After the publication of the third segment in the Eliza Bleu series, Shane Cashman contacted Manuel Chavez, a name who had been reported as a one-time affiliate of a now-defunct public relations company. He has clarified his distance from the company and said he does not employ the tactics that had been previously reported on.
The company in question offered the normal services of a PR company but extended it to “Reputation Management tracking” by creating positive and negative social media campaigns. They would buy positive articles, postings, and accounts to promote people — but would also engage in negative campaigns against a target if the client requested it. Chavez said that they were essentially a group of “larpers” trying to copy the model of Black Cube and Redacted.
Chavez said he began associating with the people close to this company after delving into intricate, popular online puzzles and gaining some attention by allegedly solving them. He interacted with the people he believed created the puzzles and, according to him, felt like he’d eventually been taken hostage by their “hopium.”
Chavez says that he has spent years trying to expose the wrongdoings of people in that circle but keeps being lumped in with them despite these efforts. He told Shane Cashman that he ended up getting a restraining order against some of the people he used to interact with and that he ultimately moved to another state to escape the danger that he believed they posed to him.
He provided Timcast News with copies of the order.
The following interview is directly from the conversation between Cashman and Chavez after the release of Part III. Timcast News cannot independently verify many of the claims made by the subject at this time, but we have decided to present the discussion as it occurred for transparency. We have edited out the names of individuals and the company.
CASHMAN: I don’t want to do to anyone else what I think everyone’s doing to Eliza, which is unjustly targeting anyone. And if I’m wrong, I’d like to figure out how and why.
CHAVEZ: I’ve been getting censored off of Twitter, YouTube, and many other platforms unjustly because of my history. The [PR] company, this company that I whistleblew on… I’m the guy that put out all of the information that you read about it.
But I don’t get any credit for it. Everybody just says that I was behind it. You know, [they say that] this is something that I did, but it can’t be farther from the truth. It centered around a previous company that [they] wanted to start. Basically, what they were doing was using this operation to, like, sow disinformation chaos into the system… to spread disinformation. They go and purposely feed disinformation to people.
The issue here is that a lot of these people that have been connected to this have died, like committed suicide. And if you read about me being connected to suicides, it’s because everybody’s talking about these people that have died, and most of them died like after I left basically, like all these people, were like me and solving these puzzles… Basically, they would just horrendously stalk you through the internet.
I hate to say that gang stalking is even real or whatever, you know, if I’ve ever experienced any type of stalking, it’s probably that kind of. I had a group of people, part of some secret online organization, basically spending their entire day trying to f-cking destroy me online, whether it was on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, so you know what Eliza feels like she’s having happening to her right now — literally has happened to me for the last five years.
I don’t want her to have an issue. I was literally just pissed off one day that she blocked me when I was like, trying to ask her questions. It was lightly trolling her because I was like, ‘Okay, you know, like, can you just like tell somebody something? Can you like, at least give us something in this situation?’ And I had seen that there were a lot of other people online that had been saying stuff about this particular situation before me… I don’t have a team, I’m a single guy.
CASHMAN: You’re not running any operation?
CHAVEZ: I’m basically broke, right? I’ve been door-dashing so that I can pay my rent. I put this thread out, and then I just decided that I wouldn’t worry about it anymore. I felt like I had spoken my piece. And I was like, okay, and if I was wrong, honestly, I wanted to be proven wrong. That’s the whole point. I wanted to give Eliza what she needed. I don’t think people really picked up on it. Trust me, I didn’t try to feed this to other people. I never meant for her to have this whole ‘perpetual trauma machine’ going on. I know that it’s been difficult, obviously.
CASHMAN: I personally have no problem with people asking questions, and you can talk all this sh-t you want. People could say, ‘He’s been affiliated with [the company],’ and then hear him talk about how he’s laughing about knowing people who’ve killed themselves. Now you’re putting it in a different light, where it’s like you’ve blown the whistle on these people. There have been articles written about these tactics.
