slurs, xenophobia, suicide/self harm, grooming, eating disorders, cults, femcel culture, edgelord shit, NFTs
if you've ever used tiktok before and had a somewhat queer and weird fyp you've probably seen one of basedretardgang's (their username on tiktok is now
basedredactedgang) tiktoks before, videos of asian girls (mostly kpop stars and chinese models) posing in nature or dancing overlaid with a feminine text to speech voice listing off somewhat edgy mental health themed affirmations. the weird mix is confusing yet also incredibly captivating; which is probably how they have amassed almost 60 thousand followers and almost 2 million likes in just over a year. their bio simply reads "444x7x2, this is fantasy, there is no #𝔅ℜ𝔊, i love you".
the dive begins
as with any other mysterious account on the internet a lot of people in the comments were wildly speculating who might be behind BRG. i too got curious after the account kept appearing on my feed again and again. however, as opposed to the average tiktok user, i actually decided to click on the carrd link in the bio. the site contains links to their social media accounts, their discord server and their bandcamp. the latest tweet on the twitter account is a retweet of a post from BRG-affiliated
@affirmationals announcing the minting of 3333 NFTs of BRG created affirmational poster. the bandcamp link redirects to the 'Remilia Records' label bandcamp page via a
remilia.org subdomain, which currently contains nothing but the first BRG album (of which 150 casettes were sold).
remilia... that sounds vaguely familiar, im sure ive read about them before, and not in any good context. their website, which is a shopify-hosted online store, has various banners with scrolling blue text displaying sentences such as "We're whitepilled", "We're Wired, we're Not in Employment Education or Training" and "Remilia will save the internet". most of their merchandise contains silly chibi avatars in a style reminiscent of old video games. the posing reminds me a lot of NFT profile pictures. in the middle of the site there is an announcement for the basedretardgang album, calling BRG the "chaotic, lovepilled collective formed of network spirituality acolytes from the Milady community" further claiming that they were "the World's First Post-Identity Hyper-Referential Post-Authorship K-Pop Group". the 'About Us' link in the site's menu takes us to yet another site, this one being for the "Milady Maker" NFT project. the avatars from earlier are indeed NFTs. the old japanese videogame inspiration becomes even more evident on the milady website, there is even an embedded audio player with a soft videogame music style soundtrack for the website.
horrible history reveals itself
one of the first things that comes up when you google "remilia milady" is this Web3 is Going Just Great article (which is based on this this twitter thread by 0xngmi), covering the dark past of Charlotte Fang, the founder of remilia. the allegations are heavy: under the pseudonym "miya", fang used to be a core member of a supremacist cult called Kali Yuga Accelerationism (abbreviated "kaliacc"), a popular promotional tweet for which showed images of a severely underweight person having cut a swastika into their tummy. in kaliacc and other pro-ana spaces, fang (in their own words) and other members "groomed" and "bullied" young people, particularly trans and underage girls, into disordered eating and self harm. many other key members of remilia were allegedly also involved with said cult, and the main remilia website at one point even contained quotes from kaliacc. also under the "miya" alias, they were also involved in a cyberpunk-themed suicide cult originating from 4chan called TSUKI Project, while allegedly (like anything from 4chan) "just a troll" or as others claim merely an ARG it still resulted in at least one suicide. after fang at first tried to deny the accusation, they eventually admitted to being miya, resorting to understating their actions as "trolling" which doesn't reflect their "real views". despite at the time claiming to be stepping down from their involvement in milady and remilia, they are now, over a year later, still deeply involved in both and credited both on the milady website as well as in the remilia and milady twitter account bios. another well researched twitter thread a few months later further links fang to "Gordon Goner", one of the founders of Bored Ape Yacht Club, with leaked messages by fang saying they used to talk to goner in a kaliacc and that he might have been the inspiration for milady. certainly also explains why the company behind bayc, Yuga Labs, is named after the same Kali Yuga as kaliacc.
the spiritual vibes surrounding basedretardgang were starting to leave a pretty sour taste at this point, but i felt the need to dig deeper and find out where this all leads me - i decided to join the BRG discord server. in there i was immediately greeted by channels such as
#💹-retard-finance (since renamed to
#💹-pinkrock-financial, clearly as a nod to BlackRock) and
#🔎-retard-truth. the prayer circle is, as the name implies, a channel where people request prayers and pray for others, supporting each other in difficult life situations, or just unpromptedly praying for all the other 'tardies'. the lovebomb channel is somewhat similar - people who are going through some shit might vent and request emotional support or 'love' might just be sent out to everyone in the server, be it in the form of emojis or positive affirmations. the finance channel, as you might expect at this point, is primarily about crypto investment. it contains people such as the founder of Alpha Wolves DAO trading shitcoins with names such as "$BPD", and of course lots of NFT talk. in
#🔎-retard-truth we can learn a lot about various conspiracy theories and the interpretations of the "BRG faith" members of the server might have.
