None of the alt-right Charlottesville guys admit their guilt — it's always someone else's fault: CNN reporter
Ahead of her special on the Charlottesville Nazis and white supremacists, CNN reporter Elle Reeve told Jim Acosta about the interviews she conducted with those who lost lawsuits after the march.
According to Reeve, the man have all explained that they weren't at fault for anything that happened in Charlottesville.
"I mean, you spoke with a number of them," Acosta said. "They were ultimately found liable for millions of dollars in damages. Are you picking up on any remorse? I mean, it sounds like Spencer there, for example, is still very defensive about what he did and what he has said."
"Yeah. I'd say the main message from most of them is 'it wasn't my fault, maybe it was someone else's but not mine,'" Reeve summed up. The crying Nazi, "Chris Cantwell, for example, played an excruciatingly slow-motion video of him punching someone over and over again from behind and tried to tell the jury he was acting in self-defense. But others in more private moments will say, 'Maybe I shouldn't have trusted these people on the internet, maybe I should've said something when they were talking about violence.'"
Reeve has been following the white supremacist movement since 2015, first for VICE News and now for CNN. She said that from the early days of the organizing, she explained that organizer Jason Kessler actually wanted violence.
"He always framed it as self-defense, but he was talking about provoking anti-fascists and attacking them going as far as telling people don't open carry guns because then counterprotesters will be scared and they won't attack us," said Reeve. "Further, he reached out to Matthew Heinbach, who is associated with the white power movement, and asked groups to come who were associated with street fights. He wanted, like, skinhead gangs from the '90s because they had the reputation for being capable of violence."
Spencer, by contrast, created a kind of upper-class version of that with pressed white shirts and khakis walking through the streets of Charlottesville with tiki torches. He too denied responsibility, saying that he just wanted to be famous and that anyone who followed him essentially did so because they wanted to be famous and were jealous of him.
See the full discussion below:
It's everyone else's fault www.youtube.com
As part of the new CNN special on Charlottesville, one neo-Nazi revealed that he's been kicked off of Twitter at least three times. But he keeps coming back and he does it pretending to be a Black woman.
Matthew Heimbach spoke to Elle Reeve about his efforts promoting white supremacy and Nazism and that Charlottesville was a big part of that, even if he never made a public speech.
Josh Smith, a defense attorney, said that he has always been conservative, but became radicalized on Twitter. He specifically cited a meme he found poignant with a liberal saying, "It's impossible to round up 11 million people and ship them somewhere you stupid conservative." And another replies, "Why are you denying the Holocaust?"
Smith said that he got off Twitter though, but Heimbach admitted he's still active and that no one will ever get rid of him.
"I've been kicked off Twitter, I think, three times now, maybe four. I come back each time as a middle-aged black businesswoman," he said. "If you come back and immediately friend a bunch of white nationalists, they're on to that.
"Yeah, they know," said Smith.
"The algorithm checks that. If I'm talking to other middle-aged Black women, the algorithm can't figure that out and you're constantly playing a game of chicken with increasingly sophisticated and intrusive algorithms trying to stop us," explained Heimbach.
"That itself is hilarious," said Smith.
"Yeah, it's a game, you know?" said Heimbach.
Twitter has worked desperately to find and eliminate white supremacists and Nazis on its platform.
See the exchange below:
How the far right beats Twitter algorithm www.youtube.com
Richard Spencer claims alt-right followers were jealous of his fame and Charlottesville was like 'his concert tour'
Richard Spencer and many of those involved in what was previously called "the alt-right" spoke to CNN's Elle Reeve as the group faced the verdict in the civil suit that they ultimately lost. She's been following the white power and white supremacy movement since 2015, first starting at VICE News and now for CNN.
Spencer told Reeve that his real purpose was to be famous and that the people who followed him were really just jealous of his success and that they wanted to be famous too.
"I was trying to unite everything where it would be simply me and it would have been better if they had f*cking bent the knee and shut the f*ck up," Spencer said. "The whole 2016, 2017 experience was quite something, wasn't it? I was making headlines every week. Trump was also reaching people online and the alt-right became an advertising wing. And the alt-right's anonymous — I am not anonymous if I dare say so, I think I'm interesting."
She asked if that meant he was part of a broader movement that never had a face to it.
"Exactly, yeah," Spencer agreed. "And people could kind of freak out and love to hate me and maybe hate to love me."
He went on to say that he felt like there were a lot of people that wanted to "come hang out in the alt-right. And yeah, I just was too old. I was slumming. I don't know."
"Did I predict this? No. I feared there was going to be some kind of violence at a lot of those rallies. That was becoming present. I think I underestimated a lot of people," Spencer continued. "I think a lot of people wanted to be me. One of the big things the alt-right was I want to be Spencer. I want to be in the headlines. It created a tremendous amount of jealousy."
He admitted that he knew that he would attract attention if he was at the rally in Charlottesville.
"And I wanted attention," said Spencer. "Yeah. It was just kind of almost like a concert tour or something."
See the discussion below:
Richard Spencer www.youtube.com