CHAVEZ: I’m not behind any type of smear campaign. You know, I’m not a bot master. I can barely afford to pay my rent. I don’t even like bots.
Back in 2017, people were accusing me of this stuff. In reality, it was these other people that were allegedly using bots. They were buying bots on my channel, purchasing subscribers, purchasing Twitter followers — they were manipulating me. They targeted me because I had been solving those online puzzles, right?
[They] target people like me, people that are on the spectrum, people that have, I guess, issues in society. I obviously have social issues. I’m kind of a loner, I don’t really hang out with many people. [They] were buying subscribers on my YouTube channel. So my thought was, this was an organic thing that was happening to me — but it was actually just manufactured to the point where I went from having 2000 subscribers to having over 10,000. I thought I was a big successful YouTuber. It only took me about six months to start figuring out that something strange was happening. I was getting all these subscribers, but my views weren’t going up.
Reporters, like Will Sommer from The Daily Beast — they just went with [another narrative]. The sad thing here is, is that I was the source for Will. I gave him the information first. Then he went and tried to fact-check you, and you want everybody else to fact-check me, right? 1I literally had to get a restraining order [from my former associates]! [They] were getting physical with me, putting hands on me, trying to hurt me, basically telling me like, ‘Yo, if you f-cking try to leave, I’m going destroy you. I’m going to tell people that all this was your idea.’
I literally had to get a restraining order [from them.]
CASHMAN: I’m not trying to be mean or f-cked up, but what you’re describing is kind of like the hostage-type situation that Eliza was telling [us] about with her f-cked up sh-t.
CHAVEZ: You know, and I actually do agree with that. I think that that sounds kinda like that.
CASHMAN: When you saw the Daily Beast article about Eliza and it was written by Will Sommer, did it give you any pause? Because of what he’d done to you previously?
CHAVEZ: Yeah, actually, I had noticed that he was poking around. He followed me on Twitter. They never reached out to me directly, or anything. But Will has been pretty well known for, like, following me around and picking up stories over the years. I don’t work with The Daily Beast at all.
CASHMAN: There’s been so much distortion surrounding the Eliza story. It seemed nefarious when you created that Helen Troy website on your livestream.
CHAVEZ: You thought that was crazy? I was just sitting there, you know, we were trying to research it to figure out, you know, ‘hey, did somebody actually own this thing?’ And then I saw that they had been on wix.com and there had never been an actual website archive. I was just like, ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity for me to try to sell my hosting company.’ Like, I just thought that, hey, this would be a perfect way of showing people that I could buy a domain name and have something up online in 30 minutes, and then you know, it’ll be like a funny gag, right?
CASHMAN: It seemed like someone creating more chaos and doing it in the open, you know… I stand by the Eliza story. And I still stand by the fact that there are these coordinated campaigns that happen on the internet that are wicked. I like to take you at your word, the same way I did with Eliza. So I’d like to say to people, look, this is what he said… But it’s maddening, to be honest.
CHAVEZ: No, I understand how maddening it can be. I’ve been on the computer since I’ve been seven years old. I feel really bad about how this Eliza thing came out. Like, I honestly felt like, I would have put out my thread — and then Eliza would have been like, ‘alright, f-ck you, you know what, here’s where you’re wrong.’ I figured I was going to be helping more or less like, I was like, Hey, these are the hard questions…
CASHMAN: Did anything from the story change your mind or make you see anything different?
CHAVEZ: In some ways, I guess.
