Non-profit

Unicorn Riot

Website:

unicornriot.ninja/%20

Location:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Tax ID:

47-3482047

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $115,461
Expenses: $110,911
Assets: $44,492

Formation:

2015

Type:

Media outlet

Unicorn Riot is a left-wing to radical-left media outlet founded by a group of journalists who left traditional media outlets to provide a more radical editorial perspective on left-wing protests and riots primarily in the United States. The organization has a handful of members and no hierarchical structure, but has received more than a ten-fold increase in revenue in 2020 compared to previous years due to its on-the-ground reporting of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national protests in the wake of the police-custody death of George Floyd.

Unicorn Riot provides positive coverage of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other far-left American protest groups, and negative coverage of far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, Oath Keepers, and Identity Evropa. Unicorn Riot reporters are best known for filming protests up-close and in-person, and quickly uploading shots to Twitter for fast updates. Unicorn Riot reporters were present in the August 2017 “Unite the Right” far-right extremist rally that devolved into a fatal riot and dozens of protests and riots across the country in 2020, and allegedly have been violently targeted by right-wing counter-protesters and the police. [1]

History

In 2014, a group of left-wing journalists, many of whom began their careers covering Occupy Wall Street, including Niko Georgiades, Andrew Neef, Lorenzo Serna, Pat Boyle, and Ray Weiland, began to regularly meet to discuss current events. These journalists were concerned by the way traditional media outlets had covered Occupy Wall street, numerous police shootings of Black civilians, and the environmentalist “Tar Sands blockade” particularly with the slow editing processes and lack of editorial control. They were also frustrated by their inability to get many of their articles published due to their radical-left politics. [2]

In November 2015, Jamar Clark was shot and killed by two police officers in Minneapolis. After a grand jury declined to press charges against the officers, protests led by Black Lives Matter were launched outside the Minneapolis Police Headquarters for 18 days. Georgiades, Neef, and the other journalists believed the mainstream media mishandled their coverage of the event and did not pay sufficient attention to the protests. In response, the journalists formed Unicorn Riot as a nonprofit media outlet. [3]

Structure

Unicorn riot is a “decentralized” media outlet with no leadership hierarchy and no headquarters, and all corporate decisions are made by the consensus of its members. [4] Niko Georgiades is listed as the organization’s chair on its tax records. [5] Unicorn Riot currently has fewer than eight members[6] based in Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, South Africa, and other cities. [7] The organization is not currently accepting any new members. [8] All of Unicorn Riot’s publications are licensed through Creative Commons, meaning its work can be used and distributed by the public without compensation or notification. [9]

Support for Antifa

Unicorn Riot has consistently published articles and videos which portray the radical-left extremist movement Antifa in a positive light. In August 2017, Unicorn Riot published a video of one of its reporters at a protest in Minneapolis where he watched Antifa members burn an effigy and raise an Antifa flag in the city while praising their solidarity. [10] An October 2017 article entitled “Far-Right Stirs Violence Against Anti-Trump Protesters” accused President Donald Trump and right wing and mainstream media outlets of slandering Antifa as a terrorist movement while defending right-wing terrorists:[11]

In 2018, Unicorn Riot worked with a chapter of Antifa in Eugene, Oregon to verify leaked chat logs that identified an accused Neo-Nazi. [12]

In a September 2020 interview, co-founder Niko Georgiades said that many of his ex-students from his former job as a teacher were on the front lines of the national protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd. [13]

Right Wing Message Leaks

In March 2019, Unicorn Riot leaked 770,000 Discord and Slack messages from far-right groups Identity Evropa, America First, and Nationalist Review. One message outlined a supposed plot by Identity Evropa to infiltrate the Republican Party. [14] Unicorn Riot’s article doxed numerous individuals, leading Identity Evropa to rebrand as the American Identity Movement. [15]

Funding

Unicorn Riot is funded solely by donations and grants. [16] The organization received a substantial grant to cover the COVID-19 pandemic[17] and in the summer of 2020, received $1 million in four weeks. [18] In 2018, the last year tax records are publicly available, Unicorn Riot received less than $100,000 in funding. [19]

