The influencer known as Carnivore Aurelius has more than 250,000 followers on Twitter and more than half a million on Instagram. He uses his sizable platform to sell dehydrated beef liver chips and tweets things like, “Ya'll worried about gas stoves but eating seed oils everyday. Fools.”
In between Carnivore Aurelius’s posts about various keto-friendly topics, including the benefits of eating meat and eggs, he offers alternative lifestyle advice: Don’t masturbate. Don’t have casual sex. Get lots of sun (but don’t wear sunscreen).
There’s also a “trad life” theme going on — a call to return to some idyllic past when humans were happier. “Men just want one thing…and it’s to buy a ranch, become a cowboy and rescue a woman from her soul sucking 9-5 job,” goes one tweet. There are recurring references to an idealized wife who makes breast milk ice cream:
The account has been around since late 2018, but last week a Twitter user noticed something shocking: “just found out the breast milk ice cream trad account is run/owned by a woman lmfao.” They posted a screenshot of the business registration for Carnivore Aurelius LLC, the company that sells beef liver and steak crisps, where a woman's name, Caeleah Taylor, was listed as a contact.
Taylor’s Instagram has more than 20,000 followers and is devoted to memes and videos about gut health and other wellness and diet topics, and her profile links her personal coaching business.
Could it be that this carnivore masculinist account that extols the virtues of breast milk ice cream was a catfish run by a woman wellness influencer?
Don’t worry, all is right in the world. BuzzFeed News can now report that the Carnivore Aurelius social accounts are indeed run by a man.
Reached by phone, Taylor told BuzzFeed News that she was not the owner of the Carnivore Aurelius social channels, just an executive assistant, and that she was not authorized by her boss to say more.
A few hours later, the real Carnivore Aurelius reached out to BuzzFeed News via text to explain further. The business had been registered anonymously in the state of Wyoming, he said, but Taylor’s name appears only to satisfy the legal requirement to register a separate branch office in a state where an employee lives. He said that Taylor’s work is only related to operations of the e-commerce business for the beef liver and steak crisps, and that she doesn’t run the Twitter or Instagram accounts.
“The documents there make it very clear that this is a branch of the main LLC and that she's no longer even an active governor of that entity,” Carnivore Aurelius said over text. “It's embarrassing for everyone that they overlooked something so simple in the documents. I'd appreciate if everybody stop harassing her.” (BuzzFeed News spoke to Carnivore Aurelius in an off-the-record phone conversation to confirm that he was not the same person as Taylor.)
As to whether he sees it as a contradiction in having a woman working for him when he advocates for women to stay home, have children, and homeschool: He does not. “It's not a contradiction at all,” he wrote. “I speak more about family vs not having a family, finding meaning outside of work rather than through it. This goes for men too.”
To many of his followers, it isn’t entirely clear if the account is genuine or satirical. He explained to BuzzFeed News that it’s a mix of both. He is genuine about the benefits of beef liver, but not the breast milk ice cream. “I just find that adding some playfulness, humor and exaggeration is helpful to bring some light-heartedness to such a tribal and dour dietary world,” Carnivore Aurelius said.
But there are themes and imagery at play that point to something beyond just diet advice and jokes. Curtis Dozier, assistant professor of Greek and Roman studies at Vassar College, leads a project called Pharos, which tracks and debunks the co-opting of classics and antiquity by the alt-right. Dozier told BuzzFeed News that the use of a Roman statue avatar (in this case, emperor Marcus Aurelius, a key adherent of the philosophy known as stoicism) is a visual motif associated with certain alt-right or neofascist accounts.
“Using that imagery, tweeting the stuff he tweets, aligns him with politically unpalatable positions,” Dozier told BuzzFeed News. (Carnivore Aurelius declined to describe the political themes, if any, of his account.)
“Historical stoicism was a philosophy that came into existence in the High Roman Empire, a period that was very cosmopolitan, with vast political structures, where individuals felt alienated from community,” Dozier continued. “It views the whole modern cultural landscape as something that has to be resisted and survived. Globalism and multiculturalism are bad, and you have to cultivate an identity on your own to stave off that onslaught.”
The Carnivore Aurelius blog lacks the satirical tone of its social media accounts and has diet-related posts like “Carnivore Diet Constipation: 6 Causes of This Pain in the Butt” and “7 Diseases Seed Oil Consumption Is Linked To.”
The beef liver and steak crisps are sold on the site for $89.99 for a one-month supply. If you’re curious as to what beef liver crisps taste like, sorry, they’re currently sold out. But the e-commerce site’s copy makes them sound promising: “If nutrition were a Roman coliseum, kale would be the defeated gladiator, and liver would be the lion tearing him to shreds.”