Sometimes it’s difficult for racists to find a platform for their propaganda. This is especially true as of late due to YouTube’s crackdown on racist and conspiratorial content. But in Charlottesville, the site of last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally, there are some people willing to let them speak.
Case in point, WINA’s The Schilling Show, which recently booked as guests two Neo-Confederate activists. On February 27, 2018, Rob Schilling invited on Christopher Wayne, a 34-year-old member of the Virginia Flaggers. The Flaggers’ raison d’être is protesting the removal of Confederate flags and monuments, often by putting rebel flags in public places to draw attention to their cause.
Wayne took this direct action even further by removing tarps that were draped over Confederate statues last year. According to a local NBC affiliate, on the night of February 22nd police spotted the Richmond native “inside the orange barrier surrounding the statue of Thomas Johnathan ‘Stonewall’ Jackson” in Justice Park.
He was previously barred from both Emancipation and Justice Park for successfully removing tarps from the Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson statues, and faces four misdemeanor charges: three counts of trespass after having been forbidden to do so, and one count of intentionally damaging property resulting in less than $1,000 in damage.
His hearing date on all four charges has been continued until March 26, 2018 at 9:05 a.m.
At the same time, a Charlottesville judge was deliberating on whether or not the statues could stay shrouded. On February 27, as The Daily Progress reported, Charlottesville Circuit Judge Richard E. Moore ruled that the statues were war memorials in accordance with Virginia law, and ordered the tarps be removed. City officials complied the next day.
The Virginia Flaggers’ Facebook page celebrated the ruling by sharing a link to The Republican Standard praising them for having managed to “disavow and disassociate with the alt-right entirely” while calling for the protection of these monuments. The article fails to cite any instance in which the Flaggers “disavow[ed]” the alt-right.
Meanwhile, the Flaggers’ Facebook page is rife with praise for Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest and racist invective aimed at Charlottesville City Council member Wes Bellamy.
The Facebook page’s administrator posted a photo of Bellamy standing before a statue of Andrew Jackson. It was captioned with a quote ostensibly from Bellamy himself: “[A]nd I’m sure the person on this statue would be calling me a name that starts with a N and ends w/ a R.” The administrator commented: “you mean that word rappers use for black people?”
Other responses included “moon crickets,” “Urban primates,” “Coon, jigga boo,” “porch monkeys,” and “Spades.” Someone posted a meme of an African-American man and a racist joke. “What word starts with an ‘N’ ends with an ‘R’ and you never want to call a black person?” it asks. The answer: “Neighbor.”
They also claimed to have paid Wayne’s bond, and continued to solicit donations for his legal defense. People were encouraged to “send your contribution to the Va Flaggers and note: ‘Southern Avenger’ on the payment”:
On The Schilling Show, where guests can call in and complain about “libtards” and gun control, Wayne explained his side of the story to the sympathetic host. Schilling said it was his “understanding” that Wayne was banned from the parks, claiming he was unsure if that would be “constitutionally possible to do.”
Wayne replied that he didn’t think he had been “legally banned from anything,” and joked that the city had no magical powers to stop him from entering. On the night of his latest arrest, Wayne said he and some other people were “walkin’ around” and “saw the cops at the other monument” while they were “hangin’ out.”
When asked by Schilling if he crossed over the “orange line,” Wayne said, “Officially no. Since this is an ongoing case, my official position is that no, I haven’t committed any crimes, I haven’t crossed any legal barriers, I haven’t illegally removed anything that shouldn’t be there. So no, I haven’t committed any crimes.”
Continuing this totally believable story, Wayne said he was told by a police officer to “get on the effing ground” or he would be shot. He said he was then tackled to the ground while an officer drew his gun and pointed it at him. When pressed for details Wayne said:
They swarm, they come in, they act hard, they try to tell you don’t look at ’em. And I just gave ’em the riot act. I’m not takin’ any crap from them. I told them plain-out, “This is not the first time I’ve had a gun in my face, and I don’t care if it’s the last. I don’t care what you do. So go ahead and do it.”
Cool story, bro. But that’s not even the best part. A little later in the conversation Wayne accused the police of stealing his belongings. Namely, $7 out of his wallet. But not just any $7. “Those were lucky bills,” he explained. “Those were bills I had been given by other people over the course of my life that are lucky and I want ’em back.”
Schilling also took a call from a man named “Greg” during this interview. Greg said there’s a “sick cancer of evil” permeating the Charlottesville City Council and the federal government, because officials believe “a statue with rock and marble” is “offensive” but failed to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School from a gunman.
Wayne told Greg he was “right there with you,” that “liberalism is the new modern zombie disorder,” and that lawmakers shouldn’t be “hamstringing honest citizens” with new gun restrictions.
Next, Schilling introduced a familiar face: Corey Stewart, the alt-right-loving, pro-Confederate politician who wants to run against Sen. Tim Kaine this year. Stewart is a bit like a diet version of Wisconsin’s Paul Nehlen — divisive, race-baiting and bombastic, but without the anti-Semitic baggage.
Last year when Stewart ran unsuccessfully for governor of Virginia, he called his Republican primary opponent a “cuckservative” and took a strong stand in favor of Confederate statues. In doing so, he pushed the eventual primary winner — Ed Gillespie — further to the right on issues like immigration.
Schilling complimented Stewart for how he “gave it to what you call the ‘toilet paper Republicans'” — something which must pass for clever on The Schilling Show. Stewart said he coined the term because of the way Republicans folded on issues like Virginia’s Medicaid expansion. Stewart also labeled Virginia delegate Glenn Davis a “leprechaun” and stood up, again, for Confederate monuments.