NASCAR fans at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala.
Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Starting with clips on social media, “Let’s go Brandon” has become a new chant on the right.
It’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to a post-race NASCAR interview on NBC Sports.
Loud chants of “Fuck Joe Biden” came as the reporter referenced a cheer for the driver instead.
From comment threads to Fox News, “Let’s go Brandon” has been appearing as a dig against President Joe Biden since last weekend.
Without knowing the backstory, it may appear as if it’s a chant for a charitable cause or another fleeting meme.
However, the origin story behind the right’s tongue-in-cheek rallying cry is more complicated, and the narrative behind it has become over simplified as 30-second clips saturate conservative media.
It all started on Saturday, October 9, when NASCAR driver Brandon Brown won his first race in the league’s XFinity series at Alabama’s legendary Talladega Superspeedway.
-Tweety Birdy⁷ 🎓 😊 (@_____Tweety____) October 12, 2021
NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast was interviewing an emotional Brown in the winner’s circle. While these interviews are normally standard fare, the crowd made things a little more complicated, with chants of “Fuck Joe Biden” pouring down from the stands.
In an apparent attempt at a lighthearted segue, Stavast referenced a much less audible chant than the Biden one: “Let’s go Brandon.”
“Brandon, you also told me – as you can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘Let’s go Brandon’ – Brandon, you told me you were gonna kinda hang back those first two stages and just watch and learn,” Stavast said. “What did you learn that helped you in those closing laps?”
The Federal Communications Commission has strict rules in place regarding the use of profanity on TV, putting Stavast in a difficult spot when it came to acknowledging the crowd’s “Fuck Joe Biden” chant.
“Indecent and profane content are prohibited on broadcast TV and radio between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience,” the FCC says on its website.
Letting an f-bomb or other swear words slip during broadcasts between those times can lead to costly fines.
Although Brown answered Stavast’s question about his approach to the end of the race, that was not the biggest takeaway. And despite the track-side interview having nothing to do with politics, the reporter’s attempt to move the interview along fed into longstanding assumptions of conservative media personalities.
Donald Trump Jr. shared a meme featuring Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin with his 5.2 million Instagram followers. “Name’s Joe but my friends call me Brandon,” it said.
Operating under the premise that mainstream media outlets are always in cahoots with Democrats, conservative media personalities latched onto the chant as a prime example of bias against conservatives.
“Inflation, shortages, mandates and illegals,” Fox News contributor and FOX Nation streaming host Tomi Lahren tweeted, referring to Biden and undocumented immigrants. “Let’s go Brandon!!!!”
And Ben Shapiro, the popular conservative podcast host and founder of the Daily Wire, captioned a Twitter screenshot on an article about the International Monetary Fund’s assessment of inflation with the same chant.
Eventually, the chant ended up on a Fox News banner on Tuesday and even at other professional sporting events, as well as in the form of an airplane banner at a rally in Iowa for former President Donald Trump.
Stavast and representatives for NBC Sports, Trump Jr., Lahren, and Shapiro did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.