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Meet Big Man Tyrone, The President Of Kekistan (Not A Real Country)

Big Man Tyrone is the online persona of Gordon Hurd, a Cameroonian-born YouTuber living in the U.K., who runs a business that makes custom web video messages. Many of those messages are downright silly or inside jokes, but most of Hurd’s fans are denizens of the online forums like 4Chan and Reddit.

Hurd has quickly become one of the unlikely faces of Kekistan, a fictional land adopted by the alt-right and white nationalists. This past June, Tyrone declared himself the president of Kekistan in a video he intended to be humorous.

While Kekistanis claim to troll the identity politics of the left and right, the Southern Poverty Law Center has called the religion of Kekistan “the semi-ironic ‘religion’ the white nationalist movement has created for itself online.” Citizens of Kekistan, Kekistanis or Keks, have created a “history” that dates back thousands of years and a religion that portrays Pepe the Frog as a prophet. The ironic tone and alternative political narratives pushed by the group have been considered a gateway to the more extreme ideological groups of the alt-right.

Though Hurd says he’s not an ideologue and doesn’t try to keep up with the trolls, he’s happy to take the money of Kekistan fans. In addition to all of the Kekistan-themed videos his fans request, Hurd sells half of his T-shirt inventory to Keks every month.

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Consent (Preview) | A VICE on HBO Special Report

“It wasn’t until he started to take my clothes off that I realized that not a tiny part of me wanted to do that.”

This week on VICE on HBO, VICE’s Isobel Yeung brings us a deeply personal look at sexual consent — and how we can move forward in the MeToo era.

See it Friday at 11PM EDT on HBO.

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This Class Teaches High School Students To Respect Consent (HBO)

The first woman to accuse Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault says the event happened at a party back in the 1980’s, when they were high school classmates. With the fate of his confirmation potentially hinging on her testimony, a partisan debate is raging, raising questions about how young people navigate consent.

Last year, the Department of Education investigated 150 claims of sexual violence at elementary and high schools — a jump of more than 500 percent from just three years before.

Changing that may require changing students’ attitudes — particularly how kids think of consent.

Hundreds of colleges have instituted “affirmative consent” policies on campus, setting out the rule that “yes means yes” when it comes to sex. This concept is also being incorporated into certain sex ed classes for high school students, in the hopes that early education could prevent later issues.

In Chicago, two community activists with the program “Options for Youth” are bringing that idea classroom to classroom, and asking young men to reexamine harmful notions of traditional masculinity. VICE News attended one of their sessions to find out how high schoolers talk about sex in the post-#MeToo era.

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Watch The Most Outrageous Questions Senators Asked Anita Hill In 1991

As Christine Blasey Ford prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly assaulting her at a party in the ’80s, Washington watchers are looking back for context to the 1991 hearings where Anita Hill testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her in the workplace.

Hill accused her then-boss of making sexual remarks at work and pressuring her to go out with him. The queasy-making spectacle of white male senators questioning Hill — after an FBI investigation — triggered a wave of women running for office that culminated in 1992’s “Year of the Woman,” while Thomas went on to be confirmed.

Now we’re in the #MeToo era, with a Supreme Court nominee accused of attempted rape at a house party when he and the alleged victim, Ford, were teens. Ford has been reluctant to appear in public to talk about something she’s spent most of her life trying to forget, and has gone into hiding with her family to preserve her safety, after receiving death threats. But she’s now agreeing to testify next week, under certain conditions.

To get a sense of what hearings could look like, we cut down five hours of Anita Hill’s testimony, including questions lobbed by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Joe Biden (D-Del.), Alan Simpson (R-WY), Howard Heflin (R-AL). Here’s a selection of real questions and comments made during the hearing.

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China’s Hip-Hop Answer To “American Idol” Is Huge — Even Though Rap Was Banned In China (HBO)

It might be a few decades late, but hip-hop is now huge in China.

It’s all thanks to a show called “The Rap of China.” Imagine American Idol (except full of rappers, and everyone is Chinese), and you’ll get the idea.

It’s slick, it’s dramatic, and a bit goofy. It’s also massively popular, pulling in 3 billion views in its first season, and the show has pushed a few rappers into superstardom.

There’s just one hitch: none of this should be happening, because in January, the Chinese government banned hip-hop from being shown on TV.

But somehow, The Rap of China is still on the air, and in its second season.

VICE News’ Dexter Thomas went to a live taping of The Rap of China in Beijing to find out how an entertainment company is building a fortune on a genre that wasn’t supposed to be on the air, and how local rappers are keeping audiences — and censors — happy.

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The Flooding Is Just Getting Started In This North Carolina Town (HBO)

PEMBROKE, North Carolina — President Trump visited the coast of North Carolina on Wednesday to assess the damage inflicted by Hurricane Florence in one of the hardest-hit parts of the state. But his tour missed the people and areas that were most affected by the flooding.