during my time in the discord server there were almost daily announcement
@everyone pings, or sometimes even just simple
@everyone i love you messages in the general chat. one announcement a few days ago really caught my eye though - BRG was organizing a show in a well known underground venue with an incredibly stacked lineup, half of it various underground rap and hyperpop legends and the other half random members of BRG's music group. how did all of these reputable artists agree to play such an edgy show? as i quickly learned from furious tweets all over hyperpop twitter (i cant believe i just put those words in an article), they didn't. most artists on the bill allegedly weren't aware of the BRG association of the event until the flyer dropped and weren't shown any of the rest of the evening's lineup. multiple of those artists retracted and about two days later the venue and promoters dropped BRG as well. i get pinged in another announcement, apparently "the show has run into some hiccups" given their "military industrial complex funding" which is "a problem for some reason", they then state that having to look for a new venue and lineup is a blessing actually since they will have "much more freedom!" this way. the offhand mention of military industrial complex funding here is making fun of various post-announcement twitter callouts that reference the milady rave earlier this year. the lineup of that event also featured underground legends such as 2hollis, and it was additionally co-sponsored by The Praxis Society, a Peter Thiel-funded startup trying to build a libertarian paradise city in the mediterranean, where all the great thinkers of our times are supposed to live. this isn't actually super relevant to BRG or the story at hand, but feels worth mentioning anyways while we're going down this rabbit hole together.
a lot of the ideology surrounding BRG and milady is much more about vibes and aesthetics than any particularly specific political orientation or goal. it's built up around femcel culture, the idea of having low intelligence and not having to think, and a certain post-ironic obsession with china and particularly chinese women. a lot of BRG members, especially in the core, take on the persona of a chinese girl, using random photos from xiaohongshu and videos from douyin. a lot of their posts on twitter contain wild norm-breaking claims, either directly repeating chinese propaganda ("china is 3000 years ahead of the west", denial of the uyghur genocide, etc.) or by making edgy claims about how unemployed chinese e-girls are the peak of humanity, even going as far as calling them "Chinese Aryans".
a lot of these posts obviously attract massive backlash and thus attention on western social media, with the tweets often getting tens of thousands of interactions. the fetishization of chinese women and the larping as such is taken even further by some members, claiming that rcta (race change to another, or "transracialism") is valid. however it's important to keep in mind with all of these claims, like with any other channer style post-ironic edgy movement, that most of what is said is considered merely "trolling" by the posters. the goal isnt to actually Be Chinese, it's about inhabiting the fictional idea of what the life a douyin star might be like.
"there is no brg, i love you."
it's all some elabaorate joke, and anyone who falls for it or takes it at face value has noone but themselves to blame. given the ties to various NFT projects BRG actually makes it super lucrative to have people fall for their idea of a greater goal. they adopt the accelerationist idea of the "clear pill", as opposed to red, blue, white or blackpilling; clearpilling is about a radical acceptance of societal chaos, finding acceptance in the things being as fucked up as they are. when i asked what the mission of BRG is a staff member told me in DMs,
Ultimately our mission is freedom for ourselves and those around us. I personally believe that the only way to combat censorship and hysteria is to present so much conflicting information that the observer has no choice but to either go insane trying to understand or to simply live laugh and love.
there is a certain comfort in not having to think for yourself, just letting things happen around you and i too have shared quite a few queer "no thoughts head empty" memes or joked about never having to to think or do things given im a kitten. escapism like that is much needed as a break from the overwhelming and often seemingly doomed capitalist world we live in, but i don't believe there is much use in this as an ideology, something i would call 'defeatist accelerationism'. it can be observed in many similar circles and entails letting whatever happens happen while revelling in the absuridity of it all, not giving a thought at all to consequences, falling back to the idea that it's all just a game. this might be somewhat healing at first, and that's certainly why it draws people in, but in the longer term it will result in nothing and consequences will come down on you regardless of if you care about them or not (i would know). as C.T. Kelly puts it, "the end point of an ideology like this is that it gets popular enough to be commercialized. Because it is a pure aesthetic, it will be flattened and resold until it is no longer transgressive."
the hard thing about writing about communities like this is that any kind of coverage they get, no matter how negative, will be seen as a positive. the discord server already contains various memes and 'propaganda' referencing the recent twitter callouts and the same will probably happen with this article. BRG considers themselves "already cancelled", so everything will just carry on as normal, which is illustrated well by the staff member i talked to simply saying "don't worry about it" when asked about the various allegations against BRG. my hopes with this piece however are to help out any bypassers and curious googlers trying to understand what hides behind the weird tiktok/instagram account they stumbled upon and to highlight just one of many weird new 'post-modern' internet subcultures like this one.
a huge thanks goes to C.T. Kelly and Armaan Maharaj for the massive help dissecting the culture in and around BRG and and for keeping me sane while working on this piece, despite it doing "some cocomelon shit" to all our brains.