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The Hate Report

The Hate Report: 4 takeaways from the big annual hate study

Every year, the Southern Poverty Law Center releases a report on the year in hate and extremism. That report was just released, and four things jumped right out at us.

  1. It counted more hate groups than ever before.

The total number of hate groups in the United States recognized by the center rose to a record 1,020 last year, up about 7 percent from 2017. It was the fourth year in a row to see an increase.

The center also noted that the number of white nationalist groups grew nearly 50 percent, from 100 chapters in 2017 to 148 in 2018.

The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks these groups throughout the year and maintains a database listing them. You also can check out an interactive map of these groups here.

  1. White supremacists are really angry (even more so than usual).

That’s partly because they’re upset about a Census Bureau prediction that the U.S. will cease being a white-majority nation by 2045, but America’s racists also are sad about their perceived lack of support from President Donald Trump.

As the report notes:

“Starting to feel swindled by @realDonaldTrump,” influential antisemitic writer Kevin MacDonald tweeted on Nov. 15. “He will get slaughtered in 2020 unless he does something serious for his base on immigration.”

White nationalist Richard Spencer, who infamously led a crowd of fellow racists at a Washington, D.C., meeting in Nov. 2016 with a toast and raised stiff-armed chant of “Hail Trump,” was more blunt. Spencer took to Twitter in November to proclaim, “The Trump... Read More >

The Hate Report: Changes are coming to how we report on hate

In this week’s roundup: The Hate Report isn’t going to be weekly anymore, so we can focus even more on original reporting.

After nearly two years of delivering The Hate Report to your inbox every Friday, we’ve decided to change things up.

We’ll be moving away from the weekly format of some curation from other sources and some original reporting. Instead, we’re going to spend more time researching our own original stories and send out The Hate Report periodically when those stories are ready.

We launched The Hate Report as America was waking up to a new era of hate. There were increasing hate attacks, and we were just beginning to understand the alt-right. We wanted to get ourselves and our readers up to speed on an urgent story.

Now, two years later, hate certainly isn’t going away. Neither is our investigative reporting on it. But we’ve all begun to understand the contours of the story better. There are scores of reporters on the story. And we think our energy is best spent focusing on new, original investigations.

One of the things we’re most proud of is the formation of the Hate Sleuths, a crack team of newsletter subscribers who volunteer their time to help us research. We’ll still keep that team going and already have them tracking down potential stories.

We’re going to dig into data sets, rake through the internet’s darkest corners and file Freedom of Information Act requests to discover the hidden truths about the hate movement, before they explode out... Read More >

The Hate Report: What white nationalists think about Tucker Carlson

In this week’s roundup: We researched the darkest corners of the internet to gauge support for Fox News pundit, and the perpetrator of the Charlottesville attack goes on trial.

Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has spent the last couple of years transforming from mainstream conservative to America’s leading white nationalist pundit.

He has used his nightly show to question whether racial diversity is truly a positive thing in America. He has promoted, and defended, the phrase “It’s OK to be white,” which has become a slogan for racists across the country. David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, claimed last year the campaign was “sweeping the nation.”

Just last month Carlson suggested that a Georgetown professor was calling for “genocide” of white people. This is a warning that has been circulating in white supremacist circles for decades. And he has used his perch to play down the issue of white nationalism in America: “It’s not a crisis. It’s not even a meaningful category,” he said on his show earlier this year.

One of the stated goals of leading white nationalists has been to mainstream their racist ideals into the modern conservative movement. With that in mind, we were curious to see whether the hardcore white nationalists on the web viewed Carlson as their messenger to the broader public.

We asked our Hate Sleuths, a group of loyal Hate Report readers who volunteer their time to help research, to comb through sites that often host hate speech for mentions of... Read More >

The Hate Report: Weird that this keeps happening, right?

In early July, I started a Twitter experiment: Every time I came across an instance of convergence between the white supremacist movement and the Republican Party, I would tweet the link, always appending it with the phrase, “Weird that this keeps happening, right?”

My collection has stretched to include 61 stories. Because President Donald Trump gets plenty of attention for this already, this list excludes statements and policies coming from him.

I’ve catalogued 33 incidents of sitting GOP officials embracing white supremacists, nine cases of GOP officials spouting rhetoric echoing that of white supremacists, nine incidents of white supremacists running for elected office as Republicans and 10 cases of avowed white supremacists expressing strong support for Republican officials or the party’s agenda.

