Keith Woods: The Rise of an Irish Far-Right Ideologue

Publication: Militant Leadership Monitor Volume: 15 Issue: 1

Image of Keith Woods. (Source: Southern Poverty Law Center)

Executive Summary

  • Podcaster Colin Robertson and others in the far-right are hailing Keith Woods as the “rising star” of 2023, with some calling it the “Year of Keith Woods” due to his growing popularity and influence.
  • Woods has over 150,000 followers on Twitter/X after rejoining when Elon Musk took over, and was retweeted by Musk and UFC star Conor McGregor, giving him significant mainstream exposure.

Keith Woods is now the most significant “rising star” in the current far-right. This is true despite the fact that Keith Woods is relatively little-known compared to long-time far-right ideologues like Jared Taylor, David Duke, or Richard Spencer. Since the rise of the transatlantic alt-right in 2015, Scottish far-right podcaster Colin Robertson, known as “Millennial Woes,” has hosted an end-of-year interview series of leading far-right online personalities. In December 2023, the final live chat for Robertson’s interview of Keith Woods proclaimed, “Some say it’s Gaza, Twitter, Ukraine, or Covid, but I think Keith Woods himself is our ‘Black Swan’ event … What an amazing journey for that young man. I truly hope one day when peace prevails, Keith Woods is recognized for bringing people a sense that the fight against [‘anti-white’ and multicultural] tyranny can be won” (Odysee/@millennialwoes, December 11, 2023).

Further demonstrating Woods’s increasing popularity was another interview by Robertson of French–Canadian far-right podcaster, JF Gariepy, who described 2023 as the “Year of Keith Woods” (Odysee/@millenialwoes, December 23, 2023). This was reminiscent of how three years earlier, various far-right online commentators, and especially the Nick Fuentes-led Groyper Movement, claimed that 2020 was the “YOBA,” or “Year of Baked Alaska.” This referred to Anthime “Baked Alaska” Gionet who goaded, filmed, and played an animating role in the “Stop the Steal” protests and ensuing January 6, 2021 riot by Donald Trump supporters at the US Capitol (CBS News, January 10, 2023).

Perhaps the most surprising commentary on Woods was from the Greg Johnson-run white nationalist webzine It also lauded Woods as the 2023 “Activist of the Year” for his influencing “the mainstream” from the “dissident right” perspective (, December 28, 2023). In contrast, less than three years earlier the same webzine had criticized Woods for aligning with the “insane” Richard Spencer, who had shifted to the left to the extent that he supported then-Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden (, April 23, 2020).

Woods, however, is a much different character than “Baked Alaska” or even Richard Spencer, with the latter two often acting as ideological chameleons—with “Baked Alaska” playing a role akin to court jester. Woods presents himself as a baritone-voiced intellectual. Woods’s real name is Keith O’Brien, and he is a graduate of National University of Ireland, Galway (X/@EyesOnTheRight, November 9, 2023). He seems to have embraced the British National Party shortly after graduating from university around 2016. Following this, he was then noticed by British Patriotic Alternative leader and podcaster, Mark Collett, who hosted him on his Patriotic Weekly Review podcast in 2019 (Bitchute/@MarkCollett, July 17, 2019). With this exposure, Woods joined Richard Spencer’s podcast at the time, called the “McSpencer Group.” Woods joined alongside the Finland-based, “race and IQ”-focused British citizen Edward Dutton, which placed him further into the far-right spotlight (YouTube/AngelDust, September 23, 2020).

In April 2020, just as Woods was reaching the highest profile far-right online social media circles, he shut down his Twitter account in anticipation of his being banned. This had already occurred with most other leading white identitarians, including Richard Spencer, Ed Dutton, Greg Johnson, David Duke, Jared Taylor, and Nick Fuentes. Although Woods continued hosting and appearing on podcasts after 2022, it was not until Elon Musk bought Twitter, renamed it X, and allowed previously banned white identitarians back on the platform that Woods relaunched his own account in April 2023 (X/@KeithWoodsYT, December 28, 2023). Since then, Woods’s followership has skyrocketed to well over 150,000 followers.

Most notably, Woods was re-tweeted by Musk himself after Woods started a “#BantheADL” (Anti-Defamation League) hashtag that went viral in September 2023 (Times of Israel, September 24, 2023). Not to be outdone, Irish Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Conor McGregor also retweeted Woods in November 2023. This occurred after Woods mocked a journalist who had “smeared” him for having a “far-right” stance on immigration, but later had his bicycle stolen while reporting on a stabbing spree (X/@ScotsWarrior17, November 24, 2023). The stabbing spree involved a naturalized Algerian immigrant who attacked schoolchildren in Dublin, which caused locals to riot—with Woods becoming the one of the movement’s most vocal supporters online (Irish Times, November 30, 2023).

Woods’s commentary on the stabbing spree has helped him build an increasingly large following, as has his strongly anti-Jewish messaging since the Hamas attack on Israel in October 2023. However, the channeling of his followers’ grievances during the riots in Dublin and violent conflicts in the Middle East reveals the grey area where Woods’s “advocacy” work overlaps with militant politics (Telegram/@AFVault, December 17, 2023). In turbulent times like today, it means Woods’s ideology has the ability to spark other forms of violent unrest in the West.