Secret chats show Charlottesville organizers tried — but failed — to hide violent racism
The white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville last month had hoped to keep their violent racism under wraps in hopes of appealing to mainstream conservatives — but their plan quickly fell apart.
Organizers of the Unite the Right rally were unwilling to reject violence during online planning discussions, despite asking participants not to provoke it, according to an analysis of chat logs and audio recordings by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
They planned the racist rally on the online platform Discord, which was set up as a video game communication tool but has turned into a haven for right-wing extremists, and the progressive website Unicorn Riot published more than 35,000 messages by event organizers.
“The objective is to gain sympathy for a pro-white rally and against an erasure of history and this communist sh*t that we all are aware of,” said Unite the Right organizer Eli Mosley. “If this rally turns into a crazy street brawl that we started, that’s not as good as if we had gone there, said what we had to say, and let the left look like idiots.”
Organizers asked participants to avoid obvious neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan symbols and refrain from starting fights — but feel free to provoke violence.
“Going up to MSNBC and them interviewing you saying we should kill every non-white on the planet – I don’t necessarily have an issue with listening to that on a podcast or whatever, but if you are going to do something like that, even if it’s your true belief, that’s not the objective of this rally,” Mosley said on Discord.
Organizers and participants appeared to be obsessed with provoking violence among Antifa counter-protesters — whom they mentioned 702 times in the chat logs, according to Reveal.
“Help bait antifa into attacking the Proud Boys,” said lead Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler, referring to the pro-Trump extremist group started by Vice magazine’s co-founder.
The rally was ostensibly intended to defend Confederate monuments, but many participants in the planning discussions had to be taught the lyrics to “Dixie” and had few cultural or geographical ties to the south — besides an appreciation for white supremacy.
They also seemed to be aware Charlottesville residents did not want them there and recommended keeping a low profile until the event began.
“If you have comms (with the KKK) advise them that they will be turned away at the door,” one user wrote. “Just tell them not to show up in full regalia.”
After one of the neo-Nazis at the rally drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, participants mocked her on Discord chats and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about her death, according to Reveal.