[This story has been updated to include Jason Van Dyke’s response to the allegation that he maintained an account on Stormfront.]
Today attorney Jason L. Van Dyke is primarily known for his association with the far-right Proud Boys organization, or his partnering with fellow racist attorney Kyle Bristow to wage war against revenge porn – more on him in a bit. On Twitter, Van Dyke calls himself a “proud western chauvinist” who “refuse[s] to apologize for creating the modern world.”
But 17 years ago Van Dyke was just a sniveling Michigan State University student who complained incessantly about being labeled a “racist” and a “Nazi” for holding conservative viewpoints. In a 2000 talk called “Conservative Speech on Campus,” Van Dyke was one of three aggrieved, white conservatives claiming that their free speech had been threatened by the PC police.
Van Dyke complained that, at MSU, he “learned something that I have never learned before in my life,” namely that he is a “racist, fascist, Nazi, homophobic bigot” and an “absolutely awful person.” With mock concern in his voice, Van Dyke related that he had been told that he promotes “abortion clinic bombings” and “Matthew Shepard killings.”
Those critics, he insisted, were the “same people that feel that innocent unborn children should be slaughtered in abortion clinics, while twice-convicted cop killers should be freed on the street” — an apparent reference to Mumia Abu-Jamal.
After taking potshots at hate crime laws and death penalty opponents, Van Dyke remarked that this is “the kind of crap that students in college campuses across America are having shoved down their throats by the truckload.” And he accused proponents of diversity and multiculturalism of opposing “the most important kind of diversity,” diversity of opinion.
He then recounted that his fifth college newspaper column attracted the ire of classmates and faculty due to its anti-gay content. “You see, they had this thing called MSU Pride 2000,” he explained. “I mean it used to be Gay Pride Week, but this thing is now three weeks long. Apparently they’re expanding the celebration of the homosexual deathstyle.”
In response to MSU Pride 2000, Van Dyke wrote an opinion column accusing LGBTQ classmates of hypocrisy for being “intolerant” of his homophobia:
My article was scheduled to be published smack dab in the middle of this homo pride celebration, which I mentioned was in actuality a three week event. I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make a few comments about our friends on the other side of the closet door. My article focused on, basically, what we have heard today. I talk about how the gay pride movement, along with other liberal groups, are teaching what they call tolerance hypocritically. I suggested that maybe, just maybe, referring to Christians as bigots and Nazis is not the best way to make them sympathetic to the cause of gay rights. This is where I crossed the line. This time I hadn’t just offended the college socialists or handgun control incorporated. This time I had offended the holy movement of the homosexual rights agenda.
Van Dyke was acting in bad faith, of course, as evidenced by his use of the phrases “homosexual deathstyle” and “homo pride.” He was never interested in starting a dialogue, but rather using his position as a columnist to further attack and marginalize an especially vulnerable population.
And this wasn’t Van Dyke’s last expression of seething anti-gay hatred. Nearly a decade ago Todd Heywood of the Michigan Messenger acquired documents related to an arrest of Van Dyke while he was still a student at MSU. Heywood had written about the incident which had been expunged from Van Dyke’s record, prompting Van Dyke to call Heywood an “AIDS-ridden highway rest stop bathroom connoisseur” and a “faggot” in a blog post.
And Van Dyke’s umbrage at being called a Nazi is odd in hindsight given his connections to Kyle Bristow — the aforementioned white supremacist attorney. Bristow was also a student at MSU, whose racist stunts as head of the MSU chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) ended in the club being listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Van Dyke, it would seem, acted as a sort of “legal adviser” to the group.
Additionally, in 2014 both Bristow and Van Dyke collaborated on an amicus curiae brief in favor of Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban. The brief was written on behalf of Matt Heimbach’s Traditionalist Youth Network, LLC, and called same-sex marriage an “affront to the health, safety, morals, and public welfare of the residents of the State of Michigan.”
And it offered the same lazy slippery slope arguments made by many an opponent of marriage equality, claiming it would lead to “pedophiles, polygamists, zoophiles, those in incestuous relationships, and every other sexual deviant” to successfully challenge marriage restrictions. Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette said their brief would be best used to “line a birdcage.”
Moreover, it also appears that Van Dyke might have been a member of the white supremacist Stormfront forum since 2011, operating under the handle WNLaw — “WN” most likely being an abbreviation for “white nationalist.” The evidence for this is circumstantial, but points toward Van Dyke being WNLaw.
For example, WNLaw identifies himself as a lawyer who specializes in debt collection and lived in Michigan before moving to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas. As WNLaw wrote in one post, “I cannot post my true name on here for security (employment) reasons, but I am from Dallas/Ft. Worth, I own my own home and my own business, am 32 years old and single (never married).”
In another post, WNLaw stated that his name is Jason — reluctance to post his “real name” notwithstanding — that he is a “lawyer by trade,” and that he wants to date “a woman who wants to have children and raise them in a traditional white household.” And he promoted a whitehouse.gov petition to “ban Dianne Feinstein” for her stance on gun control. Although the petition has since been deleted, it was originally posted under the initials J.V.
In other threads WNLaw stated his beliefs that it is a “statistical truth” that “whites are intellectually superior to blacks,” and that “hookup culture” exists in order to “eliminate the white race.”
Van Dyke himself has vociferously denied having ever maintained an account on Stormfront, claiming that he was a victim of identity theft. In the 22nd episode of his West Is The Best show, Van Dyke addressed this controversy by alleging he “never even saw the website” until people accused him of posting there. Van Dyke called his accusers “punks,” and claimed they had fallen for a “fake account someone made pretending to be me, probably to get me in trouble ’cause they don’t like my politics.”