Social Media of UCSD Worker Shows Ties to White Supremacy, Promotes Violence

Scripps Institution of Oceanography employee Joe Caudillo regularly posts memes and other photos to his Facebook and Instagram accounts expressing racist, sexist, and homophobic views, the UCSD Guardian learned from investigating an anonymous tip. Caudillo, who is listed as a maintenance employee in SIO’s Nimitz Marine Engineering Facility, additionally shares original and borrowed content threatening to hurt and kill women, Mexicans, and communists.

Emails from the source indicate that Caudillo’s online behavior was reported to his supervisors at SIO almost a year ago and to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination several times since then.

Operating under the Facebook name “Mean J Greene,” in reference to former NFL player “Mean” Joe Greene, and the Instagram handle “iyhuckleberry,” in reference to the movie Tombstone, Caudillo excludes any information that would clearly identify himself in either profile. His name on Instagram appears as “Joey,” but neither account states his full name, employment, education, or any other personal details.

Despite Caudillo’s apparent attempts to conceal his identity, a photo posted in August 2014 to his “Mean J Greene” Facebook account shows Caudillo holding a gun with his last name visibly taped to his vest. His Instagram account, which features several of the same photos of him as appear on his Facebook, also includes numerous photos with the SIO’s research vessel Sally Ride in the background. 

Caudillo’s Instagram posts, which date back to 2014, most prominently feature photos of fish that he caught, as well as his arsenal of guns. However, over the past four years, these photos have been interspersed with memes and other images containing anti-black and white nationalist references.

Throughout his media, Caudillo repeatedly expresses support for Rhodesia and the Selous Scouts.

Established symbols of white supremacy, Rhodesia was the white minority-ruled region in Africa that is now Zimbabwe, and the Selous Scouts were a unit in the Rhodesian Army who fought against African insurgents to maintain white dominance in Rhodesia during the 1964-1979 Bush War. Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who shot and killed nine African Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2014, was a documented supporter of Rhodesia and published a manifesto following the mass shooting on the website The Last Rhodesian.

An Instagram post dated July 2015 clearly states “Keep Calm I’m A Rhodesian,” but other references to Rhodesia, such as a photo of the FAL rifle used by the Selous Scouts with the caption “What can an FAL and a zippo get you? Africa,” are more convoluted. In November 2017, Caudillo again implied using gun violence to conquer Africa and restoring Rhodesia in a Facebook post he shared from another account. The post contained a photo of SpongeBob holding a rifle in a glowing treasure chest with “When they say Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse” written at the top. According to the anonymous source, Caudillo’s own caption on the shared post “BRING ME MATILDA” is about one of Caudillo’s guns that he has named “Matilda.”

“Be a Man Among Men” was a common recruiting slogan of the white Rhodesian Army.

Caudillo also appears with the Confederate flag on both social media platforms.

Responding to demonstrations in Los Angeles in December 2014 after the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mississippi, Caudillo posted a photo of his middle finger and what appears to be a helmet with a Confederate flag patch on the back and wrote, “Hey LA protestors, come try and burn this flag #f-ckyou #millionmarchla #nojusticenopeace #ferguson #killhippies.” 

 

Caudillo also regularly uploads memes and picture captions that promote physical harm or murder.

In July 2015, Caudillo wrote “#SHOOTHER” as the caption for a meme depicting a man hiding under a table from dinosaurs, meant to represent women on their periods. Later, in September 2017, Caudillo captioned a photo of a bottle labeled “Pumpkin Spice Chloroform” with “when you like white chicks but they don’t like you,” using the stereotype that white women like anything containing pumpkin spice to joke about rendering women unconscious for not returning his romantic interest. 

In addition to posting about shooting women, Caudillo shared a photo  of himself holding a rifle in February 2017 stating that he was “patrolling for jack rabbits (mexicans).” 

The most frequent target of Caudillo’s Instagram posts propagating violence, however, are communists. In one photo, the sentence “I want to break things and hurt communists” appears on a white background with “#lifegoals #dreamjob #berniesanders” as the caption, suggesting that Caudillo considers U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders as a communist and would like to harm him. In another post, a meme shows Pepe the Frog, which the Anti-Defamation League says is a popular figure in bigoted memes,  reading a book titled “Reasons to Live” that lists only one reason — “Killing Commies.”

A third post to Caudillo’s account from April 2017 is a meme in which a soldier responds to the statement “you can’t just napalm villages” with “that’s where you’re wrong kiddo.” A chemical substance that melts human flesh, napalm was a popular weapon of the United States during the Vietnam War,  which was started to contain the spread of communism. The meme refers to the many instances in which the United States would use flamethrowers with napalm on entire villages. 

