From left-wing activist to conservative hero: New documentary spotlights Brandon Darby's strange trip
LOS ANGELES – In 2005, then radical left-wing activist and teen runaway Brandon Darby became a local hero when he travelled to a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans and set up a relief organization all on his own. But his life soon took a dramatic swing when he was hired as an FBI informant and asked to infiltrate a group of 20-something anarchists believed to be hatching a plan to sabotage the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota.
Based on information Darby provided, two men – Bradley Crowder and David McKay – were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism in a plot to firebomb the convention. But rather than becoming a national hero, Darby was accused by some of goading the men into concocting Molotov cocktails, was inundated with death threats, and called a traitor by his left-leaning community.
Jamie Meltzer’s documentary about Darby, “Informant,” in some ways backs up the claims that Darby was somehow responsible for the incident, but it also gives Darby the chance to tell his side of the story.
“I don’t think anything reported by the mainstream media at that time was accurate. Instead of coming out and saying our peace movement foiled a bomb plot, they came out with 'our peace movement feels betrayed by the government.' The problem was (McKay and Crowder) came out with the explicit goal of shutting down the RNC by any means necessary,” Darby told FOX411. “The leftist mainstream can’t comprehend that that is very un-American, and is a violation of the rights of an entire half of this country.”
Outlets scrubbed stories about Darby's work in New Orleans, and his name was removed from articles as the co-founder of Common Ground Relief. Crowder and McKay accepted plea bargains and served multiple- year long terms behind bars.
“They (the defense) came out with his narrative that somehow my performance of hyper-masculinity made it inevitable that young men in my presence would want to make bombs. They say these guys weren’t really going to do it, but how do they know that? They tried to say that they were just kids. First off, they aren’t kids. They were grown men,” Darby continued. “And secondly, they didn’t even like me. I was not their mentor – the left came up with that. I don’t know if they were going to use the bombs they made, and you don’t either. But that was not my job, to wait and find out.”
In the midst of the mayhem and fallout, Darby was contacted by Andrew Breitbart, who speaks highly of him in interviews done for the film before his sudden death, and who encouraged him to fight back. Breitbart's support helped make Darby a widely-respected figure for conservatives.
“There is this misconception that if you care about others you are left, and if you don’t care about others and are selfish you are on the right. I started to have these realizations that that was not the case,” he said. “’Informant’ is not my film. It is not the film I would have made. But I still think people should watch it as an interesting example of what the left conglomerate does to stories and how they twist things."
“Informant” is available September 13 in theaters as well as Cable VOD, Xbox, Playstation, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and YouTube.