DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
The Republican Lawmaker Who Secretly Created Reddit’s Women-Hating ‘Red Pill’
A web of secret online identities connects the creator of the misogynistic Red Pill forum to a New Hampshire state representative.
Last November, voters in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region re-elected to the state house of representatives a man who appears to be one of the secret architects of the internet’s misogynistic “Manosphere.”
The homegrown son of a preacher, 31-year-old Robert Fisher is a Republican who represents New Hampshire’s Belknap County District 9. In addition to his legislative duties, Fisher owns a local computer-repair franchise, and in his spare time, seems to have created the web’s most popular online destination for pickup artistry and men’s rights activists, The Red Pill, according an investigation by the Daily Beast.
An investigation into Fisher’s online aliases found a trail of posts linking the lawmaker to the username Pk_atheist, the creator of The Red Pill—an online Reddit community of nearly 200,000 subscribers that promotes itself as a “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men.”
A post by Pk_atheist in the early days of the forum advertises the author’s blog, Dating American, a blog that immediately precipitated the establishment of The Red Pill in 2012 and which was “dedicated to the woes of dating in the American culture.” On the “about the author” section of Dating American, the author, who calls himself “Desmond,” promotes two other blogs he’s “authored”: Existential Vortex and Explain God. Performing a search of the unique URL for Existential Vortex led to a comment on an ex-Christian message board again advertising the blog, existentialvortex.blogspot.com. This post, written under the alias “Interested,” provided the keystone that connected Pk_atheist and Robert Fisher. First, the post revealed the user was the author of Existential Vortex (and thus, Dating American). Second, in the user’s bio, he stated his band—The Five Nines—had a new album out. Robert Fisher is the sole member of his band, The Five Nines.
Though he once cautioned another user to “invest in a decent throwaway” account, Fisher apparently failed to heed his own advice. Fisher’s many online identities spin a large but weak web. Following its thread leads to one identity after another, dating back to high school, when Fisher, a programmer, created a message board used by his friends as a social platform. The website’s name, “Fredrickville,” appears over and over, and provides more links between him and The Red Pill—Fisher’s personal email account uses the name, the same email addresss used to register The Red Pill’s backup landing page, should it ever get taken down. In addition, Fisher’s customized Facebook URL, revealed in a comment on Fredrickville.com, uses the name Facebook.com/Fredrickville. That personalized link formerly led to Fisher’s personal Facebook page, which has recently been made private. Fisher’s customized URL for his band’s SoundCloud also uses the name.
The Reddit alias Panderific also appears to belong to Fisher. A post by Panderific in 2012 advertising his blog Explain God—a blog by the same author as Existential Vortex—revealed an additional trove of thousands of Panderific’s comments. In one, from March 2012, he disclosed that he was running for office in New Hampshire, and promoted his candidate website—which was Robert Fisher’s own site, electfisher.org.
It’s possible that now, four-and-a-half years after Red Pill’s founding, Fisher may regret his creation. When reached for comment by phone, Fisher denied participation in the Red Pill forum, claiming not to know what The Red Pill was. Though he did say he had heard of the men’s rights movement, he said he hadn’t heard of PUA. “What is a pickup artist?” he asked.
Within hours of contacting Rep. Fisher, and after delivering by email a summary of his apparent connections to The Red Pill kingpin, his two primary Reddit usernames had been wiped, and four blogs connected to him were deleted or made private. He has not returned additional requests for comment.
Online, Fisher describes himself as an “attractive businessman” who owns a “small empire.” According to his Facebook, he is the COO of Same Day Computer, which operates two locations in New Hampshire. He was also the sole member of his indie-electronic band, The Five Nines, which may or may not still be active. (Fisher’s last upload on his SoundCloud was in August 2012—but as recently as this year, Fisher’s Facebook page still included this role in his bio.)