It began as a bit of a joke a rhetorical tweaking of the nose of the political party that, with Trump’s rise, seemed to be dipping into white nationalist rhetoric with increasing frequency. But as the thread grew, the humor quickly faded – news stories about GOP officials palling around with open white supremacists or engaging in rhetoric that wouldn’t seem out of place on a neo-Nazi web forum appeared on a near-daily basis.

The recent arrest of an alleged mail bomber in Florida and a massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh illustrate how this hateful rhetoric can manifest itself in on-the-ground violence against the antagonists of white supremacist rage.

Corey Stewart, a Republican who lost the Virginia Senate race last week, not only had a staffer participate in... Read More >

The Hate Report: Gab got shut down, but only after 11 people died

In this week’s roundup: Tech companies severed support with alt-right social media site Gab this week, but the site’s hateful content was well-known before the Pittsburgh massacre; how President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories help confuse and radicalize terrorists; and how to help victims of hate.

On Saturday morning, a man walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and opened fire. After about 20 minutes of shooting, he had killed 11 people, mostly elderly worshippers, in the worst anti-Semitic attack in the nation’s history. When SWAT teams arrived, the suspect — who police have identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers — returned fire before surrendering to police.

In the minutes before the attack, Bowers had posted three chilling words on his Gab account:

“I’m going in”

That Bowers chose Gab to announce his intention to attack Jews shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The alt-right social network, which we have been reporting on for almost a year, has managed to thrive by courting racists from across the world who were getting kicked off of Twitter and Facebook. Branding itself as a free speech haven, Gab has for months run a propaganda campaign aimed at attracting people exactly like Bowers.

By Tuesday, Gab had stopped functioning. The site’s hosting provider, Joyent, booted the site, as did payment processors PayPal and Stripe. On Sunday, Gab’s chief technology officer announced he was quitting the company. But the site’s founder, Andrew Torba, vowed to fight on: “GAB IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE,” he wrote... Read More >

The Hate Report: The federal government hasn’t abandoned fighting white supremacist terror

In the early months of President Donald Trump’s administration, there was a lot of controversy surrounding a Department of Homeland Security program called Countering Violent Extremism.

Now, almost two years later, we decided to check on the program to see how things have panned out.

First, some background: Last year, we showed how anti-hate groups had been stiffed out of millions of dollars by the program, which issues about $10 million in grants for grassroots organizations that work to deter people from joining extremist organizations, under the Trump administration.

Trump planned to rename the effort “Countering Islamic Extremism,” a move that mirrored the president and his closest advisers’ fiery rhetoric on Islam.

In response, in February 2017, a dozen Democratic senators expressed dismay at the changing direction of the program. They worried that taking the focus away from white supremacists and other homegrown extremists “would severely damage our credibility with foreign allies and partners as an honest broker in the fight against violent extremism, and prove divisive in communities across our country,” the senators wrote.

So what does the program look like now?

First, the program still is called Countering Violent Extremism. No name change. And the fear that the program would become exclusively obsessed with Islamic extremism doesn’t seem to have panned out.

Three recent Department of Homeland Security reports on the program stressed that many of the organizations that received grants target “all forms of violent extremism.” The reports also singled out two programs in Denver and Dearborn, Michigan, that... Read More >

The Hate Report: 3 takeaways from this week’s Charlottesville alt-right arrests

In this week’s roundup: Apple pulls an anti-Semitic app following our reporting, three takeaways from the Charlottesville terrorism case and more.

First, an update to last week’s Hate Report: After we wrote about the anti-kosher app KosChertified? and its corresponding anti-Semitic Twitter feed, Apple pulled the app from its App Store.

The KosChertified? Twitter account tweeted about being removed from the App Store the day after our story ran.

The app is still available on Google Play. We’ve reached out to Google to ask whether if the company plans to keep hosting the app.

Thanks again to our volunteer Hate Sleuths, who helped us find this story.

The Charlottesville charges

Four white nationalists were arrested this week and charged with traveling from California to Virginia last year with the intent of rioting at the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The men, identified as members or associates of a violent and racist Southern California-based group called the Rise Above Movement, are accused of rioting and attacking protesters in Charlottesville. The Rise Above Movement is a collective of white men who train in martial arts together and travel to attend political demonstrations.