Although less frequent, the “Mean J Greene” and “iyhuckleberry” accounts further contain statements offensive to the LGBTQ community, Jews, and Asians.

On Jan. 9, Caudillo called a coworker a homophobic slur, posting “a lady at work just told me I look good. What a fag.” on a rainbow background. In the comments section of a March 2017 photo of Caudillo’s stockpile of weapons, Caudillo again referred to someone as a “faggot” and used the terms “jewed” and “jewing” as slang for being screwed over in a weapons deal.

Lastly, Caudillo insinuated that Asians are rapists in a photo of a paragraph describing multiple Asian men committing sexual assault against a woman and comments, “fucking Korean rape gangs” and “raping my nostrils with their kimchee.”

According to screenshots of notifications from Facebook posted to his Instagram account, Caudillo has been temporarily banned from posting to Facebook at least four times for violating the website’s content standards.

In addition to alerting the Guardian to Caudillo’s social media behavior, the anonymous source provided evidence that multiple SIO employees and members of the UC San Diego administration were made aware of Caudillo’s posts.

On Aug. 16, 2017, the anonymous source reached out via email to SIO Associate Director Bruce Appelgate, Captain Zoltan Keletey, and two other employees at the Nimitz Marine Facility where Caudillo still works alleging that Caudillo made racist, homophobic, and violent statements and provided screenshots of some examples. In response, Port Engineer Paul Mauricio informed the source that “we take this seriously and are addressing this through the University system.”

SIO Director of Strategic Communications Lauren Wood stated that “[SIO] and [UCSD] strongly condemn and oppose and condemn all forms of hate speech. The views in this employee’s social media profile are offensive and do not reflect the views of [UCSD].” However, Wood declined to elaborate on the actions taken regarding the source’s complaint but noted that since being contacted by the Guardian for a response to Caudillo’s social media, the administration referred the information to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination.

“As a matter of policy, UC San Diego cannot comment on individual personnel matters,” Wood said. “However, we forward all complaints of potential harassment or discrimination to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination. We can confirm that we forwarded this matter to OPHD for review and assessment of potential University policy violations, and appropriate follow up action was taken by OPHD and [SIO].”

Emails from the anonymous source reveal, though, that OPHD was already contacted in January and May of 2018 regarding Caudillo’s online activity, and on both occasions, the office refused to offer any information on the outcome of the source’s report.

The responses to both OPHD complaints read, “Thank you for reporting this incident to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination. Our office will conduct a review of your report for potential UC policy violations.”

Although Caudillo’s behavior was reported to OPHD, Wood noted that university employees’ right to free speech protects the opinions expressed in their private lives.

“As a public university, [UCSD] is obligated to uphold the First Amendment, and although the views expressed in this employee’s social media posts do not reflect the views of the university, all campus community members have the right to express their personal views in their private lives , and at appropriate times, in appropriate places and manners.”

The main image is a photo uploaded by Caudillo to his Facebook. 

This article has been corrected to state that “iyhuckleberry” is a reference to the movie Tombstone and not, as previously stated, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. This article has been also updated to include more information given by SIO.

12 thoughts on “Social Media of UCSD Worker Shows Ties to White Supremacy, Promotes Violence

  1. How is everyone so relaxed? Passing this off as liberal bullying?? No one is saying this man can’t have his own opinions. If he wants to be a white supremacist he can have at it, but can anyone blame us for fearing him or reporting him? Are you all blind to the day and age we are living in? To just how many people are dying due to firearms and the kind of ideology that this man is showing he has? Everyone has every right to fear someone who proudly and blatantly displays his armory, and I’m sorry if this bothers you but I am not passing off the idea of killing Mexicans at the border as “dark humor.” Please wake up and stop this nonsense. It’s often us young “liberal bullies” that have to fear our futures and unexpected terror at our institutions of education because your traditionalist perceptions and baseless pride allow you to pass questionable social behavior and possible danger off as liberal dramatization. I’m not claiming the man can’t have unpopular opinions, and he’s certainly living in an America that accepts guns along with those opinions, but if his profile happens to resemble that of some of the prior criminals of mass shootings, don’t blame us for our sensitivity or for watching our backs because you won’t.

    1. also, if you see a hole in my argument, please do tell me. I am not here for knowledge that only solidifies what I believe in or how I perceive things. If you can convince me to think differently, I’ll be thankful to you for revising my thought. So far, I understand what others are saying before me in the comments section, but not enough to shift my opinion.

