Wingnut Alex Jones And Troll Army Declare WAR On Toymaker For Selling Hillary Clinton Dolls
Jason Feinberg isn't a political junkie. Sure, he follows politics in general. He votes. And in 2008. his little toy and novelty manufacturing outfit, FCTRY in Brooklyn, had something of a hit with a Barack Obama action figure, which sold around 200,000 units and allowed him to quit teaching high school English to be a full-time entrepreneur guy. But he doesn't follow the political blogosphere with the obsessiveness of a Wonketteer, so he had no idea who "Alex Jones" was until he found himself being yelled at by the guy during a Skype interview for Jones's Infowars.com. last week, then getting an email box full of anti-Semites accusing him of advancing the New World Order. Well, how did he get there?
Feinberg's main stock in trade is fun items -- dare we say "whimsical"? -- like The Mustachifier: a pacifier that gives your little babby a mustache so he looks like a proper gentleman, or Gummy Bear night lights. He's also done some fun goofy action figures, like the Obama doll (we're guessing the McCain dolls didn't sell as well) and sets of other action figures, like "writers" or "artists" -- the kind of stuff you'd find in a nerdy gift shop.
So with another presidential election coming up, he figured that there might be a market for a Hillary Clinton action figure, too. Jason set up a Kickstarter campaign to test the waters, and dutifully did the PR rounds, having an employee contact media outlets that had covered a less flattering product from another company, the "Hillary Clinton nutcracker" (Haw! Get it?), because hey, maybe they'd cover a more positive Hillary novelty item, too. And that's how Jason Feinberg ended up getting booked on some online talk show called "Infowars" that he'd never heard of -- it sounded to him like just another political talk show.
Then the Skype interview with host Rob Dew began, and things started getting surreal. Dew opened the segment by announcing he would try to convince Feinberg to not make the doll at all, because "we should not go down this path" since "Hillary Clinton is a master criminal and we need to expose that."
Feinberg started his spiel, saying that the action figure was a "grassroots, pop-culture way for us to get involved in a fun, lighthearted way in the election," and that he hoped the Hillary doll might become an "iconic girls' toy" that could provide a positive, real-world-based alternative to Barbie. Poor guy wasn't ready for what came next.
Dew started with a condemnation of 2011's "humanitarian mission to Libya," and put a 2011 Infowars article up on the screen, saying, "Here's what a 'NATO/UN humanitarian mission' looks like" -- before and after shots of a highway in Misrata that had been bombed:
(We like the article's suggestion that Gadaffi wasn't really dead, because nothing is ever as it seems.) Dew explains that all the death and destruction was Hillary Clinton's fault, and notes that after Gaddafi's death, Clinton joked, "We came, we saw, he died." Then, to Feinberg: "So what do you think of that? Is this part of Hillary's 'legacy'? Is this something little girls should look up to?"
In an email conversation with Yr Wonkette, Feinberg said:
If you watch my face during the interview, all I'm doing is trying to make heads or tails of what angle these guys were coming from...
First I thought it was just a neutral news program. Then -- 30 seconds later -- the Benghazi pictures came out. So, I'm like, okay, right wing nuts -- and I start adapting to that[.]
OK, so it was Misrata during the NATO campaign, not Benghazi, which came after the bombing campaign -- please, wingnuts, be sure to jump on that as still more evidence that Jason Feinberg is too historically ignorant of Hillary Clinton's war crimes to be selling a toy. Still, he did his best to adjust, and to roll with what he thought might work with these guys, noting that any political figure will be controversial. He mentioned that a few years back, he had also sold a Gandhi action figure, and that even Gandhi wasn't universally loved.
And then another curveball from Dew: Hey, did you know that Gandhi was one of the first anti-vaxxers? That made Gandhi a pretty cool dude in Dew's book. Of that very special moment, Feinberg said in his email to us, "That's when I realized I was not in Kansas anymore." By now, at the 4-minute mark in the video, Jason seems to have adopted a "smile, nod, and get through the interview" strategy.
Dew did at least commend Feinberg on his entrepreneurial spirit, because Free Enterprise, but then turned to Benghazi, as one does. "What do you think about Benghazi, and what happened there?" he asked. Feinberg tried to dodge: "Look, I'm a sculptor and a toymaker. Do you really want my opinions on Benghazi?" Undeterred, Dew pushed on: We're all affected by Benghazi (actually, we aren't, except to the degree that Republicans have derailed the business of governing to bloviate about it), so sure, your opinion matters, toy man. Dew switched gears again: "What if we did like a Hillary with a skull face on her, one that really shows what she represents here in America?"
Fine, two can play the free market card. Jason replied, "The beauty is that I can leave the market open for someone to come along with that idea..." Then there's a subtle, almost seamless cut in the video; Feinberg's email explains what was going on:
But I was still just talking to the host and then, I start hearing another grumbly voice, off shot, shouting "bullshit!", "oh, shut the fuck up" and so on. Again, I knew nothing about this show so at that point, I'm thinking this is just a skit on a comedy show because every time I talk, this crazy growly voice starts cutting me off. (They edited all this out).
Jones comes on camera, and the rant begins:
I gotta tell you man, that the issue is we don't need another George Bush doll, another Hillary doll, we need to have stuff about true Americana, things that actually made this country great. Have you made a George Washington doll? A George Washington Carver doll? We keep worshipping these establishment facsimiles, they're nothing but mob bosses. It's like North Korea, they've had three generations [...] we don't need any more Bushes or any more Clintons, we need them to politically rest in peace.