Fisher purchased the computer-repair franchise from its founder, failed New Hampshire state senate candidate Joshua Youssef, who, according to the Concord Monitor, violated state election law by publishing a deceptive blog to “make it appear that his ex-wife’s attorney had endorsed his candidacy.” Youssef, himself active in the men’s rights movement, launched a prolonged tirade against the “feminist judicial tyranny” via the New Hampshire House’s unique Redress of Grievances Committee in response to an acrimonious divorce and child-custody battle, wherein a judge in family court temporarily stripped him of visitation rights. Youssef also sat on Donald Trump’s New Hampshire leadership team. Recently, he appeared on a CNN voter panel in defense of President Trump’s claims that millions of people cast illegal votes—Youssef claimed he’d witnessed rampant voter fraud.
On Reddit’s Men’s Rights forum, where Youssef described “the corruption, greed, lies, and abject depravity of the feminist system…” that had supposedly affected his child-custody case, Fisher appeared sympathetic to Youssef’s plight. Under the username RobertFisherForNH, in March 2013, Fisher chimed in on behalf of his friend and colleague and his ordeal and blasted the courts for being unfair to Youssef.
Youssef and Fisher aren’t the only New Hampshire politicos to have espoused anti-feminist beliefs. In 2015, New Hampshire State Rep. Al Baldasaro, a Republican, publicly mocked the breasts of fellow female lawmakers in the name of protecting “family values.” The comment stemmed from disagreement over a bill authored solely by male lawmakers that would have made it illegal for women to purposefully expose their areolas in public for breastfeeding or other purposes.
And yet Fisher’s past comments on a host of Reddit forums are arguably far more disturbing than what his colleagues have said in public. He blasted women for their “sub-par intelligence.” He said that women’s personalities are “lackluster and boring, serving little purpose in day to day life.” And Fisher once commented, “It is literally the [female] body that makes enduring these things worth it.”
In a state with one representative to every 3,200 people, many of Fisher’s female constituents are likely to know him personally—whether or not they know what he’d once posted about women online. And those comments were just the start.
In 2016, Fisher, who has since stepped down from his role as lead moderator of The Red Pill, praised the success of the community. Under the alias Pk_atheist, he wrote, “It’s very impressive to see how things have grown.” Explaining that though he had become only a sporadic contributor, Fisher stated in another thread that he still keeps in contact with members of the community “IRL.”
Summoned by the question “Whatever happened to our founder pk_atheist?” in October 2016, Fisher stated, in his last comment ever on the forum, “I’m not dead. I pop in occasionally.”
TAKING THE RED PILL
When The Red Pill was established in October 2012, Fisher was mere weeks away from losing his first campaign (in which he ran as a Democrat). By the time he finally won a seat in the New Hampshire House in November 2014, the Red Pill community had grown from fewer than 500 readers to 83,000. Today, though Fisher is now only an intermittent contributor, the community has grown to more than 195,000 dedicated subscribers, and likely many more readers.
The Red Pill borrows its name from a scene in “The Matrix” in which Morpheus offers Neo a choice between two realities: “You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill… and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
In manosphere-speak, the rabbit hole is feminism, which the red pill reveals to be a War on Men. In this reality, the “feminine imperative” reigns; masculinity is its victim. As a result of this power struggle, old gender dynamics formerly seen as mutually beneficial, such as marriage, have all but disappeared, but female expectations of a pedestalled life unfairly remain. A common refrain among men’s rights activists is “take the pussy off the pedestal.”
The Red Pill guides men as they become accustomed to this new “reality.” It advocates self-improvement: the importance of diet, exercise, and constant learning. But this community also subscribes to the beliefs that women lack both intelligence and substance, are programed to cheat on their partners, and expire after the age of 30. Its darkest sections are heavy with rape denial and apologia.
