The organizer of the violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was until recently a Barack Obama supporter and was also a member of the leftist radical Occupy Wall Street Movement, according to a report from a hard-left activist group.
The details from his recent past have many in the blogosphere and on social media asking: Is the Charlottesville rally organizer really a left-wing plant?
Jason Kessler organized the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally in which white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and other groups battled in the street with “Antifa” and counter-protesters.
The torch-lit rally was held in response to the Charlottesville City Council’s plan to remove a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. James Fields, 20, who attended the pro-monument rally, killed a woman named Heather Hayer and injured 19 others when he rammed his car into a gathering of counter-protesters, who then responded by smashing in the car’s windows with bats. Authorities are investigating the act as a potential terrorist attack, though it is not immediately clear if the attack was premeditated.
A day after the deadly violence, Kessler attempted to hold a press conference. But an angry crowd shouted him down with chants of “murderer,” “shame” and “thug.” Kessler blamed police officers for “refusing to do their job.” The mob chased him until he was forced to seek protection from police.
So exactly who is Jason Kessler?
Kessler, the 34-year-old president of Unity and Security for America, is a blogger and reporter who has written about race-related issues and has described a cultural “second American Civil War.” He has tweeted: “White Americans are in a situation like the Native Americans were in in the 19th century. We are being dispossessed of our territory.”
But before Kessler organized “Unite the Right” rally, it appears he was a fan of President Obama, President Clinton, gun control, Occupy Wall Street, Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and other leftist causes.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an extreme leftist group that’s hostile to conservatives, reported that Kessler appears to have a history of leftist activism and only expressed a “rightward shift” in November 2016 – around the time of President Trump’s election. SPLC wrote:
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.
Kessler himself has placed his “red-pilling” around December of 2013 when a PR executive was publicly excoriated for a tasteless Twitter joke about AIDS in Africa.
Regarding the incident, Kessler stated “… so it was just a little race joke, nothing that big of a deal, she didn’t have that many followers, she probably didn’t think anybody was gonna see it.”
Regardless of Kessler’s past politics, the rightward shift in his views was first put on display in November, 2016 when his tirade against [Charlottesville Vice Mayor] Wes Bellamy began.
The blog Nation One News posted 2012 and 2013 tweets purportedly from Kessler revealing his support for leftist causes and political figures.
According to one alleged tweet to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, on March 19, 2013, Kessler wrote: “@SenatorReid I think you’re a guy who gets things done and I respect that but you need to support the assault weapons ban bc its now or never.”
Another tweet, on Dec. 14, 2012, stated: “These gun nuts have bullied the American people for too long and enabled too many killers. #GunControlNow.”
On Sept. 6, 2012, Kessler appeared to lavish praise on President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, who had offered a spirited defense of Obama at the Democratic National Convention that evening.
“Obama and Clinton just demolished the Republican arguments on consecutive nights with two of the greatest speeches of this generation,” Kessler tweeted.
And, according to another tweet posted by Nation One News, Kessler appears to have praised Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran in an April 2, 2015, tweet: “@BarackObama’s Nobel-worthy ploy for peace comes to fruition & @JohnKerry cements his legacy as a historic Secretary of State. #IranTalks.”
Kessler also purportedly compared Republicans at a 2012 CNN debate to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
A Jan. 26, 2012 tweet posted by the blog stated: “Republicans in #cnndebate are grotesquely mesmerizing as an interview w/ a serial killer. @ least Dahmer couldnt wage war or starve poor ppl.”
Other bloggers pointed to several CNN reports sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement with bylines by “CNN Assignment Editor Jason Kessler.” However, two CNN representatives told WND the former assignment editor is not the same Jason Kessler who organized the Charlottesville rally.
Kessler denies that he is a “secret liberal,” claiming he was “red-pilled” – meaning he came to see reality – about three years ago, in 2014.
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In response to a 2016 question about whether he voted for President Obama in 2012, Kessler replied: “I was a liberal. What can I tell you? I got redpilled by the media instigating the Baltimore riots.”
WND’s tweets to Kessler inquiring about whom he supported during the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections were unreturned at the time of this report.
In a video posted to Twitter on Aug. 14, Kessler addressed the SPLC report:
The SPLC started a rumor, like a hit piece, for right-wing people about how I am a secret liberal blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And this is the kind of thing that is red meat for like the alt-right mafia … Basically, I grew up in Charlottesville. Anybody who has seen the way Charlottesville was over this weekend understands that it is an incredibly left-wing commie town. So I was a product of Charlottesville. I was red-pilled about three years ago, and that’s the situation.
What red-pilled me? OK, I was red-pilled by identity issues, by the fact that the mainstream media was parroting such demonstrably false narratives about black people being shot in the streets by racist copes even though I knew that these cops were, in many case, not even white cops. Sometimes they were black, Latino, Asian cops. The black men were violently resisting the cops, but the mainstream media was capitalizing on that narrative to try to push their multiculturalism agenda, give these double standards to black people so that they can commit crimes, whereas white people would not be able to get away with those same crimes without prosecution.
So there was also the gender issue. I knew that if I was [sic] listening to mainstream media, they would go on and harp and harp and harp about like women being discriminated against in college when I knew that women were over-represented in college at this point in time. I also would hear them talk about health-care funding and so on and so forth that, from my work around the universities, I knew that the majority of the health-care funding was for women. So I started to look outside of what sources were available in the mainstream. So I started to look into social media and so forth. So, like a lot of other people, I just changed my mind.
People come from libertarianism, liberalism, whatever is the position they’re in, I think it’s a mark of somebody who is an open-minded and a free-thinker, a true intellectual person that they’re able to take in information and process it and 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. I think that a lot of information is constricted so that most people are not able to make up their minds for themselves.
Kessler also blasted the media for reporting that his Charlottesville rally was a “neo-Nazi rally.”
“That’s not what it was,” he claimed. “Basically, besides preserving people’s heritage, it was about just white people being able to stand up for themselves.”