Jones opined that maybe he could support a Kickstarter campaign for a two-headed Hillary Clinton/Jeb Bush bobblehead doll that said "'Rest in Peace politically. No more! Hell no, Hillary! Hell no, Jeb Bush! We are SICK OF IT!" The Infowars team roughed out a nice graphic for the product and packaging:
We bet there's almost certainly a huge market for that. Jones summed up, in his inimitable commonsense style: "We need a bobblehead that actually wants to live in a free country, not celebrate some lying CIA SCUMBAG WITCH!" Jones then told Dew he could go back to his "softball interview" with Feinberg, and Dew made some lame suggestions about how maybe a two-headed dragon toy could represent the "left/right paradigm," which of course is an illusion because the people who really run things give us only the illusion of political choices between the "legions of the Bush and the Clinton crime families" -- all while Jones, unable to stay away from the mic, chanted "Vince Foster travelgate Whitewater." Sadly, for all his polite smiling and nodding, Jason Feinberg isn't all that excited about marketing a left-right paradigm doll with head-flipping action.
Jones, apparently overcome by the need to make it clear that he doesn't care for Hilary, took over the news set, screaming "Vote for me! I'm a fascist witch criminal, not even a real liberal like Thomas Jefferson!" After Jones stalked off and Dew turned back to Feinberg, Jason said -- still assuming he was in absurdist comedy sketch land -- "I think we need to ask you to send back that [Hillary] figure, because I'm worried about her... or give her to a loving home..." at which point Jones came roaring back, ripped the figure from its package, and punched it, sending it flying across the studio. That must have been disappointing -- a six-inch doll doesn't really offer much satisfying resistance.
From Jason's perspective, it was all a little surreal:
What you didn't see was the part where he ripped off his shirt in a rage during the interview -- that got edited out too. It was absurd but, honestly, entertaining too. I got the idea he was a wannabe Rush Limbaugh type at that point and went with it.
From then on, I actually found it all kind of fun... up to his line about Hillary taking away all our guns but keeping her bodyguards armed. That's when I got that he was actually darker than Rush Limbaugh. But honestly, it felt more like theatrics than real vitriol.
Then the video went up, on March 18. Time for some real vitriol, unedited, from Alex Jones fans. Feinberg said that his business email was slammed with a fine assortment of comments that were similar in tone to these examples culled from the YouTube comments on the video:
- Listen to the little serpent jew fag justify Hillary murdering thousands...Then watch his phony anal retentive face ...You can see what a phony rectum sniffer he really is. This is what America turned into.
- I would get Action man and Gi Joe to gang rape her.
Another Jew???Why is it that there is such a disproportionate number of jew guests and sponsors around Alex Jones? It is like I am watching Israeli TV.
- YOUR A TERRORIST DOLL MAKER!!! YOU ARE TYRANT IF YOU GO THROUGH WITH MAKING THESE DOLLS! HOW ABOUT YOU MAKE A GEORGE WASHINGTON DOLL OR SOMETHING!
- Jason Feinberg is a serpent jew rectum sniffer. Hes exactly what has destroyed America. This is what the demonic movement consists of. These are the weakling demon seed scumbags gutting your planet. HES A BITCH MAKING BUCKS OFF OF SERPENTS AND LIES...HES A TRAITOR AND A DEMORALIZED DEMON SUCKING BITCH ...It makes me so angry to know that these are the vampires YOU MORONS accepted when you accepted the serpent seed gay liberation.
- Nothing worse than a gay, Jewish, doll maker. The Jews want Hillary for president.
- a Zionist homosexual making a doll which should be made of shit,so this c--t can eat it. f--k off back to the n.w.o. a mass murderer should be strung up not made into a figure.
Beyond a day or two of email harassment, Feinberg says that FCTRY didn't receive any overt threats, although he did mention, when he emailed a day or two after the video went up, that he "found the rear window of my car smashed to pieces this morning" -- although he thinks that may have more to do with living in Brooklyn than with the Alex Jones video. On the whole, the hate mail was less intense than when he was selling the Obama Action Figure, which elicited so much overtly racist email that, since he was working out of his home at the time, he switched the address on his business correspondence and online contact information to his warehouse address instead. People were even happy to share their racist opinions of the Obama doll in person:
Even face to face, at trade shows, I remember people saying things like, "I got one for my husband so he could hang it in a noose" or "I use them for target practice".
Mostly, the Jones reaction was just a huge surprise for Feinberg. He'd never heard of this Alex Jones character before going on the show, then did a bit of Googling and found out more about Jones and his online following. Among the pieces he found were a couple by Yr Doktor Zoom, so he reached out to us by Twitter to ask if "Alex Jones and his troll army" regularly went after the people who appear on Jones's show. They're a charming bunch, for sure.
As for the Hillary Action Figure Kickstarter campaign, it met its goal early last week, and has 10 days to go, so Jason has added some bonus goals. If the campaign gets to $60,000, they'll add a version wearing a pink pantsuit. And immediately after the biggest story of last Monday's news cycle, Jason added a new pledge goal for a remarkably low price:
We've made our pledge already! So what has Jason Feinberg learned from his encounter with Alex Jones and his flying monkeys? "In the future, I will do research before accepting interviews!" And he's probably going to leave production of the Left-Right Paradigm Evil Action Figure to some other entrepreneur.
Update: How could we forget? For any of you BoingBoing-reading ultranerds out there with a 3D printer -- and you know who you are, hot-gluing brass gears to top hats and calling it "steampunk" -- there's also a free-for-nothing 3D model file so you can download and print your very own Hillary Action Figure your ownself, should you ever tear yourself away from binge-watching Doctor Who on Netflix.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.