  2. If it’s not done on University time, or via University equipment (email, etc.) then, quite frankly, it’s not the University’s business what this man chooses to post on social media.

    People will have different opinions than you may hold and they have every right to express them. You don’t have to like or agree with everything (or anything) other people say/write/do.

    Inciting readers to potentially harass this employee is irresponsible, at best. While I don’t particularly care for what you say this gentleman has written/posted, I certainly wouldn’t blame him if he brought a lawsuit forward over this article.

    1. One more thing:

      There are all sorts of trolls in the world. Don’t stoop to being one again (as you’ve pretty much done with this article). If you dislike what the gent says, [i]be the opposite[/i] – and leave it there. Do NOT feed the trolls.

  3. it seems like almost everything “racist” or “homophobic” has been taken completely out of context. i mean “shoot her”? from a jurassic park meme? “shoot her” is one of the most famous lines from that movie. and look at the “korean rape gang”, the original article posted by Sargon of Akkad was about the UK media using the term “asian” when referring to people that are not normally referred to as asians such as people from the middle east. so “korean rape gangs” is satirical, obviously. its amazing how hard you have to work to take that out of context. after a small amount of research anyone can find the rhodesian war was not a race war, but a war against communist expansion in africa, and this guy seems more anti communist than a racist. i mean the first picture on his fb right now is him standing with an arm around african american woman. the second picture is of him with an asian woman.

    so is he just being singled out for thinking “the wrong way” on campus? because that is maliciously authoritarian, and like something the “communists” he is afraid of would do.

    this article is just a bunch of out of context quotes and pictures about some rude troll with a dark sense of humor, definitely not the nazi mastermind you wish he was.

    bad job, guardian.

  4. This was the full and official response provided to The Guardian from UC San Diego. As it was selectively edited by the Guardian staff, we are posting the full statement here.

    “Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UC San Diego strongly oppose and condemn all forms of hate speech. The views expressed in this employee’s social media profile are offensive and do not reflect the views of UC San Diego. As outlined in UC San Diego’s Principles of Community, the campus is dedicated to fostering a campus climate that is diverse, respectful and inclusive, and committed to the highest standards of civility and decency toward all.

    As a matter of policy, UC San Diego cannot comment on individual personnel matters. However, we forward all complaints of potential harassment or discrimination to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD). We can confirm that we forwarded this matter to OPHD for review and assessment of potential University policy violations, and appropriate follow up action was taken by OPHD and the Department.

    While the university cannot comment on specific outcomes, there is a process involved when complaints are brought to the attention of employees. This includes immediately notifying Employee Relations, OPHD, and the Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management Team. These entities review the complaint, work to resolve concerns, and investigate known facts to determine if university policies have been violated.

    As a public university, UC San Diego is obligated to uphold the First Amendment, and although the views expressed in this employee’s social media posts do not reflect the views of the university, all campus community members have the right to express their personal views in their private lives, and at appropriate times, in appropriate places and in appropriate manners. Information on free speech issues on campus, can be found here: http://freespeech.ucsd.edu. The university encourages all members of the community to engage in respectful dialogue and to observe the Principles of Community.

    We encourage campus community members with concerns about discrimination or bias to contact OPHD at (858) 534-8298, [email protected] or online at http://reportbias.ucsd.edu.

    UC San Diego is committed to ensuring that our campus is a safe place to learn, live, work and visit. Campus community members with concerns about safety or crime on campus, including hate crimes, are encouraged to contact UC San Diego Police by calling (858) 534-4357 or 911. If you have been the victim of crime, including harassment, you may also submit a report online: https://police.ucsd.edu/services/report.html.”

  5. No mention of the First Amendment! Poor reporting.

    UCSD is a public institution. This article shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution. Restrictions on speech by public colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution.

    https://www.aclu.org/other/speech-campus

  6. Liberal bullying?! What a joke!
    This man is clearly mentally unstable, racist, AND has easy access to firearms. With all the mass shootings in this country commited by white males, I think “liberal bullying” should be the least of your worries!

  7. You’re doxing someone and running a smear article because the University hasn’t done enough yet, at this point. I see that, but I’m positive the university (very liberal) will do their job appropriately. I hope this author didn’t stroke themselves off too hard on this one. The guardian didn’t do good on this one..

  8. Sweet Jesus ! Another case of a American citizen
    Who is harassed because a opinion or view that
    He /she voices outside of their work place and
    More the likely fired for it. More liberal bullying.
    You can’t use social engineering or subliminal
    Indoctrination, shaming , harassment ,
    Penalize people into being politically correct.
    They will resist and it will build a resistance. As
    Seen now.

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