After a weekend of violent clashes with police and counter protesters left three people dead and another 34 injured, “Unite the Right” rally organizer Jason Kessler was shouted down by an angry group of protesters.
Kessler, a 34-year-old white nationalist responsible for organizing the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, held a press conference Sunday and was berated by those in the crowd.
Screams of “murderer” and “shame” drowned out Kessler’s words at the brief press conference, and he was forced to run out of the area with authorities.
“Her name was Heather, Jason,” a man chasing Kessler said in reference to the woman, Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car ran her down while she was at a counter protest one day earlier. “Her blood is on your hands, her blood is on your hood.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kessler Blamed the Violence on Charlottesville Police
On August 12, Heyer was killed and another 19 people were injured when a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. sped into a large group of people counter protesting the white nationalist rally.
Hours after the incident occurred, Kessler chimed in and denounced the act, adding that the suspect “did the wrong thing” and that he was “saddened” that so many people were hurt.
Kessler told NBC 29 in Charlottesville that the blame for the widespread violence is due to the government and police “failing to maintain law and order.”
“The blame for today’s violence is primarily the result of the Charlottesville government officials and the law enforcement officers which failed to maintain law and order by protecting the First Amendment rights of the participants of the ‘Unite the Right’ rally,” he wrote in a statement. “We networked with law enforcement officials and safety arrangements were made months ago, but despite this, the Charlottesville Police Department not only failed to act per the plan but exacerbated the violence: they did not separate the demonstrators and counter-demonstrators, they were poorly underequipped for the situation, they stood idly by when violent counter-protesters attacked the participants of the rally and then they forced our demonstrators out of Lee Park and into a melee with Antifa.”
Read Kessler’s full statement below:
2. Kessler is the President of an Organization Dedicated to ‘Defending Western Civilization’
Kessler is a native of Charlottesville and serves as the president of Unity and Security for America, a grassroots organization that claims it’s dedicated to “defending Western civilization.”
The organization’s website is full of media calling for people to “protect the West.” In its description, the organization says it “takes an America First approach to defending Western Civilization including its history, culture, principles and peoples.”
“We believe that rampant immigration is bursting our civilization at its seams,” the description reads. “Unnecessary foreign interventions and attacks on Western history and heritage are detrimental to the survival of the tradition which brought us reason, logic, medicine, human rights and took us into outer space.”
The group lists “critical areas” that it focuses on. Read the key emphasis points below:
1. Lobbying for immigration laws restricting both illegal and legal immigration. We believe in a tiered system to immigration which requires:
Tier 1: most immigrants come from Western nations
Tier 2: a smaller amount come from countries formally allied to the United States
Tier 3: little to no immigration from neutral or enemy countries; only exceptions are for exceptional individuals. Merit-based exceptions will be considered.
2. Protecting the Western culture and heritage that made America great
– Reason & Logic
– High Art
– Free Speech
– Right to Assemble
– Fighting back against those who seek to tear down history, rewrite history and fill the public space with falsehoods
3. Taking an America first approach to foreign policy: no unnecessary wars in the Middle East, no unnecessary toppling of foreign leaders, and trade policies which are more favorable to American interests.
Kessler founded the organization earlier this year.
3. Kessler Is a Blogger & Journalist Has Written About Race-Motivated Topics
Kessler runs a blog on his website, JasonKessler.net where he writes his opinion of topical issues taking place in America.
In the “About Me” section of his blog, Kessler describes himself as a “journalist, activist and author” that’s generally known for “investigative reporting” on his website. He got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 2009.
Some of the posts on his blog talk about Antifa and issues such as removing Confederate statues from cities around the nation.
In May, the city of New Orleans was continuing its plan to remove four Confederate monuments, and construction workers had worked to take them down and cart them away. Kessler wrote about increased violence in the city that has come with removing the monuments. He was critical of groups such as Antifa vandalizing some of the monuments, noting some people referred to supporters of the monuments as “Nazi scum.”
4. Kessler Has Made Attempts to Unseat Charlottesville’s Only Black City Councilman
Kessler started a movement to try and remove Wes Bellamy, a black city councilman in Charlottesville who’s also the vice mayor of the city, from office. He did so by starting a petition on StandUnited.org, requesting Bellamy step down because of “recently revealed racist and pro-rape comments.” A month earlier, he published an expose on Bellamy’s comments.
“We will not accept an anti-white racist who looks down on “little white men”, who agrees “it aint rape if she moans,” who “hates blacks who talk white” and calls women “lying c*nts,” Kessler wrote in the petition’s description. “He is an unfit representative for our city and the values we uphold. He must step down or be removed immediately.”
In a post to his blog one day earlier, Kessler also accused Bellamy of stealing donation money from organizations in Charlottesville.
“He has taken money collected for candles for candle light vigils and disappeared with the money and without giving any candles. He has shown up at activists’ homes (without warning) who don’t care to work with him demanding that they do and discrediting his white cohorts on city council as racists to persuade them to work with him,” Kessler said in the post.
On one occasion, Kessler confronted Bellamy at a town hall meeting.
5. Kessler Has Organized Many White Nationalist Rallies
It’s become commonplace for Kessler to appear at white nationalist rallies around the nation. In May, he was responsible for organizing the first torch-lit rally in Charlottesville in response to a proposal to remove a Robert E. Lee statue from a local park.
Kessler was arrested during the rally for failure to obey an officer’s commands and plead guilty for misdemeanor assault just a few weeks before that.
In the weeks leading up to the August “Unite the Right” rally, Kessler appeared in front of government officials to promote it, as well as distancing himself from a Ku Klux Klan rally that took place in June in front of Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Kessler was questioned about his involvement in the KK rally, saying that he “didn’t want (the KKK) there.”