two months ago, Douglass created an almost identical ‘defence fund’ for the far-right activist Laura Loomer.
Douglass was also behind MakerSupport, a payment platform popular with the far-right. He founded the platform after white nationalist Lauren Southern was banned from Patreon, and billed it as a “free speech” alternative.
The Noah Carl Legal Fund, which is registered in Texas, has accrued more than $81,000 in the last two weeks, with donations in US dollars and Bitcoin. Many of the donations have been made anonymously, including one of 1.17 Bitcoin (£11,176) made on the day the fund was launched.
Carl told Cherwell that Mr Douglass approached him with the offer of establishing the crowd-funder, and that he has no concerns about the anonymous donations.
According to Texas company filings, Douglass is behind no fewer than three similar funds. The first of these, Support Loomer LLC, was established in April and has served as the vehicle for more than $85,000 of donations to far-right activist Laura Loomer.
Until 2017, Loomer worked alongside Tommy Robinson at the far-right Canadian blog The Rebel Media. She has since been banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for extremism, and has attracted controversy for spreading the conspiracy theory that school shootings in Texas, Santa Fe and Parkland, Florida were staged.
Donations to Loomer have previously been found to be directed towards anti-Muslim hate group The United West.
Prior to establishing these legal funds, Conner Douglass made his name in far-right circles by creating the online crowdfunding platform MakerSupport. MakerSupport was established by Douglass in 2017 after white nationalist internet personality Lauren Southern was banned from Patreon. (Southern has since been banned from entering the UK.)
MakerSupport received attention last year when, after a series of crackdowns by payment platforms such as PayPal, Patreon and GoFundMe, it became one of the last such websites available for use by the far-right.
White supremacist leader Richard Spencer said at the time: “One of the other fundamental reasons why we’re on MakerSupport is that this is all we’ve got. We have been de-platformed from all major payment systems and other payment platforms. We can’t use them — but we can use MakerSupport.”
Noah Carl is currently attempting to fund a legal challenge to his dismissal from St Edmund’s College, Cambridge. Carl was dismissed from his post after an independent investigation found that “Dr Carl’s appointment could lead, directly or indirectly, to the College being used as a platform to promote views that could incite racial or religious hatred, and bring the College into disrepute.”
Speaking to Cherwell, Carl said: “The web developers who built my crowd-fund build crowd-funds for individuals who would be at risk of having their campaigns shut down by activists if they used a traditional crowd-funding platform. I have no connection to the other individuals for whom they have built crowd-funds. All the money donated to my crowd-fund will go toward my legal costs, and any money left over will be donated to a free speech campaign of my choosing.”
Before taking up his position at St Edmund’s in 2018, Carl had been a postdoctoral researcher at Nuffield College, Oxford. While at Oxford, Carl courted controversy for his links to the far-right.
Carl’s appointment to Cambridge’s prestigious Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellowship sparked weeks of student protest and led to hundreds of academics signing an open letter against the appointment. The protests led St Edmund’s to launch two separate investigations into Carl’s appointment and his research. The latter investigation found that Carl was likely to bring the College into disrepute, and so his appointment was terminated.