Even President Donald Trump has condemned James Fields, Jr., the Nazi-obsessed attacker who killed Heather Heyer at last month’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But according to Media Matters, some white nationalists online have begun painting Heyer’s death a heart attack to absolve Fields and portray her murder as a false flag.
On September 5, the fringe right-wing blog Occidental Dissent published a post claiming Heyer’s mother “said in an NBC interview she died of a heart attack,” and went on to blame the supposed “heart attack” on her weight.
“We can’t find any information about Heather Heyer’s injuries or an autopsy,” the blog’s notoriously racist writer Hunter Wallace claimed. “She does seem to be a very large woman though. My guess is that she was at least 250 pounds lying on her back in 90 degree heat. It is reasonable to wonder if her health had something to do with her death.”
“To my knowledge,” he continued, “no one else has died in these incidents when protesters are in the street and get run over. It happens quite frequently.”
The post was quickly picked up by fake news site Before It’s News, and Wallace’s claims became the subject of multiple alt-right YouTube screeds “debunking” the notion that Heyer had been murdered.
Andrew Auernheimer, who hacker-turned-Daily Stormer writer who infamously threatened CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, wrote that supposed “proof” of Heyer’s heart attack meant Fields should be exonerated.
“Murder charges on Fields gotta be dropped,” Auernheimer wrote on Gab, the alt-right’s favorite social network, “and the public has to get told it’s because Heyer was a f*cking fat cow.”
The theory soon spread to 4chan and Reddit, including the popular r/The_Donald subreddit.
Conspiracy theories ranging from the notion that Heyer was killed by a Hillary Clinton supporter to Scott Baio’s assertion that her murder as a false flag have circulated in the weeks since her death.