The defendants – Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen and Cole Evan White – face up to 10 years in prison. But the charges brought against them have implications beyond their group or even their ideology.

Here are three additional takeaways from this week’s big news in hate:

  1. The Trump administration brought charges related to terrorism by white supremacists.

When Donald... Read More >

The Hate Report: The alt-right’s newest target is kosher products

The podcast ad starts breathlessly:

What I’m about to introduce you to is a segment of our food culture that has been kept so low profile to the American public that virtually no one is aware of how dominant it is on our refrigerator and cupboard shelves.

The mysterious culprit? Products certified as kosher.

This ad, for an app that helps you locate food that isn’t kosher-certified, provides an interesting view into the ads that help fund alt-right podcasts, and the extent to which conspiracy theories drive so much in the alt-right world.

The app is called KosChertified?, and it’s available on Apple’s App Store and Google Android.

The podcast, which we’re not naming because we don’t want to give it more publicity (if you want to know, just email me), has hosted the ad in at least one episode. It was sandwiched between hateful screeds about immigration in the United States and immigration in Europe.

Peter Jalajas, CEO of the company behind KosChertified?, said in an email that the app merely offers education to consumers. One of the websites promoting the app asks why consumers have been “kept in the dark” about kosher certification, and cautions ominously that “the tax exempt revenue flows to many programs and institutions worth examining for its effect on you and your interests” – mirroring the white nationalist conspiracy theories peddled on alt-right websites and podcasts such as the one on which his app is advertised.

Kosher certifiers check, for example, that meat and dairy products are strictly... Read More >

The Hate Report: Woman fakes Trump-driven hate crime, but plenty of real ones exist

In this week’s roundup: fake Trump-related hate and real Trump-related hate.

The story was a familiar one: 19-year-old Adwoa Lewis told police in Baldwin, New York, earlier this month that she was driving home when she was confronted by a group of teenagers who shouted, “Trump 2016,” and stated that she “didn’t belong here,” according to the Nassau County Police Department.

Lewis also told police that she woke up the next morning to find her car’s tire had been slashed and a note had been left on her car saying, “Go home.”

But last week, Lewis was charged with making a false statement to police. Detectives concluded that Lewis had made up the whole thing. She admitted she wrote the note herself.

While Lewis’ claims appear bogus, there have been scores of documented hate crimes and hate incidents in which people have invoked the name of President Donald Trump in the last couple of years. And several of those have resulted in hate crime charges, some of which led to convictions or guilty pleas.

As we documented in our investigation Trumping Hate earlier this year, we identified more than 150 reports of Trump-themed taunts and attacks stretching across 39 states over the past year and a half. We found these cases using the Documenting Hate database, compiled by ProPublica.

While it was not possible to verify the authenticity of every incident reported to Documenting Hate, we outlined cases of hate crimes in which Trump’s name was invoked that led to hate crime charges.

Those... Read More >

The Hate Report: LGBTQ couple told to ‘move or die’

In this week’s roundup: more hate-fueled attacks on LGBTQ victims, Trump’s biggest mistake and the Hate Sleuths are up and running.

In Albany, New York, 37-year-old Hubert Dabbs is accused of attacking a man earlier this month and stomping repeatedly on his head, almost killing him, according to police. The attack was so vicious that it left behind a bloody footprint.

Dabbs allegedly attacked the man because of the victim’s sexual orientation, police say.

Dabbs is charged with attempted murder as a hate crime. The victim is recovering from his wounds, and he reportedly lost one of his ears in the attack.

This is just the latest in a string of violent attacks on the LGBTQ community this year.

In Missouri last month, 22-year-old Allen Loftis attacked three men in a bar, allegedly because he believed they were gay because they were flamboyantly dressed. Loftis, who punched at least one man and pulled a wig off another man’s head, told a sheriff’s deputy who responded to the fight that he “does not let gay stuff go on,” The Kansas City Star reported.

“Allen stated he was not going to allow gay behavior going on around him and this is why he pulled the wig from (the victim),” court records noted. “Allen’s assaults were unprovoked and motivated because of his belief the victim was homosexual.”

Loftis has been charged with three felony counts of third-degree assault motivated by discrimination, a hate crime.

In Washington, D.C., in April, two gay men were beaten so badly that one was left... Read More >

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