Christopher Cantwell

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Christopher Cantwell
BornChristopher Charles Cantwell Edit this on Wikidata
November 12, 1980 Edit this on Wikidata (age 38)
OccupationWriter, podcaster, activist edit this on wikidata
WorksRadical Agenda Edit this on Wikidata
Websitehttps://christophercantwell.com/ Edit this on Wikidata

Christopher Charles Cantwell (born November 12, 1980), also known as The Crying Nazi,[1][2][3] is an American white supremacist, neo-Nazi, anti-semitic conspiracy theorist, libertarian pundit, shock jock, and political activist.[11]

Part of the broader alt-right movement, Cantwell gained attention during and immediately after his participation in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.[17] Cantwell was featured prominently in a Vice News Tonight documentary about the rally and its participants, and is shown threatening to kill protesters, wielding rifles and a handgun, and joining fellow white supremacists in marching with tiki torches, chanting "Jews will not replace us!"[7][18][19]

Cantwell also received considerable public attention for a video he uploaded shortly after the rally in which he chokes back tears and weeps while sharing that he had learned there was a warrant for his arrest. The video went viral, with some noting the discrepancy between the emotional video and the tough persona Cantwell had projected in the Vice documentary.[18] He has since been widely referred to and ridiculed as "The Crying Nazi".[23]

In July 2018, Cantwell pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery for pepper spraying two people at the rally.[20] On April 10, 2019, he announced his intention to suspend his political activism in order to deal with undisclosed personal issues. When contacted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, he reportedly stated that he was suspending his political activism because "Jews" had taken an "emotional toll" on him.[24]

Early life[edit]

Cantwell grew up in Stony Brook, New York. His father was an air traffic controller and his mother a homemaker.[25][26] He attended Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York.[27]

In 2000, Cantwell pleaded guilty in Suffolk County, New York to driving while intoxicated (DWI), criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of stolen property. He later told Hatewatch, "I was involved in so much bullshit when I was a teenager, honestly, that like what I got caught for was the least of the shit I did."[25][28] He received a second DWI charge between 2000 and 2009, and when he announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives he was facing a possible felony conviction and four years in jail for receiving two DWIs in ten years in New York.[25]

In 2012, Cantwell moved to Keene, New Hampshire.[25][29]

Unite the Right rally[edit]

Cantwell participated in the Unite the Right rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11–12, 2017. He was featured prominently in "Charlottesville: Race and Terror", an episode of Vice News Tonight about the rally and the groups who were present.[7][19] He is first pictured marching through the University of Virginia campus among a group of white supremacists carrying tiki torches and chanting "Jews will not replace us."[30] He later is shown bragging about carrying guns, working out, and "trying to make [himself] more capable of violence," later saying "We're not nonviolent. We'll fucking kill these people if we have to."[4][31][32][33][34][35]

Criminal convictions[edit]

Following the Unite the Right rally, Cantwell was indicted in Albemarle County on three felony assaults stemming from the August 11 torchlit march: two counts of illegal use of tear gas and one count of malicious bodily injury with a caustic substance.[36][37]

On August 16, 2017 Cantwell published a video of himself choking back tears and weeping while speaking about the warrant for his arrest.[26][33][38] The video went viral and earned him the nickname of "The Crying Nazi."[23] Cantwell turned himself in to police on August 24 and was transported to Charlottesville, where he was initially ordered to be held without bond.[3][36] He was indicted on the tear gas charges in December, and paid $25,000 bail with funds donated by supporters on the white supremacist and neo-Nazi crowdfunding websites Hatreon and GoyFundMe.[39] In March 2018, Cantwell was charged with public intoxication in Loudoun County, Virginia.[40] He ultimately pleaded guilty to this misdemeanor and paid $116 in fees and court costs.[41][42] Separately, prosecutors accused Cantwell of attempting to intimidate witnesses to the August assaults via his social media accounts, and the court imposed more stringent terms on Cantwell's bond.[43]

In November 2017, at the preliminary hearing, the unlawful bodily injury charge was dismissed,[37] with the court ruling that "so many people had pepper spray that night that some attacks could not be definitively attributed to Cantwell."[44] In July 2018, Cantwell entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery for pepper spraying two people on August 11, 2017. He was sentenced to two concurrent jail sentences of one year with all but seven months suspended, and he was released from jail.[20] As part of the sentence, Cantwell was required to leave Virginia within eight hours of the sentencing and was banned from returning to the state for five years.[45] Cantwell also pleaded guilty to violating of the terms of his pre-trial release by making social media posts about his victims, and was fined $250.[20]

Broadcasting and writing[edit]

Cantwell writes essays on his personal blog about topics including white supremacy, alt-right politics, libertarianism, and the men's rights movement. He has written for and republished essays about the men's rights movement to A Voice for Men, a men's rights and antifeminist website.[46] In 2013 and 2014, he wrote and republished his anti-police essays as a volunteer for Cop Block, a police accountability organization.[25]