Of several notorious “red pillers” who frequent the forum is Milo Yiannopoulos, who did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) last year. Yiannopoulous recently resigned from his post as senior editor at Breibart News following comments he made that were interpreted on both sides of the political aisle as condoning pedophilia and child molestation. (On Facebook, Yiannopoulous contended that his comments were selectively edited and taken out of context. Later, in a news conference announcing his resignation, Yiannopoulous stated that some of his comments were “simply wrong.”) A frequent reader of r/TheRedPill, Yiannopolous is popular among subscribers, which is not surprising: His brand resonates with the community that also blames feminism for subjugating men into second-class citizens.
Yiannopoulos, a gay man who in his AMA described transgender people as having a “brain disease,” says today’s feminist-driven society pays no heed to “laws that men’s rights advocates are complaining about.” Indeed, men’s rights activists often do complain of the “injustices” they face: for instance, child support and alimony laws that they say women abuse. Red Pillers call this “divorce rape:” trapping men into marriage, sometimes by a pregnancy originally calculated for such an exploitation, followed by a divorce in which women reap cash prizes.
In a post from 2012, Fisher explained that the con “…is why feminism pushes to increase alimony and child support. In the USA where feminism is completely unchecked, women can meet another man and profit from having two providers instead of one. Alimony and child support will ensure her lifestyle isn’t the one that suffers. The only risk a woman has for leaving her husband is if she’s too old and ugly to hook another guy. But even then, the amount of money she can get from her ex-husband is almost criminal.”
On The Red Pill, Fisher commonly expressed disappointment that the institutions of marriage and religion were destroyed by women’s equality. He maintained that as a result of financial independence, women were no longer compelled to remain faithful and as a result, men needed to protectively adapt their sexual strategy.
“Marriage, and yes, female oppression, slut shaming, religion, these were all a means to control hypergamy [infidelity]. Marriages might be considered loveless, and women might have been unhappy, but for men it meant marriages that lasted, commitments that continued, and protection against the fickle whims of females,” Fisher wrote on The Red Pill in November 2012.
“To give women autonomy is to take away the very thing that made marriage a realistic institution… what I dislike is the general attitude that somehow we owe [women] something for sex… Women enjoy the autonomy that feminism has afforded them… But don’t expect the relics from back in the day to continue to benefit you without the sacrifices you were making,” Fisher wrote on his blog Dating American, in 2012—just weeks before establishing The Red Pill.
Though ideas like this existed prior to The Red Pill’s creation, Fisher’s platform provided a crucial congregating place for this new brand of seduction, which marries men’s rights and sexual strategy, and which gave the ideology a platform on which to flourish.
According to The Red Pill, among the most egregious contradictions of feminism is the audacity of feminists to seek equality, but then take no responsibility for it.
“Understand that in the old days, women were not brought up the way they are today. Before feminism, there was less freedom, and therefore it was not necessary to teach women consequence. Consequence was strictly a man’s game. Feminism took the lid off pandora’s box, but the mothers, and the daughters of those mothers never internalized, learned, or passed down the concept of responsibility for their freedoms, only the freedom itself.” Fisher wrote in 2013.
In addition to anti-feminist screeds, The Red Pill teaches “sexual strategy.” This includes how to “spin plates,” or balance sleeping with several women at once; how to respond to women’s “shit-tests,” a social device used to determine a suitor’s “fitness”; and how to practice “negging,” a game tactic involving a backhanded compliment calculated to undermine confidence and make a woman more vulnerable to advances. Red Pillers practice “dread game,” or intentionally instilling “dread” in a partner that you have other options, and various other techniques.
Of gaming women, Fisher said, “[Women have] absolutely done this to themselves. I feel zero regret or shame pumping and dumping.”
By May 2014, Fisher, then running for state representative, had apparently mastered the art of “spinning plates.” He bragged: “I spin a soft harem.” As opposed to a harem, a “soft harem” means the women are mostly unaware of each other, though they are sometimes strategically given hints about the availability of other women.
Yet even as he bragged about his conquests, Fisher also groused bitterly about dating hurdles.
“Dude, I’m attractive and a business man. I own a small empire. I’m also running for political office, and I’m incredibly outgoing… And this site [OkCupid] files me in next to millions of other guys. Obviously I’m going to have more luck IRL,” Fisher wrote to another user in 2012.
