Andy Ngo
Andy Ngo, left, at a Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in 2019 with U.S. Rep Dan Crenshaw. (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

Andy Ngo, Antifa Critic, Dropped as Speaker by Christian Conference Q Ideas

By Bob Smietana

Andy Ngo, antifa critic and conservative media personality, has been removed as a speaker at the influential Q Ideas evangelical Christian conference.

Ngo, a “gonzo independent journalist” known for posting videos of clashes between left-wing and right-wing activists in Portland, had struck some commentators as an odd fit for the annual TED-style event, described as a “culture summit” for Christian influencers. Since his appearance was announced last week, conference organizers have received pushback on social media.

Ngo was a disciple of James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, a rightwing activist group. Ngo’s critics contend he has dishonestly portrayed his interactions with antifa, inflating the danger they pose, and intentionally provoked arguments with them. He left his position as an editor at Quillete after video surfaced of him seeming to laugh along with members of the far-right group Patriot Prayer.

Supporters once raised nearly $195,000 for Ngo on GoFundMe after a video was posted on Twitter showing him being punched and “doused with a milkshake and silly string” by protesters, according to Rolling Stone.

In a promotional email sent out by organizers, Ngo was originally listed among the speakers for the Q Ideas event scheduled for April 22 and 23rd in Nashville.  The talks focus on what the Q Ideas site describes as 7 channels of culture: church, business, education, social sector, arts and entertainment, the government and media.

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Among the other speakers at the event are megachurch pastors Matt Chandler and David Platt, Tyler Burns of The Witness, speaker and author Hosanna Wong, and John Lennox, a Christian apologist and professor of mathematics at Oxford University.

In a statement to media, Q Ideas said organizers viewed Ngo as a conservative journalist and antifa expert and asked him to give a talk entitled “What is Fascism?”

“Also, his New York Times bestselling book, Unmasked — writing on this very peculiar subject of understanding Antifa — made him someone of note who had a perspective on this group and its motivation and ideology,” the group said.

The statement also explained that organizers had planned to invite an expert on “Alt-right motivations and tactics” so the conversation would focus on two extremes. No such expert appeared on the list of speakers distributed by organizers.

“However, after more consideration, we’ve decided not to include this discussion as part of our program this year,” the statement explained.

Christian rapper and spoken word artist, Jason “Propaganda” Petty, who has spoken at the summit in the past and described Lyons as a friend and Q Ideas as a “last reasonable voice in evangelicalism,” told RNS in an email that he had reached out to Lyons to discourage him from hosting Ngo.

“A healthy culture needs to hear a variety of ideas, however this dude is, in my opinion trolling the right wing of our country then hitting them in their wallets,” he said.

Ngo has not responded to a request for comment. Fox News reported on Monday that the author had left the country earlier this year. 

“It was just not safe anymore for me. I had already been on borrowed time,” he told Fox.

The Q Ideas summits have been held annually for the past 15 years. They feature short talks — between 3 and 18 minutes — on a variety of topics. Tickets for the event range from $99 for a digital pass to $375 for in-person.

In a promotional video on the Q Ideas website, Gabe Lyons, who co-founded the series with his wife, Rebekah, called this year’s event “more important than ever.”    

“We all understand that there’s a lot of disunity, there’s a lot of isolation, there’s so much confusion,” he said. “But we come together, we commit two days of our time when we invite God in and say God, will you help us to see the world the way you see it? And I believe we have an opportunity for an incredible movement to happen.”

Lyons sparked controversy when he hosted a pair of conversations with chiropractor Joshua Axe, one at last year’s virtual conference. Axe blamed the media for promoting fear about COVID-19 and told people to have faith and follow the Bible’s teaching on health as well as use natural forms of medicine.

“A vaccine — again, that’s not the ultimate solution,” said Axe, who had downplayed the danger of COVID-19 in an earlier conversation with Lyons. “The ultimate solution is God, and also, secondarily, supporting this body God has given us, strengthening our immune system so we can fight off not only this virus, but every virus we’re exposed to in the future.”

