A prolific YouTuber glorified by Trump’s biggest online community vanished from the face of the Internet—until he was mysteriously retweeted on Monday under a new identity by President Trump himself.
Simon Bravery’s parodies and memes were so unforgettable to posters on Reddit’s Donald Trump subreddit that when Bravery wiped his pro-Trump parodies from YouTube, along with the entirety of his online presence, users made posts wondering where he’d gone.
Bravery returned to Twitter just last week, when he took over @Aroliso, an account that was registered in 2015. His bio stated he was “starting over 08/18/2017,” or last Friday.
Then, on Monday morning, the President of the United States retweeted Bravery’s new account, which had one follower before last week.
“Every single day the #FakeNews media try to take you down. You never falter, you always stand strong!” tweeted @Aroliso, an account that tweeted through a third party program tied to SimonBravery.com.
Within five minutes, President Trump quoted his tweet, adding: “Thank you, the very dishonest Fake News Media is out of control!”
It was no accident. Since Bravery’s return, he had been exclusively tweeting replies to @realDonaldTrump, presumably hoping for exactly the kind of attention he received on Monday morning.
Rob Bravery, a British rock musician signed to Sony music, said he believes his brother Simon is behind the account.
When asked by The Daily Beast whether his brother was the same individual Trump retweeted, Rob said: “Oh wow. Probably is, he does a lot of Trump-related stuff on Twitter.”
The Daily Beast discovered several sock puppet accounts connected to Simon’s new shitposting hub, including @AvoTovA, an account that has scrubbed all of its tweets, but once used the same tactic to try to get Trump’s attention. Before @Aroliso’s pro-Trump rebrand, the account solely existed to retweet @AvoTovA.
Other accounts include @Pavox, @Pavox__, @AvoTovA_ (which had over 6,300 followers before its deletion), @Super__Trump, @TrumpTribute, and @Incredible_DT. All of the accounts follow one another, plus President Trump—and sometimes no one else.
Rob Bravery is followed by almost all of his brother Simon’s sock puppet accounts.
Bravery’s old Twitter account, @Simon_Bravery, switched over to @Pavox in the last month. Bravery’s YouTube account also switched over to the username Pavox, then deleted all of its videos.
During the election, Bravery posted at least 17 pro-Trump parodies on his YouTube account, with titles including “IndianaTrump,” “RoboTrump,” “Trump Vs. Hillary - The Matrix,” and “HIS NAME WAS SETH RICH.” While all of these videos were deleted from a YouTube account connected to Bravery as recently as last month, some have survived elsewhere online.
In Bravery’s video about deceased DNC staffer Seth Rich, he superimposes the faces of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, and Donald and Melania Trump, over actors’ faces during a scene from the movie Saving Private Ryan. He even adds “Seth C. Rich” to a cross representing a dead soldier. The video became a top post on Reddit’s r/The_Donald, one of the web’s largest pro-Trump communities.
In another video since re-posted on YouTube, Bravery parodies a scene from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, featuring Trump as hero Katniss Everdeen and Hillary Clinton as the tyrannical President Snow.
Bravery’s Facebook account, Twitter accounts, and YouTube channel are no longer accessible. It’s not clear why he decided to wipe his entire online existence weeks ago. The Daily Beast reached out to Bravery via email, and on several social media platforms, but he had yet to respond by press time.
Another Twitter account that linked to Bravery’s virtually blank website was once used to generate support for the boy band One Direction. An archive of the account @Simon_Bravery shows that, as recently as October 2016, it posted several tweets like: “Would You Go Without Oxygen For A Day To Meet Zayn? Like = Yes RT = No,” referring to Zayn Malik, one of the band’s former members.
However, by March, another snapshot of the account shows it was exclusively used to defend the president. And that’s how most people on r/The_Donald remember Bravery.
“WTF Happened to Simon Bravery and his amazing vids?” read the title on one thread posted about a month ago on r/The_Donald.
“Did something happen? The last video I saw of his was the FANTASTIC ‘His Name Was Seth Rich’ tribute, coincidence? WTF happened?” the user posted. Another user noted just three days ago that “his YouTube and twitter accounts are gone.”
“What ever happened to Simon Bravery with all those cool Trump versus <insert globalist here> videos? His twitter and youtube accounts are gone :-(“ one member posted on r/The_Donald a month ago.
Bravery used an unidentified program titled “AvoTova 06” to send the tweet on Monday, using Twitter’s open source developer tools. The program was linked to StevenBravery.com. The account’s link to the “Avatova 06” program was deleted later on Monday.
The Daily Beast also reached out to Avotova, an American software company that shares a name with Bravery’s program. Its owner Brett Wernicke was adamant he hadn’t heard of the accounts, and was upset that someone else had used his company’s name.
“I’m not on Twitter. It sounds like I should get on Twitter and figure out who’s doing what,” Wernicke said, added: “The last thing I want to be doing is being associated with any of that.”
If Bravery gets his way, we may never find out. On Monday, after Trump retweeted @Aroliso, the account suggested it did not wish to be outed, posting: “I wonder how long it will be before I'm doxxed to oblivion? They're like rabid dogs! Worth it though! #MAGA”