Most of the water had subsided by Wednesday, revealing dampened homes, storefronts, and streets, at least in the areas where Trump toured.

His visit was centered around rebuilding, a process that is just beginning and will continue for months, if not years. But while Trump spoke to locals in places like New Bern about the recovery, North Carolinians living further inland, in poorer areas that have yet to recover from Hurricane Matthew two years ago, were still dealing with feet of water. In some towns, in fact, the flooding had only just begun.

VICE News was on the ground in Pembroke, a small inland town that sits along the Lumber River, where waters were flooding homes for the first time — just as the president touched down 150 miles away.

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There’s A Revolt Going On In Trump’s Favorite Industry (HBO)

American still manufacturing is enjoying a boost to earnings and demand thanks to trade policies put in place by President Trump. These are good days for American steel.

But in the heart of Steel Country, there’s talk of a historic strike that could shut the whole thing down.

Trump promised blue-collar, manufacturing workers across the country that he’d revitalize their industries and create new jobs. For steelworkers, the promise was direct — Trump vowed to create tariffs that would make foreign steel less competitive. He promised to dramatically increase the defense budget, giving steel manufacturers a powerful, deep-pocketed customer. He said he would slash environmental regulations that could make being a polluter very expensive.

Trump then proceeded to do many of those things. For the time being, American-made steel is a hot commodity again. A slumping industry has enjoyed a turnaround.

But the steelworkers — many of them white men who voted for Trump — say they haven’t felt anything from their industry’s rising fortunes. The United Steelworkers union represents a lot of those people. And right now, they’re trying to negotiate a new contract with U.S. Steel, a firm that runs plants dating all the way back to the days of Andrew Carnegie.

U.S. Steel says its offering some of its windfall to its workers. The workers say they’re being asked to make sacrifices at a time when their industry is raking it in. The USW is ready to strike, and an order starting a 48-hour shutdown process could come at any moment.

VICE talked to steelworkers in the Pittsburgh area about their relationship to U.S. Steel — and to the president who promised them so much.

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What An Investigation Of The Brett Kavanaugh Assault Allegations Would Look Like (HBO)

Two days after Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has spoken outTwo days after Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has spoken out

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Ted Cruz Thinks He’s Going To Beat Beto O’Rourke. The Voters Agree. (HBO)

Columbus, Texas — Senator Ted Cruz is not assuming anything in his campaign for re-election. He’s a popular politician in a state that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the senate in 25 years. But polls show him in a surprisingly tight race with the young, telegenic upstart Beto O’Rourke, who’s captivated liberal crowds in Texas, and celebrity endorsements across the nation.

That’s why Cruz was here on Saturday, at an intimate gathering in a deep red town halfway between Houston and San Antonio: to rally the faithful back to his cause.

“The danger is that the economy is booming, people are focused on their jobs and their kids, going to church, going to the ballgame, and they just don’t make it out to vote,” Cruz told the crowd. “Our danger is complacency.”

Cruz leads O’Rourke by 4 percentage points, according to the Real Clear Politics average. But he faces more than just the familiar incumbents’ paradox that when things are good, parties in power have a hard time mobilizing voters.

The bigger worry is voter overconfidence. According to internal Republican National Committee data reported by Axios, the Republican faithful are unusually immune to reports showing that Democratic candidates are on the rise. One recent RNC survey found that 57% of strong Trump supporters don’t believe that Democrats will retake the House.

“To me, the polls that we’re seeing right now are eerily similar to the Trump-Clinton polls that we saw going up to the election,” said Tom Kelley, the GOP chair for Colorado County, at Cruz’s stop in Columbus. “It’s all hype and hyperbole.”

That’s why Cruz can’t simply ignore the huge crowds being drawn out by his opponent.

“We’re going to win this race,” Cruz told VICE News. “I feel very good about where we are. But the reason we’re going to win it is we’re not taking anything for granted. It is clear there are a lot of folks on the far left who are really angry and that anger — it’s a motivator. It is bringing dollars, it’s bringing passion, it’s bringing energy. And we have to take it seriously.”

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Brainhackers & Fall Of Rio (Trailer) | VICE on HBO

Advancements in neurotechnology are blurring the line between biology and technology. There is an emerging push to implant electronic devices inside the human body, hardwire them to our brains, and allow us to not only overcome disadvantages or injury, but open up entirely new avenues of human experience. VICE News’ Thomas Morton gets an inside look at what might be the next evolutionary step for humankind. Then…

“Pacification” in Rio, carried out ahead of the 2012 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, was meant to spread the affluence and security of the city’s wealthy, mostly white neighborhoods to the poor, mostly black favelas. But with those events gone, Brazil is in a financial crisis, its government consumed with a monumental corruption scandal and violence is rising again as drug trafficking gangs fight for control. VICE News’ Ben Anderson returns to Rio to see what happened.

See it Friday 9/21 at 7:30 PM and 11 PM on HBO.

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