The conservative op-ed website Quillette announced Monday night that controversial right-wing writer Andy Ngo is leaving his job as an editor at the site, an announcement that comes on the same day that a Portland newspaper published a story revealing that Ngo witnessed a far-right group planning violence but never reported it.
Ngo, a photographer who was until recently a sub-editor at Quillette, became a celebrity on Fox News and other pro-Trump media outlets after he was attacked by left-wing demonstrators at a Portland political rally in June. Ngo then became prominent as an opponent of political violence, with most of his criticism aimed at the left.
But footage taken by an undercover liberal activist in May and described on Monday by the Portland Mercury showed Ngo witnessing activists from the far-right group Patriot Prayer planning a violent confrontation at a bar associated with left-wing activists. Ngo never reported on what he had seen the Patriot Prayer members planning, and some of the people involved in the attack at the bar now face felony riot charges.
Hours after the Portland Mercury story ran on Monday, Ngo removed his Quillette job from his Twitter profile. Shortly after that, Ngo’s name disappeared from the masthead at Quillette, a self-described “platform for free thought” that has become a hub for the right-wing Intellectual Dark Web movement.
Ngo didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Quillette editor-in-chief Claire Lehmann insisted in emails to The Daily Beast that Ngo’s exit had nothing to do with the Portland Mercury story or the undercover footage that began to circulate on Twitter last week, saying instead that Ngo left the site weeks earlier but that the move was only made public on Monday.
“Andy actually moved on from Quillette a few weeks ago because he is undertaking bigger & better projects, we just hadn't updated the website and he hadn't updated his Twitter bio until today,” Lehmann wrote.
Asked about the videos of Ngo standing next to the far-right activists as they planned an attack on their political opponents, Lehmann said she hadn’t watched the footage.
“I haven't seen the video,” Lehmann told The Daily Beast.
Pressed on the timing of the announcement, Lehmann said Ngo had taken “a break” weeks earlier from her website because of a “brain injury” he received while being attacked at the June rally. A fundraiser for Ngo after the attack raised nearly $195,000.
“We are good friends still, he was a great worker, and I fully support him in his future endeavors,” Lehmann told The Daily Beast.
The undercover video of Ngo marks another round of controversy for Quillette this month, which was hoaxed by a left-wing prankster just a few weeks ago. An op-ed writer posed as a Marxist construction worker who was critical of the Democratic Socialists of America—but the hoax was soon revealed as a scheme meant to embarrass Quillette by tricking them into publishing an article by a writer who doesn’t actually exist.