The daily beast
Neighbors fear the bear-themed facility will be the next Ruby Ridge
Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers / The Daily Beast / Photos via Getty / Youtube An alt-right comedian’s plans for a remote patch of land in Idaho have terrified his neighbors, who fear it will become hostile terrain or the beginning of a new Ruby Ridge Comedian Owen Benjamin once had a moderately successful Hollywood career, landed roles in films and TV shows, and briefly became engaged to actress Christina Ricci. After moving to the right, he appeared on podcasts hosted by Joe Rogan, Steven Crowder, and Ben Shapiros Daily Wire. However, as his Conservative following grew, Benjamin became increasingly racist and anti-Semitic. He used the N-word repeatedly on a comedy show in February 2018, adopting conspiracy theories about the Holocaust, claiming that Adolf Hitler was just trying to “clean up”. [Germany] the parasites. ”Benjamin’s broadcasts to his fans became increasingly unpredictable as the former comedian adopted the flat earth theory and recommended drinking turpentine as a remedy. But being on the edge of the internet can be lonely, so Benjamin decided to build a place where his remaining, bear devotees – who call themselves “Unbearable” – could meet in person. Just what Benjamin is up to for the Sandpoint, Idaho property has become a hot topic in Idaho’s Boundary County. Called “Ursa Rio” by Benjamin after the Moyie River that borders the property, the land marks the culmination of Benjamin’s year-long plan to build a hangout for his fans. Benjamin’s neighbors get nervous and urge local officials to step in and issue a cease and desist order blocking construction. “You are the only people who can prevent this re-enactment of Ruby Ridge,” a leaflet distributed at a hearing last week urging county commissioners to block construction on Benjamin’s property reads. For Benjamin’s opponents, the prospect of a far-right camp in Idaho is reminiscent of the state’s history with other extremists. The Aryan nations once operated a site in the state. In 1992, three people were killed in a clash between federal agents and white separatist Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge. In an April 14 letter received by the Kootenai Valley Times, the man who sold the land to Benjamin warned a district planner that the situation could have an “unpleasant outcome” and said he would have one after the sale Read a Twitter post about the possibility that Benjamin’s fans would flock to the remote area. “I am telling you this because I was recently made aware of a worrying situation with potentially unpleasant consequences and I would like to do everything possible to prevent this,” wrote the previous owner of the Ursa Rio property as an “unbearable” haven. His supporters refer to Benjamin as “Big Bear” and often use their own bear-related aliases, adopting bear grips based on their personality or what they can contribute to Benjamin’s cause in a style reminiscent of the Care Bears. Ursa Rio began last year when Benjamin began to raise funds for “Beartaria”, a then unspecified place that he envisioned as a place where Benjamin and his “bears” could lead the simple rural lifestyle that Benjamin after the Has pleaded detonation of his entertainment career. Benjamin, who said he shouldn’t have “internet friends” in his actual home, said Beartaria would be a place to meet his “internet friends,” with 10 percent of the land designated as a “sanctuary” for camping. “I’m not allowed to have internet friends at home,” Benjamin said in a video. “But if we get land and yurts – internet friends.” In return for a donation of 400 US dollars, Benjamin said in a video from June 2020 that his “bears” were entitled to “two weeks vacation” in the country. However, after raising funds to buy a much larger, better-equipped property for “Beartaria”, Benjamin failed his camping offer by introducing “Beartaria” as a concept rather than an actual location and calling himself an “idiot” ” for offering to exchange the $ 400 donation for camping rights. “Don’t plan your life around Beartaria at all,” Benjamin warned his fans. In an email to The Daily Beast, Benjamin now says that many of his donors never go to The Idaho property, describing it as a place for families “to take their children fishing and sleep under the stars.” “It is a private residence, not commercial, and we have no obligation to donors as stated on the website,” wrote Benjamin Benjamin’s group of nine neighbors are concerned about the prospect of Benjamin’s fans wandering to the property they believe to be is designated for agricultural or forestry purposes. In an email to district officials, a neighbor warned that the property is not being serviced by utility companies, threatening the threat that inexperienced campers could start wildfires if they tried to make bonfires. The property is connected to a narrow, rough road, according to the neighbors, whose meager maintenance consists of the residents adding stones every year. Benjamin’s neighbors are also alarmed by the possibility of organized military training on the property, a clear and present danger, ”a Vietnam War veteran who lives near Benjamin told the Kootenai Valley Times. “This is a commercial company that offers weapons and tactical training and is not allowed to be used in this zone. There is no imaginable reason to allow this use. If we wait too long, it will be too late. ”Benjamin told The Daily Beast that no guns have been fired on the property since it was purchased. But his attempts to downplay the possibility of guns in Ursa Rio have been undermined by his habit of describing grandiose plans for the country several times a week in hour-long live streams, with the most inflammatory statements archived and analyzed by his online opponents, Benjamin often did noted he had a paramilitary force on his property and said he was “basically friends with a paramilitary group” in Idaho. “If you try to occupy my land when I offer you campsites, I’ll have my own paramilitary force,” Benjamin said in a video, warning “bears” that might try to live on the land permanently. “I would have my own private paramilitary force, which is always a good thing,” Benjamin said in another video he was just joking about the paramilitary forces. “I don’t have a paramilitary force,” Benjamin told The Daily Beast in an email. “I made a joke as a comedian. Unless you consider my goats and chickens to be military. ”In his videos, Benjamin also discussed the prospect of weapons at“ Beartaria ”. “Shooting range?” Benjamin said on a video describing his plans for a bear community in Idaho. “Yes! Will there be a gun yard? Yes!” According to his own statements, Benjamin is not an ideal neighbor. In several videos he tells stories in which he berates shop employees or other customers who have asked him to wear a face mask Incident, Benjamin said, he called an elderly man in a post office who asked him to wear a mask a “crusty old hunchback” and accused him of being a pervert, saying that masks are only worn by criminals or perverts Reporters in the area covered the controversy over Benjamin’s property, the comedian blamed the reporter for being a pedophile on a live stream and ridiculed him for using a wheelchair. Boundary County commissioners did not respond to a request for comment. According to the Kootenai Valley Times, commissioners are talking to other local officials about how to respond to Benjamin’s construction. Benjamin bought the Gr and piece about real estate agent Todd Savage, who describes himself as a “strategic relocation advisor,” who helps conservative townspeople move to rural areas like the property Benjamin bought. In a video on his company’s website, Black Rifle Real Estate, Savage’s business is described as helping people move to places where “we support our nation and its allies in the fight against radical terrorism, and where the residents are proud to support Blue Lives ”. Matter. ”Savage told The Daily Beast that he’s seen a boom in business as conservative townspeople try to move to rural areas. But Savage won’t work with every shopper – its website warns that “snowflakes” and “Marxists” don’t have to apply. “We only work with people who are right-wing liberal, end of story,” Savage told The Daily Beast. “Because we want people who have the same belief system around us, and that’s fine.” Read more at The Daily Beast. Get our top stories to your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.