Tonight, I'm coming to you from beautiful British Columbia. The reason I'm here is because Rebel News is on tour. We've been doing events, maybe you've come to them. The other day we were down in Surrey, which is a suburb of Vancouver — it was absolutely packed.
We had an event at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, although it was not a religious event. The pastor there was a very generous and warm host to us. And I myself am not even Christian.
As you know, we are people of every religion. At Rebel News, we are united by our commonalities that we believe in: freedom, including freedom of religion, freedom of association, the kind of things that were steamrolled during the lockdowns and the vaccine mandates. So we met allies, including brave churches, who refused to close.
One of the things about our tour is that we have to beware of cancel culture.
Some venues simply will not take anything controversial. They're so afraid of being attacked, either attacked in the press or physically attacked. As you may know, I was recently in Portland, Oregon, just for one day to cover the trial of Andy Ngo, an independent citizen journalist who was brutally attacked by Antifa.
He sued them and incredibly, the jury acquitted. And it's my belief that the jury acquitted him because they were terrified and terrorized by Antifa. One of the lawyers for Antifa said, “I am Antifa and I'm going to remember the face of you jurors.” It's like a mafia trial where the mafia boss looks at the jurors and says, hey, I hope nothing happens to you.
It was absolutely terrifying.
My point of referring to this, as you can see here in the footage of Andy Ngo literally being beaten on camera. There is footage of him being beaten by Antifa — there's no doubt about it. But yet a jury acquitted or dismissed the case against Antifa.
That's extreme cancel culture. I don't think we're that far down the road in Canada, but it's clear policing in Canada takes a different approach depending on your politics.
And, you know, my point is, even to do events for Rebel News, we face a little bit of cancel culture. Imagine how hard it would be to have a Rebel News event in Portland, Oregon. We're not planning to — we don't have a big support base there.
But my point is, cancel culture at the end starts to look like Portland, Oregon.
Anyways, so we've been doing events across Canada, sometimes in churches, sometimes in regular venues. We had a wonderful event in Toronto recently sold out the Eglinton Grand theatre, which is a proper venue, so it's very nice for them to host us.
My point is we're getting back into the events business because I believe the Rebel News isn't just watching videos or podcasts or reading written articles. It's also campaigns.
As you know, we sometimes get involved. We crowdfund lawyers to fight for civil liberties. We send people on journalistic missions. We like to go to Davos to cover the World Economic Forum. We like to go to global warming conferences. As you know, we even managed to scrum Greta Thunberg in January, which was a very interesting thing.
And we only did that because that's how Rebel News works. We put together the budget for that trip based on crowdfunding. Here's a flashback to that scrum, that walking interview with Greta Thunberg.
Yeah, I think that's part of what Rebel does too. We don't just do regular journalism. We do adventurous travel journalism for special projects that people really believe in.
But I think events are an important piece of the puzzle, too. I don't want to forget books, which we've recently published a ton of books. Tamara Lich's book about her experience helping organize the Freedom Convoy, our Australian reporter Avi Yemini's biography. We published an illustrated version of George Orwell's 1984.
We even have two more books in the pipeline. So books as part of what we do, merch merchandise is part of what we do.
I think we've got some really great clothes and I see them more and more. Some are very subtle, like just the ball cap with the megaphone on them, but some of them are really audacious. You know, our number one best-selling shirt is “Justin Castro”, where the two faces are side by side.
People get a real kick out of that.
So, we've got a lot going on. But I think events are probably our most intensive thing. And we've recently been on tour across the country — and I mean from Vancouver Island in Western Canada all the way out to the Atlantic provinces. I think the furthest north we went was Edmonton, and the furthest south to Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.
I like doing events personally. I like to get out of the studio and meet with real people and just look them in the eye and say thanks to people for their support. And people are sort of excited too, because they see their Rebel stars on the internet, on TV, on their phone or whatever.
But to meet them in person, I think people get a kick out of it.
I do, too. It's a way of staying grounded when there's so much online Twitter hate towards Rebel News. It's good to be reminded that we shouldn't actually take Twitter as real life.
We used to do more of these things. We used to do big annual conventions called Rebel Live. We started those again and we're going to do more than we used to do annual cruises, and we're going to start those again.
In fact, we haven't announced it yet, but I'll give you a sneak announcement right now.
In March of 2024, which is only about six months away. We're going to relaunch the Rebel cruises. We're going to cruise through the Caribbean for one week. So we start in Florida, cruise the Caribbean with fellow Rebels, and we'll have about half a dozen on-air talent from Rebel to be there spending time with you having panel discussions.
It is a fundraiser for Rebel News, as you know. As the old saying goes, you can't save the world if you can't pay the rent. But I think it's super fun. People like to spend time with like-minded people.
One of the ways they tried to get us during the lockdowns was to cut us off from our communities, to say you couldn't go to church or synagogue, to say you couldn't go to your gym, which is a source of community for many people as well as a source of fitness and health.
They even said we couldn't have family over for Christmas dinner. They even said we had to limit the number of people going to weddings and even funerals. They tried to cut us off from each other.
If you know anything about cults, you know that one of the things cults do when they're trying to recruit a new member is to cut them off from their old friends and family so they have no ballast in their ship.
I think that's what they tried to do to us on purpose. Plus, you can be atomized, living at home, consuming what the media industrial complex pumps to you. So, I think having in-person meet-ups is so important and it's really the basis for social life — which is why we're going to get back into that.
GUEST: I'm joined by a pair of special guests who have been on tour with Rebel News, our Chief Reporter Sheila Gunn Reid, who has been touring our documentary, Church Under Fire: Canada's War on Christianity, and Tamara Lich, the Freedom Convoy organizer and author of Hold The Line: My story from the heart of the Freedom Convoy.