Elsewhere, he wondered why listing his accomplishments on dates, including his status as a candidate and “high level exec,” was apparently a turnoff to women, despite it being characteristically alpha.
On a forum subtitled “Contemplative Dominance for the Modern Man,” under the username FredFredrickson, Fisher complained in 2012, “I cannot be honest about my accomplishments or ambitions without ridicule. I am running for a state political position, I’m a high level exec in a franchising company, and I own two business locations in state. I found that stating it simply… nets me negativity on dates if I’m honest.”
Fisher seemed obsessed with the negative effects feminism was having on his dating experience. He documented his complaints on dating, men’s rights, and seduction forums, including one specifically dedicated to OkCupid. He complained that girls were ghosting on him and standing him up. He aired grievances about the character of women: They were uninteresting, immature, unintelligent, lacked depth, and were entitled. He bemoaned that dating was easier for women. He felt it was unjust that women get a free ride, believing “a pair of boobs grants [them] equal footing with somebody bringing intelligence or a personality.” Over time, Fisher’s writing became increasingly hostile. He decided that existing seduction and pickup forums were overly “feminized,” complaining about “white knights” and their misdirected admonitions about “creepy” behavior (which he believed works as a dating strategy).
It was this plight of navigating a post-feminist sexual marketplace, one where “the entirety of the male experience [is] wrought with rejection and ego-destroying experiences,” that led Fisher to establish The Red Pill. That, and a soul-crushing breakup.
Fisher’s pseudonym on The Red Pill, Pk_atheist, was meaningful. “Pk,” which stands for “preacher’s kid,” and “atheist” signified an existential crisis of identity Fisher underwent upon losing his faith—a journey that began in 2008. In the aftermath, he philosophized extensively about religion and morality on his two blogs Explain God and Existential Vortex. In 2011, he took to Fredrickville—posting a revealing tell-all. Aside a photo of himself on a beach, Fisher wrote about how his existential crisis plunged him into a depression, worsened by a difficult breakup.
“I felt so damaged that indeed I saw the public as the enemy. I did what a good engineer does. I identified the system, and started building rules to encounter various forms of damage that may occur in the future,” Fisher wrote. “But the damage I wanted to avoid was emotional hurt towards me. I had never known so much pain from somebody so close to me; I wanted to avoid that like it was death itself.”
RAPE AND THE RED PILL
Part of the pain inflicted on him by one of his exes, or so Fisher claimed: the alleged threat of a rape accusation against him.
Fisher claimed online that during a bitter breakup, an ex-girlfriend threatened to accuse him of rape. “She didn’t follow through, thank god,” Fisher, under the alias Pk_atheist, wrote in 2012. Whether or not the threat actually occurred, Fisher’s posts reveal an ongoing paranoia over being accused of date rape.
In his original ‘Welcome to the Red Pill’ post in October 2012, Fisher warned that in today’s feminist world, “A guy can approach a woman, be assertive, and if she’s attracted, there’s a hookup. Yet, if he’s not attractive, this EXACT behavior is “creepy”… If you’re unattractive, feminism tells us, you’re likely a rapist… men are tip-toeing to make sure they don’t accidentally become rapists themselves.” Four years after its founding, “rape hysteria,” remains a central topic of discussion on the forum.
On r/TheRedPill, Pk_atheist admitted in December 2012 to supposedly video-taping sexual encounters with women in order to protect against false rape allegations.
Men, Fisher said, should always take action to protect themselves against a past partner accusing them of rape. Online, Fisher advised another user to be careful not to offend prior flings whom he’d ghosted. Insulting a woman, he maintained, was likely to set off a deluge of sudden false accusations. “…If she feels insulted, your incidence of false rape accusations or pregnancy scares go waaaaaaaaay up,” he counseled.
Fisher said he was not paranoid, but rather “statistically I’m overdue for a false rape allegation.”
