The activist group Sleeping Giants has been known to practice progressive thuggery throug boycotting campaigns in an attempt to silence conservatives. Its shadowy founder has attacked targets anonymously for a year and a half but his identity has finally been revealed.
Matt Rivitz is the man behind Sleeping Giants. The Daily Caller News Foundation uncovered the San Francisco-based ad copywriter is the man pulling the strings at the cloak and dagger activist group. After initial reports surfaced, Rivitz confirmed he had in fact founded Sleeping Giants.
The organization’s intended purpose was to destroy the conservative news outlet Breitbart for its support of Donald Trump and waged war by bullying Breitbart’s advertisers in a well-crafted boycott campaign.
It saw incredible success as Breitbart lost 90% of ads in 2017 within a short two month period. Sleeping Giants continued to muscle Breitbart’s sponsors that wouldn’t cave, as well as looking to fight propaganda wars on other fronts. It attacked investors of the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund in fall of 2017. Robert Mercer, a wealthy conservative, was the hedge fund’s CEO with a financial interest in Breitbart. Sleeping Giants pressured his investors; leading to Mercer selling his stock in Breitbart and leaving Renaissance Technologies.
Sleeping Giants also propped up Media Matters and the anti-Second Amendment activist David Hogg. It called for a boycott of Laura Ingraham after comments she made about Hogg in a tweet. Rivitz had his organization post the name and contact information of the Vice President of Hulu to pester the streaming platform until they pushed out Ingraham’s content.
The Washington Post fawned over the Sleeping Giants, calling them “the mysterious group that’s picking Breitbart apart, one tweet at a time,” as they gained power under the shadow of their unknown leader. Rivitz went to great lengths to keep his identity secret, including removing his personal accounts from social media, but he couldn’t help himself when it came to dropping clues in interviews that ultimately lead to his unmasking.
AdWeek spoke to a Sleeping Giants spokesman who revealed their leader worked “in marketing.” Rivitz granted an interview to Mother Jones on November 2016 under the condition his identity be kept under wraps. He talked about being inspired to lead boycotts against organizations who publish opinions he disagrees with in a Twitter conversation with IKEA.
“Companies have boned up their customer service on Twitter,” he told Mother Jones. “I personally was at IKEA once—and this is kind of where the whole thing came from—I was waiting for, like, two hours for some shelves. Whereas on the phone you’ll have to wait, I just tweeted at them and literally within two minutes they wrote back, ‘Hey, how can we help you?’”
The Twitter exchange was found by the Daily Caller as well. There were hints about Rivitz being the leader of the progressive online hit squad in its early days, before his colleagues kept his secret close to the chest. DeeAnn Budney, a marketing executive, out-ed Rivitz just six days after Sleeping Giants launched.
“Here’s another way to put your post-election angst to work! If you want to help out, just go to @slpng_giants on Twitter,” she wrote on Nov. 22, 2016. She added “PS: Nice idea, Matt! (Matt Rivitz).”
Rivitz’s wife, Blythe Lang, even “liked” the post as she was doing a lot in the less cautious early stages. Sleeping Giants decided to lean into the curve by confirming Rivitz’s as the founder on their verified Twitter account after the cat was out of the bag.
Hey everyone. It’s Matt Rivitz. Founder of Sleeping Giants here. Last night, @peterjhasson from @dailycaller decided to publish my name as well as the names of my family & friends. And, curiously, a tweet I wrote to Ikea customer service. Which is weird.
The founder claimed to be “super proud” of his pet project, and only worked so hard to protect his identity “to stay anonymous to keep this about the mission rather than the individuals involved,” rather than the more obvious fear of backlash for running a politically-motivated harassment machine against journalists he doesn’t like.
This is a departure from past explanations about their anonymity. The group tweeted in November 2017, “We’re anonymous because we have jobs that pay our salaries and we don’t think they need to be wrapped up in this. Why are you anonymous?”
He had a different tune when he spoke with the New York Times in January of that year, seemingly wanting to avoid consequences for his “work.” NYT wrote, “‘We’re focused on Breitbart News right now because they’re the biggest fish,’ a founder of Sleeping Giants told me. (He requested anonymity because some members of the group work in the digital-media industry.)”
Rivitz, along with many other Sleeping Giants members, work in the ad business and quite possibly were undermining their own clients by organizing boycotts against organizations who hired them.
GQ cited in March, “To date, the people behind Sleeping Giants have elected to remain anonymous, noting that a few of them work in marketing-related fields in which their off-hours activism might be perceived as creating some kind of conflict of interest.”
Things have just begun to unravel for Rivitz as savvy social media users are already linking Goodby Silverstein & Partners clients who have been on the receiving end of a Sleeping Giants boycott, including BMW, Adobe, and Xfinity. Rivitz is claiming he was not employed by Goodby Silverstein & Partners specifically when the conflict of interest would have occurred.
Questions still linger about how active Rivitz was in his work as he organized campaigns to take down conservatives. Other ad executives who work with Sleeping Giants still remain in the shadows, potentially leaving clients to wonder if they have been betrayed by people they had been paying to represent.
Pawl Bazile is Patriotism Correspondent for DANGEROUS and Production Director for Proud Boy Magazine. He tweets at @PawlBazile.
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