To say that white nationalist Jason Kessler is one of the most reviled figures in the country would be an understatement. In the aftermath of last year’s disastrous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where three people were killed, angry residents forced him to flee his own press conference. One protester managed to land a blow on the alt-right activist, for which he was fined $1.
Even among white nationalists Kessler was persona non grata for his mishandling of UTR, which resulted in attendees being doxed and, in some cases, prosecuted. Several prominent white nationalist leaders who were scheduled to speak at the event were sued over an alleged conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Charlottesville residents.
At this year’s UTR2 rally in Washington, D.C., which avoided the chaos and bloodshed of the first rally, protesters vastly outnumbered participants. In fact, white nationalist turn-out was so pitiful that some people have wrongly suggested that the alt-right is dead. Yet that hasn’t stopped Kessler from appearing on the September 13, 2018 episode of The Rebel Yell, a “Southern nationalist” alt-right podcast on The Right Stuff.
And the show’s host, Musonius Rufus, was more than happy to help Kessler repair his damaged reputation. The “reason why UTR2 was a success,” Rufus said, was because it had a “civic nationalist, sort of universal nationalist” message, which the “Left showed up in hordes” to oppose. Never mind the participants with Nazi tattoos handing out white supremacist fliers.
Also, Rufus and Kessler claimed that the violent actions of counterprotesters — in Charlottesville and D.C. — took the heat off of the alt-right for a change. Kessler cited examples of photographers’ cameras being grabbed and protesters “dragging a cop on the ground.” At one point, he added, there were “guys that looked like they were straight out of the projects” who were “chasing a car as it backed up.”
“The person in the car must’ve been terrified,” Kessler said. “People were beatin’ on it with sticks and so on and so forth, and we’re lucky that under that circumstance we didn’t have a repeat of last year.” This was an obvious nod to Neo-Nazi James Fields, Jr. who faces state and federal charges after plowing his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of protesters, injuring 19 and killing one, 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Not long after Heyer’s death, Kessler himself gloated on Twitter: “Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist. Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time.” He later blamed the tweet on his account being hacked. Then he blamed a cocktail of booze, Xanax, and Ambien.
“From a propaganda, or…” Rufus started to say before catching himself. “From the perspective of optics, it was a great success because you got all the normie conservatives to talk about how violent Antifa were, instead of take out all their frustration on us.” He suggested that because Kessler “delivered such bad optics to the Left” journalists would now ignore UTR2 in its entirety.
Kessler then singled out the media for criticism, claiming that they wrongly made it appear as though the first UTR was “an organized terror attack, rather than a free speech rally” — again this was the rally in which participants boasted in Discord servers about how they were preparing for violent confrontations and joked about mowing down protesters with cars.
Kessler, in an effort to sanitize his reputation and absolve himself of any responsibility for violent actions at UTR, claimed he had since started “preaching nonviolence as a tactic” “many months” ago.
Kessler then said that “the majority of the people protesting were white people” — specifically “white liberals who hate their own people” — and alleged that they were not only “saying anti-white stuff” to him, but also “saying anti-Hispanic stuff to the Latino supporters who were just walking around with Trump hats.” As with all things Kessler claims, this should be taken with a few grains of salt.
Musonius Rufus responded by whitewashing 1930s fascism as merely a “response to Communism,” which he called “this totaltarian [sic], hateful ideology that took over a country and was killing all these innocent people.” He added that it was “funny” that Leftists today are willing to call themselves “anti-fascists,” and suggested there was “no discernible difference” between modern anti-fascists and “Commies.”
“They don’t believe in rule of law, they wanna get what they want by any means necessary,” he continued. “And the ironic thing is just that they have these powerful, wealthy people on their side: these journalists and establishment types.”
Rufus concluded by telling Kessler he “did a good job” with UTR2 — which, it should be pointed out, was a low hurdle for him to clear. Whether this is a sign that the white nationalist community is ready to welcome Kessler back with open arms remains to be seen, but with several UTR participants already sitting in jail and others facing costly lawsuits, that seems unlikely.