Audio Leaks Show White Supremacists Plotting ‘Blackmail’ of Girlfriends

·4 min read
Anna Moneymaker/Getty
Anna Moneymaker/Getty

A massive new leak from the white supremacist group Patriot Front reveals how members seek to normalize their extreme message even as they try to avoid outside scrutiny.

The leaks, published by the media nonprofit Unicorn Riot, contain more than 17 hours of conversations from inside Patriot Front as it recruited members and refined its tactics late last year. A white supremacist group with origins in 2017’s deadly Unite The Right rally, Patriot Front has vied for national attention by participating in anti-choice rallies and by staging a series of often-disastrous marches.

The leaked chats and audio recordings give more insight into the group, including plans to target Black and LGBT artwork, and to “blackmail” members’ girlfriends participating in hate sprees.

While openly fascist, Patriot Front also tries to build inroads with the more mainstream conservative movement. Some of those efforts come in the form of graffiti blitzes, the leaked chats show.

In recorded conversations, Patriot Front members discussed targeting Black and LGBT artwork so as to encourage contempt against those groups.

In one such leaked recording, Patriot Front members bemoaned a statue erected in remembrance of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man whose murder by Minneapolis police in 2020 helped spark a national reckoning over race and police violence.

A Patriot Front member called Floyd the n-word, and encouraged vandalism of the statue, arguing that it would inspire more people to act similarly. “You show people that you can do something like this, and you can get away with it, it encourages other people to do something,” he said.

Another member on the call approvingly compared the tactic to parents harassing school board officials over lessons that reference race, a nationwide phenomenon fueled by a larger right-wing panic over so-called “critical race theory” (CRT).

“Yeah it’s like all the parents going to school boards and, like, harassing the school board, you know, officials for the whole CRT shit, right?” he said. “Like, school board officials are actually legitimately afraid right now because they had like, parents like literally, like, harassing them over the anti-white shit being taught in schools.”

The member then launched into an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

The leaked recordings are full of apparent admissions of vandalism. Among them is a reference to graffitiing a mural in Olympia, Washington, of Trayvon Martin, the Black teen gunned down by George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012. (Patriot Front members filmed themselves in the act of spray-painting the mural, HuffPost previously reported).

At one point, the group also discussed posing as anti-fascists while defacing a gay pride mural.

Leaked Chats Show Patriot Front Fascists Sought Allies at March for Life

Patriot Front members repeatedly made headlines for vandalism arrests in 2021. Two Salem, Massachusetts, members were arrested for allegedly defacing a public transit station with the group’s slogans last summer. A Richmond mural dedicated to Black tennis legend Arthur Ashe was vandalized with Patriot Front logos later that year, as was the Hmong Cultural Center Museum in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a mural featuring Black leaders in St. Louis, Missouri.

The vandalism was also intended to keep Patriot Front members’ partners from turning on the group, the leaks suggest. In the recordings, a group leader tells members to bring their girlfriends to graffiti events, so that they would be less likely to report them to authorities in the future.

“She knows the second she says anything or if I get in trouble, she goes down the shitter, too,” one member said of an ex-girlfriend.

“A blackmail situation,” another commented.

“Pretty much.”

Another said he had taken his ex on a graffitiing excursion “and I think that’s part of the reason she won’t dox me, cause like, if she says anything, it’s like well to be fair, you did white supremacist activism, too, at one point.”

Members of the group also discussed the need to occasionally hide the extent of their hate in order to smuggle it into more mainstream conversations. “The direct approach has not worked,” one member said of promoting antisemitism.

Instead, members have publicly taken up more widely accepted conservative opinions, like opposition to abortion. A trove of previously released Patriot Front messages revealed that the group cozied up to anti-choice marches, where they attempted to appear “more understated, friendly.”

In the latest leaked recordings, the group’s leader said he anticipated attending more March For Life events in 2022. (The recordings came before a draft document showed that the Supreme Court was likely to overturn Roe v. Wade.)

“We will be among friends at these events,” he said. “These people at these, these March For Life events have really come to support us over the years.”

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