Unite the Right Organizer Jason Kessler Was Obama Supporter, Occupy Wall Street-Truth! & Misleading!
Summary of eRumor:
Jason Kessler, a right-wing blogger and organizer of the “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville, was once a supporter of President Obama and Occupy Wall Street.
Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler admits that he’s “changed his mind” politically over the years — but Kessler’s white nationalist views appeared to be genuine by August 2017.
Questions about Jason Kessler’s earlier liberal leanings and the “purity” of his white nationalist views have been raised on various white supremacist websites and discussion forums. These rumors have also been used to argue that Kessler is a “secret liberal” who organized the Unite the Right Rally as a false flag attack to sabotage white nationalists and undermine support for President Trump.
Many of the questions about Jason Kessler’s past stem from a bio on Kessler posted at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) website. SPLC lists Kessler as an extremist white nationalist blogger and founder of “Unity and Security for America.” The group holds cultural Marxist beliefs that “a group of Jewish leaders escaped Nazi Germany and have since sought to ‘erode Western values’ through cultural influence.” SPLC also summarizes Kessler’s evolution into white nationalism:
Rumors abound on white nationalist forums that Kessler’s ideological pedigree before 2016 was less than pure and seem to point to involvement in the Occupy movement and past support for President Obama.
At one recent speech in favor of Charlottesville’s status as a sanctuary city, Kessler live-streamed himself as an attendee questioned him and apologized for an undisclosed spat during Kessler’s apparent involvement with Occupy. Kessler appeared visibly perturbed by the woman’s presence and reminders of their past association.
The SPLC bio states that Kessler claims his descent into white nationalism began in 2013. Then, when Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy announced plans to remove a Robert E. Lee statue from the city’s downtown area in December 2016, the “rightward shift in (Kessler’s) views” were put on public display.
Kessler doesn’t deny that his views have changed over the years. After the Charlottesville protests erupted in violence, Kessler posted a video in which he explained his changing views:
The SPLC started a rumor or a hit piece for right-wing people about how I’m a secret liberal, blah, blah, blah. This is the kind of thing that is red meat for the alt-lite mafia … Basically I grew up in Charlottesville. Anybody who’s seen how Charlottesville is over the week understands that it is an incredibly left-wing, commie town. So I was a product of Charlottesville …
Kessler said his transformation began when he grew angry about media coverage of police shootings involving black men and coverage of issues surrounding women’s healthcare and access to college:
I started to look outside of what sources were available in the mainstream, so I started looking into social media and so forth. Like a lot of people, I just changed my mind. People come from libertarianism, liberalism, whatever it is … it’s a mark of somebody who is an open-minded and free thinker, an intellectual person, that they’re able to take in information and process it an change their mind. People who are rigid and are not able to process new information and change their mind about things are really not very good thinkers or useful people.
The website Nation One News posted screen shots of what appear to be tweets from Kessler’s account in 2012 and 2013. We couldn’t independently verify the authenticity of these tweets. But in one of the screen grabs, Kessler appears to voice support for gun control:
Also, Kessler also appears to tweet in support of President Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2012 in a second screen grab:
In the end, Jason Kessler admits that his views have changed over the years, but we haven’t seen anything to indicate that his white nationalist views that were on display at the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally weren’t authentic. That’s why we’re calling this both true and misleading.