I guess she told you some names. And you said that you looked it up? And it seems like it might be there. It seems like it might be true. I mean, for the young stuff, it doesn’t really change my mind… But can I argue with it? No, I cannot. Because I wasn’t there. And I honestly don’t know. So, I have to concede on that way — because literally, she doesn’t have any evidence that she can give besides a name. And if there’s actually a legal case associated with that, I do understand why she wouldn’t be able to talk about it. But you know, it’s the later-on stuff. I was very clear that during 2012 to 2016, you know, maybe one era is when I thought that, you know, like definitely some type of trafficking happened because her story matched the story that I’ve heard from other girls actually, that were strippers that all of a sudden, got hit up by a pimp. And before they knew it, they were a stripper, and then an escort and then basically just a straight up prostitute. And, you know, like, that’s kind of sounds like, what’s more on her story…
CASHMAN: After talking to her family and her and I feel good about her story, but again, like [I] say in the story, [I] can’t prove anything either. So it’s like it’s up to everyone else to be like, ‘This is what I believe in.’ [I] also don’t like the mob mentality… that one can just condemn someone without explicit fact.
CHAVEZ: How these things spin out of control is actually wild to watch. You know, I’ve been tracking disinformation conspiracy theories online, like that’s what my digital channel was really about. I would always try to debunk flat earth or whatever crazy conspiracy came up no matter how detrimental it could have been… I was going against the grain with what everyone else was saying. I went out and I said it. [With] this Eliza thing, I didn’t have any expectations for this other than me to be shouting into the wind, right? I didn’t expect it to get so toxic so quickly. But I understand how YouTubers are, right? That’s what people don’t understand is like, they’re just like junkies.
It’s psychological operations. So, when I watched this stuff build the way that it did, obviously, I was like, ‘oh,there could be some kind of like Operation running here…’ I do know that there is this air of scariness that follows me around because of my history. When [the article] said that I’m a Fed, like, you’re technically, I guess, right in every way because I have actually volunteered for government. I have government contracts… But you know, I’m an IT guy.
CASHMAN: It seems like you can’t trust anybody. Especially on the internet. Who knows, you could be a robot talking to [me] right now.
CHAVEZ: I’m not a robot. I’m just in my tiny apartment.
CASHMAN: Do you have advice for people when they might see these crazy disinformation campaigns happen? A lot of people might not recognize it. You want people to be able to recognize these things.
CHAVEZ: My advice for recognizing these types of disinformation campaigns is pretty simple. If it goes in line with something that you’ve already been thinking, and you’re getting some kind of feeling out of it, you should be doing your due diligence to double research it —because it’s in my experience in these disinformation campaigns, is that they’re meant to target something that you yourself have already been looking into, or already have a feeling on. If you want something to be true, you should take more time with that particular thing, [especially] if somebody feeds you a piece of information that just automatically hits your confirmation bias. People have been doing this for very many years, whether it’s been flat earth or satanic ritual abuse…
CASHMAN: Do you think there’s a goal? Do you think there’s a goal for this? Like, is it just chaos? Is it to gain power over people?
CHAVEZ: For the people that I interacted with it always seemed to boil down to money. It’s always been about that for them. It’s a confidence game for criminals who like to sow chaos and manipulate people — because they have no morals. They just simply want chaos.
[They play] both sides of things all the time… You know, I’m not a psychopath, I’m not really even a criminal. I just, for some reason, have ran into many a criminal over my lifetime trying to, like understand how these people operate. I mean, whether it’s like huge drug dealers that are in federal prison now or just random people that became connected to me through like the piracy thing, right?
I don’t understand why they do half of these things. That’s why with the Eliza thing, I definitely didn’t want it to end up like this, I would much rather, you know, have been able to talk to her. If I were able to give her a message today, obviously, I would say, ‘look, I’m definitely sorry, that this kinda rolled out the way that it did. You know, I take responsibility for what I’ve done and what I’ve said, and if I’ve been wrong, you know, I apologize…’ Unlike all these other people on the internet that are just making video after video after video collecting cash…
There was never any intention to have her harassed into oblivion, right? That’s not what I wanted, I just wanted some simple answers. This thing kind of spiraled out of control in a way that I can’t control and it’s not the first time something like this has happened around me — but I am saying that I’m hoping that it will be last.