Jason Kessler, the white supremacist behind Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally on August 12, apparently has a new website called Real News with Jason Kessler. Kessler, who dropped out of the public eye after the terrorist attack in Charlottesville, which left one dead and another 30 wounded has apparently emerged to set the record straight. With an aesthetic comparable to the early days of the internet, his site not only attempts to push his point-of-view on the tragic events in Charlottesville, but is actively cosigning podcasts from white supremacist, Chris Cantwell.
Most will remember Chris Cantwell from the VICE News segment, Charlottesville: Race and Terror, documenting the events of Unite the Right. During the segment, Cantwell infamously said the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer in the terrorist attack was, “more than justified”. Some will also remember, Cantwell’s very emotional internet breakdown only a few days after learning there was a warrant out for his arrest – in stark contrast to the tough-guy image he portrayed during Unite the Right.
Kessler’s re-emergence signals an attempt to regain credibility within the white nationalist, supremacist, and alt-right circles. Kessler was disavowed by scions of the alt-right like Richard Spencer after a disastrous press conference the day after Unite the Right that saw him jeered, heckled, and tackled as he fled the podium, along with a late night tweet calling the victim of the terrorist attack “… a fat, disgusting Communist.” The same tweet also said, “Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time.”
Spencer later tweeted, “I will no longer associate w/ Jason Kessler; no one should, Heyer’s death was deeply saddening. ‘Payback’ is a morally reprehensible idea.”
Nonetheless, Kessler’s website and accompanied blog posts are not so much news or even ideological perspectives, as it is an attempt to explain his position on the events of Unite the Right. In a post from Sept. 7, Kessler goes to great lengths to portray the organizers and attendees as the victims during Unite the Right, going so far as to say their torch-lit procession through University of Virginia (UVA) was a “civil rights march”. This is in obvious contradiction to the Nazi chant of “blood and soil”, which percolated through their ranks as they made their way to UVA’s statue of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Rotunda.
Within Kessler’s post, he reserves special ire for the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD), along with UVA’s Police Department and administrators, claiming they failed to protect Unite the Right rally goers. He also maintains that UVA’s police chief was using, “…hearsay from the anarcho-communist website It’s Going Down to inform their negligent response to the Alt-Right’s torch-lit march on August 11th.” To confirm this, he cites only one email released via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request posted to ShadowProof. The email simply has a link and no accompanying text, body, or assessment.
Like most white nationalists, supremacists, and alt-right provocateurs, Kessler’s narrative is entirely based on playing the victim and being misrepresented by the mainstream media. He goes on to say, “Contrary to the mainstream media narrative about the event, the Alt-Right marchers had no interest in confronting anyone.” None of this can be reconciled against the actual version of events, including the presence of armed militias, white supremacists, nationalists, and various alt-right groups, dispelling this notion outright.
He eventually concludes with, “It was the decision of the Left-wing Antifa to gather at the statue prior to our march and initiate a confrontation.”
Ultimately, the counter-protest led by anti-fascists, anti-racists, clergy, and everyday people was an attempt by citizen activists to fight the most public display of hate and bigotry in decades. Kessler continues to remain a pariah even amongst his own movement and is currently being sued for $3 million by people injured as a result of the rally he planned. Co-signing media with a white supremacist such as Chris Cantwell, who actively advocates violence against communities of color, immigrants, and Jews, should leave little doubt about the true intentions of Kessler and what the motivations behind the Unite the Right rally really were. Three emails released in a FOIA request will not change that.
*Photo by Landon Shroder