Cantwell co-hosted the anarcho-capitalist radio show Free Talk Live but was suspended in 2015 after tweeting a racial slur against an African American person who criticized him.[25][47] He later was removed from the position permanently.[25] Meanwhile, in December 2013, Cantwell began what he called Some Garbage Podcast, disseminated through YouTube and elsewhere, and in April 2015 renamed it Radical Agenda, subtitled "a show about common sense extremism".[25][48]

Cantwell was a member of Free Keene, a voluntaryist protest group associated with the Free State Project. He and some other members objected to some actions of the government of Keene, New Hampshire which they considered to be examples of government over-involvement, such as issuing parking tickets. They filmed themselves harassing parking enforcement officers and paying parking meters ahead of the officers, and uploaded many of their clips to YouTube. In 2014, Cantwell was one of three members of this "Free Keene Squad" who were featured in a mocking segment on The Colbert Report which documented their activities, lampooning them as "brave patriots [who] are fighting back… against government overreach" by harassing meter maids.[25][49]

On April 9, 2019, Cantwell published a blog post announcing that he had been "neglecting to deal with some serious personal problems for a very long time", and that he needed to "stop, avoid recording devices, and pull [himself] together."[50][51] Cantwell told the Southern Poverty Law Center that he had decided to step away from broadcasting because "'Jews' had taken an 'emotional toll' on him."[50]

Social media suspensions[edit]

On August 16, 2017, Facebook said it had shut down Cantwell's Facebook and Instagram profiles due to statements he made in connection with the Unite the Right rally.[52][53][54][55] The following day it was reported that Cantwell had been banned from online dating service OKCupid after a woman reported receiving a message from him after seeing him in the Vice News Tonight segment.[56][57][58][59] In a blog post published on August 17, 2017, Cantwell wrote, "I have been shut out of nearly every financial and communications system I once had available. PayPal, Venmo, Dwolla, and Stripe all disabled my accounts. I was shut out not only of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and MailChimp, but now even my online dating profiles at OKCupid, Match.com, and Tinder have all been disabled."[60] On March 18, 2019, the far-right social network Gab tweeted a statement that they had indefinitely banned an unnamed "controversial user" for making two "inflammatory political posts".[61] Cantwell posted on his blog that he believes he was the one who was banned, after he discovered his profile had been blanked and he was unable to log in.[62][63]

A December 2017 episode of the Radical Agenda podcast featured a conversation between Cantwell and Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, a white supremacist, internet troll, and the webmaster of The Daily Stormer. In the episode, Auernheimer called for the mass murder of Jewish children. Shortly after, GoDaddy announced that they would no longer host the Radical Agenda website after finding it in violation of their policies against encouraging and promoting violence.[64][65]

Ideology and politics[edit]

Cantwell has described himself as a member of the alt-right, a fascist, and a libertarian.[26][28][66][67] The Anti-Defamation League includes Cantwell in its list of alt-right figures,[68] and the Southern Poverty Law Center has profiled Cantwell, describing him as "an anti-Semitic, Alt-Right shock jock and an unapologetic fascist, who spews white nationalist propaganda with a libertarian spin".[25]

By Cantwell's own account, he was originally "radicalized" to libertarianism in 2009 after listening to a presentation by former Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik.[67] In 2009 he announced he would be running as a Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York's 1st District, but he did not collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.[27] He has been repeatedly kicked out of libertarian organizations for his violent and racist views.[25]

Cantwell has held strong anti-police views, including advocating for violence against police officers. In a June 2012 Facebook post about police hypothetically attempting to pull over a driver, he said, "It is my honest opinion that this driver would be morally justified in shooting that police officer at the moment the [police car's] lights go on." He was later removed from the Free State Project and banned from their events for this and other statements the group found to violate the libertarian non-aggression principle. Cantwell has posted photographs of himself dressed as a police officer who had been shot in the forehead for a 2014 Halloween party, and later that year he applauded the man who killed two police officers in New York City.

Over time, Cantwell has focused less on anti-police and anti-government activism, saying "I have become convinced that our problems are a lot more racial than anything....the police are not my biggest problem right now."[25] In March 2018, white supremacist and internet troll Andrew Auernheimer, known online as weev, leaked a screenshot of an online conversation with Cantwell. In reply to a message from Auernheimer condemning other people for talking to police, Cantwell is shown saying "I talked to cops too, gonna talk to the feds soon most likely". Auernheimer replied to Cantwell to say "that's fucking shitty scumbag behavior," and in the post accompanying the screenshot criticizes Cantwell for being "an admitted government informant" and describes it as incompatible with Cantwell's calls for revolt. Soon after the leak, Cantwell published a blog post confirming that he was working with the government and claiming that he was doing so in an effort to get retribution at Antifa.[69] This confirmation that he was working with law enforcement was met with anger from some members of the far-right.[70]

Although Cantwell endorsed Donald Trump for president in January 2016,[71] he has said that he hoped for a leader who was "a lot more racist than Donald Trump" and who "does not give his daughter to a Jew" (referring to Ivanka Trump's marriage to Jared Kushner).[72]

References[edit]

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