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

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16 thoughts on “Andy Ngo, Antifa Critic, Dropped as Speaker by Christian Conference Q Ideas”

  1. I don’t know all the ins and out of Andy Ngo’s work as journalist and editor of Quillette, the online magazine, or why he left Quillette (which I happen to read regularly for their insightful commentary and analysis on contemporary cultural controversies e.g. https://quillette.com/2019/08/22/why-white-privilege-is-wrong-part-1/, https://quillette.com/2019/10/16/why-white-privilege-is-wrong-part-2/).
    It is an odd term to describe Ngo as a “disciple” of James O’Keefe (where is the source?) as if he is a follower of a religious cult leader. Ngo disputes the widely circulated but unchecked claim that he was filmed “laughing” along with members of the far-right group Patriot Prayer (https://spectator.us/life/became-extremist-overnight/). As far as I can see from the video in contention, he was not laughing.
    As clearly shown in another video, the lone journalist was physically assaulted by a black-hooded mob.
    Douglas Murray, an associate editor of the conservative British political and cultural magazine The Spectator, and a contributor to Quillette, defends Andy Ngo against the deplorable treatment he received from the political mob: https://unherd.com/2021/01/the-antifa-thugs-shame-america/

  2. Unfair representation of the injuries Ngo suffered Julie, hope you will supplement with a source other than Rolling Stone.

  3. I was totally expecting this story to take a turn and discuss the controversy of a Christian group still hosting a conference that’s titled “Q Ideas” in the year 2021. I had a good chuckle that they’re concerned about how an alt-right propagandist speaker would be perceived by attendees, but not about their ability to reach out to new attendees with a name like “Q Ideas”. Am I the only one who thinks it comes across as a tad tone-deaf for them to still be using this name?

  4. I also have questioned in the past what message the title sends….. no other title considered ?

    “Ngo’s critics contend he has dishonestly portrayed his interactions with antifa, inflating the danger they pose, and intentionally provoked arguments with them.”

    There is only one side to antifa and it is all about intimidation& violence, commitment to wreaking havoc &mayhem with a stated goal of forcing change to their way or no way. It is one thing to be a critic of Mr. Ngo if you so choose, but how can anyone not see that antifa is purely an agent of the evil one ?? When an organization boasts of trying to burn humans alive in a building, I’m confident they will never sing “kumbaya” with any federal or state agnecy

    1. I’ll chime in and say I’m proudly against fascism (antifa stands for anti-fascist) for too many reasons to list without making this reply TLDR. I am surprised more Christians aren’t against fascism, but that’s not even what confuses me about this.
      What is the point of this Q ideas conference? How is it related to strengthening the body of Christ or expanding the reach and influence of the gospel message?
      And it sounds like there are a lot of questions about Ngo (his message, his influencers, etc) that would overshadow him being featured at a Chrstian conference.

      1. M H: Antifa stands for anti-fascism like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the murderous regime of tyrant Kim Jong Un that controls North Korea) stands for the people or democratic principles. Communists love to use labels that indicate the polar opposite of what they actually are. And are pretty much the same as fascists. So if you are against fascism you must be against Antifa. I don’t know what you are talking about questioning why more Christians are not against fascism. Every Christian I have ever known is against fascism. As Christians, we are the biggest target of fascists in today’s world.

  5. What a bunch of rubbish they are spreading about Andy Ngo. They are just cowards and gve in to the mob..once again. American Christians just want a Rockwell type of Christianity. Not realistic in today’s word. We need to address the tough subjects.

  6. This is no good.

    Bob Smietana shouldn’t legitimize Antifa’s lies (or the left wing mainstream media that parrots their lies and covers up their violence) by referring to them as “critics.” Antifa makes the deceptive fake news mainstream media look like honest saints in comparison.

    The only reasonable viewpoint to have toward any claims, accusations or portrayals coming from Antifa toward anyone who criticizes them or stands against them in any way, is to assume they are lies until they are proven true. It is impossible to exaggerate the threat Antifa poses, unless you say they are worse than Hitler and Stalin. If they had the means they would exterminate the people they hate: Christians, capitalists, democrats, etc… You don’t have to have the gift of discernment to see what’s in their hearts. They are very public about their desire to string up capitalists, burn them at the stake, or bring Christians to the guillotine and reenact the French Revolution. It’s all over their social media. They are among those on the left who can openly and explicitly call for violence against their political opponents and not be cracked down on by the FBI or be censored by Big Tech. It’s a sick world we are living in right now when peaceful conservatives are being oppressed and violent leftists are being empowered.

    It didn’t occur to me until I read other comments, but I agree, titling a conference or group with Q is a bad idea given the existence of the loosely organized Q cult. I really don’t know anything about this Q Ideas, but I’m not impressed. It wouldn’t make sense to invite Andy Ngo to speak at a church event, but it sounds like this is more of a cultural event. And if you want discussion on the topic of fascism, and specifically the fascism of Antifa, Andy was the right choice. So why cancel him?

    This Christian rapper Jason “Propaganda” has a fitting nickname. Jason, I’d like to see you walk into an Antifa mob and start filming them and publishing videos of their violence and reporting the truth about their violence and see how you handle the violent attacks that will come to you, the attempts to kill you and the death threats that will be made against you. After doing this I might care what you have to say about Andy Ngo. That you would call someone a Troll, who is so dedicated to serving the public good by exposing such a public menace and risking his life in such service, shows you are arrogant and ignorant, and nobody should be listening to you or giving you a platform.

    https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2021/feb/24/cover-anti-fascists/

    1. Wow. Hyperbole much?
      And not everyone agrees with your description of the events of Jan 9.

      “I think the decision to feature the story written by Eric Bartl regarding the clash in Pacific Beach was in poor taste. Bartl’s article reeks of political bias and should not be given a platform as far-reaching as the San Diego Reader. Please be more careful in the future about which members of the community you lend a digital voice to. Nazism and Fascism have no place in our American society, and to overlook this truth in the name of “freedom of speech” is blatantly pathetic. Be better.”
      https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2021/mar/03/letters-pb-antifa-events-dissected/

      p.s. Andy Ngo is a gold-digging opportunist, and antifa are unorganized anti-fascist youngsters that turn out to rumble in the streets with the neo-Nazi Proud Boys and their ilk. Leave it to Fox “News” to demonize antifa, and by omission, praise the neo-Nazis.

      1. DoctorDJ sums up my thoughts quite well.
        It baffles me that many claim to be against fascism but cling to concepts and talking points that lean towards fascism disguised as conservativism. It makes me wonder if people truly understand what fascism is, or if they are just so tribal in what they are for or against that they haven’t really examined what their tribe stands for. It’s just “oh, if it came out of the mouth of that person/media outlet, and I hate them, then I’m just going to scream and take a stance against them” without really thinking.
        Too many conservatives claim to be against the “mainstream” media, yet parrot talking points from Fox News, which is….mainstream media. Fox News brags about its high ratings (as if popularity proves validity, which is antithetical to scripture), which by default proves how mainstream Fox News is. Ironic, huh?

        1. Brian Patrick

          M H,

          Conservatives rarely label themselves as “anti-fascist” or “against fascism” unless accused of it. The people who PROCLAIM to be “anti-fascist” are very often those most engaged in fascistic actions. I don’t deny for a second that there is a non-trivial underbelly of professing rightists with fascist sympathies–will you admit the same of some leftists?

          1. Brian Patrick –

            I agree. Heck, I don’t know ANYONE on the right or left who labels themselves as “anti-fascist” unless accused of it. And just as those who proclaim to be “anti-fascist” often defeat their own cause by engaging in fascist-type behavior, the same can be said for “anti-racists” (I can start a whole thread on racist comments I’ve heard from the mouths of “anti-racists”). Overall, I have grown to question if anyone knows the REAL definition of words like fascist, conservative, liberal, racist, elite….well, here I go making this TLDR. But my point is: labels have become little more than weapons that change definition based on who the target is.

            In general, I find if you’re fighting too hard to prove you’re against something, you end up committing the very behavior you claim to be against. It’s like fighting too hard to not be like your parents, only to find yourself quoting your parents to your kids.

      2. How about this?
        Let’s look at through a spiritual lens.
        The hearts of the “Proud Boys” and the Anti-Fa can both be open to the work of the enemy. And the spirit of chaos then tries to work through them.

        Apparently the Anti-fa burned a bloody pig’s head before the Portland Police Department in summer 2020.

        That seems like an act influenced by spiritual darkness, to me.

        And no, I don’t watch Fox News.
        :)

      3. Brian Patrick

        DoctorDJ,

        Two replies:

        1: Why do people who call themselves “anti-fascists” engage in the behavior of actual, historical fascists?

        2: If Antifa is so “anti-fascist”, why do they attack random businesses and bystanders who have nothing to do with white nationalist agitators?

  7. More leftward drift of this blog. Ngo got beat up by antifa and wants to expose their Communist agenda and violence. He happens to be for free speech, which is something Christians used to support. He is not a conservative because he appears at a conference.

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