References

  1. Marsh, Steve. “Why Niko Georgiades is Livestreaming Protests for Unicorn Riot.” MSP Magazine. September 13, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/niko-georgiades-unicorn-riot/. ^
  2. Nelson, Cody. “The media, the protest movement and Unicorn Riot.” MPR News. May 5, 2016. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/05/05/unicorn-riot-media-protest-movement. ^
  3. Marsh, Steve. “Why Niko Georgiades is Livestreaming Protests for Unicorn Riot.” MSP Magazine. September 13, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/niko-georgiades-unicorn-riot/. ^
  4. Walker, Chris. “Guerrilla Video Journalists Unicorn Riot Focus on Homelessness and the Police.” Westworld. February 10, 2016. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.westword.com/news/guerrilla-video-journalists-unicorn-riot-focus-on-homelessness-and-the-police-7589751. ^
  5. “Unicorn Riot Form 990.” ProPublica. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/473482047/06_2020_prefixes_46-51%2F473482047_201812_990EZ_2020060917183618. ^
  6. “FAQ.” Unicorn Riot. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://unicornriot.ninja/faq/. ^
  7. “About.” Unicorn Riot. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://unicornriot.ninja/about-unicorn-riot/. ^
  8. “FAQ.” Unicorn Riot. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://unicornriot.ninja/faq/. ^
  9. Marsh, Steve. “Why Niko Georgiades is Livestreaming Protests for Unicorn Riot.” MSP Magazine. September 13, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/niko-georgiades-unicorn-riot/. ^
  10. “Nazi Effigy Burned & AntiFa Flag Raised in Minneapolis for Heather Heyer.” Unicorn Riot. August 18, 2017. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8NQM7XrM4k&list=PUeHbMlHDec5NmJfiQXMYGXQ&index=142. ^
  11. “Far-Right Stirs Violence Against Anti-Trump Protests.” Unicorn Riot. October 7, 2019. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://unicornriot.ninja/2019/far-right-stirs-violence-against-anti-trump-protests/. ^
  12. “’Weed Nazi’ Lawsuit to Unmask Anonymous Antifa Publishers Quashed.” Unicorn Riot. December 1, 2018. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://unicornriot.ninja/2018/weed-nazi-lawsuit-to-unmask-anonymous-antifa-publishers-quashed/. ^
  13. Marsh, Steve. “Why Niko Georgiades is Livestreaming Protests for Unicorn Riot.” MSP Magazine. September 13, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/niko-georgiades-unicorn-riot/. ^
  14. Schiano, Chris; Martinez, Freddy. “Neo-Nazi Hipsters Identify Evropa Exposed In Discord Chat Leak.” Unicorn Riot. March 6, 2019. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://unicornriot.ninja/2019/neo-nazi-hipsters-identity-evropa-exposed-in-discord-chat-leak/. ^
  15. “White Nationalist Group Identify Evropa Rebrands Following Private Chat Leaks, Launches ‘American Identity Movement.’” SPLC. March 12, 2019. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2019/03/12/white-nationalist-group-identity-evropa-rebrands-following-private-chat-leaks-launches. ^
  16. “Donate.” Unicorn Riot. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://unicornriot.ninja/donate/. ^
  17. Marsh, Steve. “Why Niko Georgiades is Livestreaming Protests for Unicorn Riot.” MSP Magazine. September 13, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/niko-georgiades-unicorn-riot/. ^
  18. Gabbart, Adam. “Unicorn Riot: the tiny media outlet on the frontlines of US protests.” Guardian. July 1, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jul/01/unicorn-riot-george-floyd-protests. ^
  19. “Unicorn Riot Form 990.” ProPublica. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/473482047/06_2020_prefixes_46-51%2F473482047_201812_990EZ_2020060917183618. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 2015

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990EZ $115,461 $110,911 $44,492 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Unicorn Riot

    PO BOX 7472
    MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55407-0472