“You can’t have sex with this many women without getting one,” he argued.
In 2008, writing under the username FredFredrickson, Fisher posited that the notion that “rape is bad” was not an absolute truth. He wrote, “I’m going to say it—Rape isn’t an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he’d say it’s quite good, really.”
Though he stated he “doesn’t advocate breaking the law,” Fisher said online in 2012 that a 40-year-old man asking to see the breasts of a 15-year-old wasn’t creepy. Instead, he said it was “evolutionarily advantageous and perfectly natural.”
Besides, Fisher argued, historically, statutory rape and age of consent laws gave the sexes unequal treatment in that only females were given protection under such laws. He noted that these laws were intended to protect “teenage girls” from having their virginity stolen. Indeed, age of consent laws were originally intended to preserve virginity—a “commodity” at the time—however, in Colonial America, where statutory rape was considered a property crime, the age of consent was generally 10 or 12.
In 2013, when a video leaked showing former Steubenville High School athlete Michael Nodianos relentlessly making fun of the rape of an unconscious student, whose assault was shared on social media, for over 12 minutes—“She is so raped. Her puss is about as dry as the sun right now,”—Fisher commented, “So a bunch of guys made rape jokes… lacking class for sure, but.. not wtf nor news worthy.” Fisher reflected: “Does freedom of speech no longer apply in this scenario?”
Fisher’s blasé comments regarding rape are typical of The Red Pill. Here, posters regularly argue that men are often the true victims, by way of what they refer to as the feminist-fueled lie of rape culture—a lie that amounts, some users say, to a vicious attack on white men, in particular (though Fisher himself never made this claim). Men, Fisher said in 2012, have “zero” protection against false-rape accusations in today’s society.
Fisher claimed in 2012 that he took measures to protect himself. “I should feel free to have consensual sex with whomever I please without the worry of a false accusation costing me my job and jail time,” he determined.
In service of this freedom, Fishers claimed he installed a video recorder in his room. “There is literally no legal protection I can think of that could eliminate the risk of a previous sexual partner of mine falsely accusing me of rape, no matter what the circumstances. I now have a video recorder in my room,” he posted.
In another of the forum’s numerous discussions about false rape allegations, Fisher advised that by posting a sign above your bedroom door stating the premises were under surveillance and, “By entering, you consent to being video and audio taped,” men could shield themselves from prosecution under privacy laws. However, Fisher cited no authority suggesting such a waiver would be legally effective.
Fisher also suggested adding an extra layer of protection by inquiring via text to affirm the woman had a good time, and asking if she got home safely after a sexual encounter.
“Make sure she responds positively, or ask a few more questions until you have positive confirmation. Can be crucial in regret-rape-accusations,” he advised in 2013.
“Regret-rape” accusations refer to the theory that women, to alleviate feelings of guilt, shame or promiscuity, accuse men of rape to detach themselves from responsibility. Men’s rights activists refer to this as an “anti-slut defense,” and have an acronym for it, ASD.
As a candidate for state representative, Fisher proposed bringing concerns about the supposed plague of false rape accusations into the statehouse. Hosting a forum on Reddit under the username RobertFisherforNH, Fisher sought ideas to prevent “innocent people [from] receiving jail time.” He argued that because in rape cases “police err on the side of caution,” and show a high level of support for victims, the system was “susceptible to abuse” by women.
Among Red Pillers, the notion that women commonly abuse the judicial system for means of retaliation, or “cry rape” for attention, is viewed as a matter-of-fact element of the feminist “agenda.”
According to an analysis of Justice Department data by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 46 out of 100 rapes are reported to police, nine are prosecuted, and three of those accused serve jail time.
In the past, Fisher insisted the Red Pill forum is misunderstood: “Unfortunately to the outsider, it just looks like misogyny,” he wrote in 2012, “or like we’re just bitter.” Whether Representative Fisher still holds that view—or any of the others contained in his online posts—remains unknown.