There are plenty of gamers who take part in the political process, but apparently one Roblox player has taken a very active interest in the White House in recent weeks, going as far as to pose as a reporter and get questions through to Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki.
Politico detailed the bizarre story on Friday of an anonymous person posing as a reporter named Kacey Montagu, who claims to work for a nonexistent White House News. The story, which included an apparent interview with the “journalist” who seems to have infiltrated the White House Press Corps with a series of Twitter accounts that reposted news from accounts like @WHschedule and @WHpoolreport, which take public information about the president, vice president, first lady, and second gentleman’s daily schedules and share them to a growing audience.
Those accounts have been useful follows for some online, and apparently the person running them as “Kacey Montagu” has acted like a journalist in several ways, filing Freedom of Information Act requests to get documents about Psaki’s personal finances. But the claims made by “Kacey Montagu” about their journalistic background don’t appear to make sense to those who have interacted with them online. As Politico notes, for starters, it seems to all be something made up to brag about on the Minecraft-like gaming service Roblox.
Acquaintances online suspect much of the biographical information to be untrue. They believe Montagu’s White House moonlighting began as something to boast about in the online global gaming platform called ROBLOX, where users jokingly call themselves “Legos.” Within that platform is a role-playing group called nUSA, where people from across the world engage in a mock U.S. government exercise. At one point, Montagu had adopted the role of Secretary of State but resigned from that job after — as they recalled — ”the [nUSA] President went to war with some U.K. and I thought it was a pretty bad idea!”
A Twitter account by the name Kacey ‘Lego’ Montagu has been engaging with a few individuals who have noticed Montagu’s involvement in White House press operations. But there is no identifiable information one can discern from it either. The background image is of the late Prince Philip and the avatar used is of Trisha Paytas, a YouTube star.
Politico’s story lays out in detail the anonymous person’s real-life scheme, which is ultimately pretty harmless. While posing as a reporter using a fake Twitter handle called “White House News,” the person in question emails several credentialed reporters questions they’d like to get asked at Psaki’s press briefings. They claim that due to “social distancing regulations” they can’t be there to do it themselves. And, apparently, it’s actually worked.
The reporter for that day declined to ask Montagu’s question, as did several others who received emails from the account, including at least two staffers at POLITICO. But Montagu, whose email signatures at other points called them a “political correspondent” at the fake acronym WHSG, was successful in planting questions with reporters at The Plain Dealer and CQ Roll Call, among others, asking about everything from Covid-19 travel bans, to coming ambassadorships, to Biden’s reaction to Microsoft being hacked.
There is something to be said for ordinary people asking valid questions of a federal employee, whose salary is paid for by the American people. But it’s also important to note that this sort of role playing is what brought us QAnon, which started as roleplaying on an image board and led to several real-world deaths and an attempt to overthrow the government at the behest of Donald Trump.
That’s probably not where this Roblox-related minor conspiracy is headed but, well, it’s probably the weirdest thing you read about all day at the very least.