After some initial hand-wringing, conservatives have mostly lined up behind the group of students from the all-male and mostly white Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky. In case you had no television or Internet access for the past week, the students were accused of racism for their apparent heckling of a Native American elder named Nathan Phillips at the anti-choice “March for Life” in Washington, D.C.
Video clips initially showed the students jeering and mimicking Phillips as he banged on a drum and singing the “Raymond Yellow Thunder Song” — which honors the slain Ogala elder. Some of the boys could clearly be seen performing the “tomahawk chop” — a racist gesture popularized by sporting events. Conservative activists, particularly at the fake news site The Gateway Pundit, worked tirelessly to reframe the confrontation and turn the boys into martyrs.
Additional video footage showed that the boys had been heckled by a cadre of Black Hebrew Israelites — a racist, homophobic, and misogynistic religious cult. The students broke out into chants to drown out the Israelites’ insults. Shortly thereafter Phillips stepped between the students and the Israelites while singing and playing his drum. And, to be clear, whatever the reason Phillips did what he did and whatever the Israelites said to the students does not justify the taunts the students directed at Philips.
But far-right pundits used this additional footage to ludicrously proclaim the students had done no wrong whatsoever. And they weren’t the only ones defending the students. White supremacists happily leapt into the Covington Catholic imbroglio, denouncing critics of the students as “cucks” and directing racial slurs and jokes at Phillips in particular and Native Americans in general.
Jared Taylor of the “race realist” website American Renaissance lamented the injustice of one of the students, Nick Sandmann, being labelled racist for standing and smirking while Phillips played his drum. “You know, Leftists love to talk about shopping while black, walking while black, et cetera,” Taylor said. “Well we can call this the crime of smiling while white.” And he encouraged President Trump to invite the students to the White House since they had been “savaged in the most disgusting way.”
Vincent James, the anti-Semitic founder of the alt-right/fake news outlet Red Elephants, ranted about journalists who covered the incident. “So yeah, CNN, this is the reason why you are the true enemy of the people,” he said angrily. “Yes, Huffington Post. Yes, Daily Beast. Yes, Guardian. This is the reason why you are the true enemy of the people.”
James added that it was “strange” for people to criticize “white aggressiveness” because, he claimed, non-whites commit more crime than whites. He also called criticism of the students an “attack on religion” and an “attack on straight, white males.”
James went on a slight tangent, wondering aloud why liberals protested the homophobic views of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy instead of protesting outside mosques for some reason. Apparently he believes there is some sort of equivalency between a corporation and a place of worship, and assumes liberals are just afraid of violent retribution.
Henrik Palmgren, one of the hosts of the virulently racist media outlet Red Ice TV, likewise railed against journalists for their coverage of the students, complaining that they “lie,” “defame,” “misquote,” and “write shit about people they don’t know” all the time. (Note: He’s still mad about some of the coverage his YouTube channel received last year.)
“The question is when will they take responsibility for the hostile and violent environment that they create?” he asked. “When will they say that diversity is not our strength? The West has never been more diverse and consequently it has never been more divided.” I’m guessing no one is going to answer Henrik’s word salad questions any time soon.
Mike Peinovich, host of the anti-Semitic podcast The Daily Shoah, directed racist taunts at Phillips:
He also instructed his followers to call Catholic Covington High School to voice their support for the students:
Co-hosts Jesse Dunstan and Alex McNabb followed suit:
Patrick Casey, leader of the white supremacist group Identity Evropa, told his followers to contact the Diocese of Covington on behalf Sandmann:
White supremacist attorney and former head of the National Policy Institute Evan McLaren tweeted that it’s the “sacred, ancestral right of Native Americans to bang their drums in the faces of whomever they please”:
White nationalist vlogger Paul Ramsay compared Nick Sandmann to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor David Hogg, who later became a target of insane right-wing conspiracies:
InfoWars’ white nationalist-loving host Jake Lloyd joked in a now-deleted tweet that smallpox-infected blankets should have been presented to Phillips:
Ex-Klan leader David Duke’s Twitter banner, which reads “It’s OK To Be White,” now includes a picture of Nick Sandmann and the slogan “Stand Your Ground.”
And some (relatively speaking) mainstream Trump supporters have been caught interacting with some of these same anti-Semites and white supremacists. Robert Barnes, who represented Gateway Pundit contributor Cassandra Fairbanks in a failed defamation suit and is threatening to sue critics of the Covington students, has been steadily retweeting racists and conspiracy theorists:
Fairbanks herself retweeted anti-Semitic and misogynistic pickup artist Roosh Valizadeh. Roosh’s tweet, a response to Barnes’ threatened defamation suit, was a play on the popular alt-right slogan, “The Jew cries out in pain as he strikes you”:
Ashley Rae Goldenberg, currently an investigative reporter with the Capital Research Center, even lent a hand to Patrick Casey in digging up dirt on Nathan Phillips: