A National Youth Front member, identifying himself as "John Hess," has admitted to fliering Arizona State University's Tempe campus with images of ASU English Professor Lee Bebout, labeling the teacher "Anti-White."
During a conversation we had via Facebook, Hess said he is the hooded individual seen in a video on NYF's YouTube account, passing out fliers targeting Bebout.
He also copped to being the person who filmed and posted to YouTube his debate with ASU PhD candidate Robert Poe, during Poe's recent teach-in at ASU to discuss Professor Bebout's controversial course on critical race theory, subtitled "The Problem of Whiteness."
Since Fox News reported on the course, Bebout has been the subject of intense criticism from conservatives and those further to the right.
Bebout's address and photos of his mixed-race family have been posted on neo-Nazi websites with derogatory comments and violent threats, and Bebout and his family have received hundreds of menacing e-mails and phone calls.
Both ASU campus and Bebout's neighborhood were fliered, but Hess says he had nothing to do with the fliering of Bebout's neighborhood, and he disavowed threats made by others.
"I only passed out flyers on campus," wrote Hess during our exchange.
Hess claimed he wasn't aware of the fliering of Hess' neighborhood. Asked about the Internet threats and the posting of a photo of Bebout, his wife and his children on white supremacist sites like The Daily Stormer and Stormfront, he eschewed all responsibility.
"Those weren't my pals," Hess said of these postings and comments. "You can't hold someone responsible for what random idiots post on the internet. I am not a supremacist."
"No NYF member has posted anything threatening. Leftists post threats against nationalists in comment sections of articles like yours all the time, but I wouldn't hold the journalist responsible for that."
And yet, in a recent YouTube video, NYF chairman Angelo John Gage orders ASU to "shut this class down," or else.
"And if you don't shut this class down, I can assure you there will be action taken against you," warned Gage. "Sooner than you could possibly think."
Gage did not specify what type of "action" would take place.
In the same video, Gage claims the class is illegal under Arizona's anti-ethnic studies statute, though commenters to his video were quick to point out that the restrictions do not apply to colleges and universities.
As with Hess, Gage insists the NYF is not supremacist.
However, as the Anti-Defamation League has observed, the NYF is the youth wing of the "white supremacist" American Freedom Party, formerly known as American Third Position, a political party that previously has attempted and failed to mainstream a racist, white nationalist agenda.
On Hess' Facebook page, which he made private after I first contacted him, Hess could be seen wearing a black shirt with the symbol of the Greek, neo-fascist Golden Dawn political party. He punctuated one Facebook post with the neo-Nazi shorthand of "88!," which means "Heil Hitler" in white supremacist circles.
His Facebook "likes" included films like American History X and the Nazi propaganda film Hitler Youth Quex, the infamous white power band Skrewdriver, and organizations such as NYF and the French fascist group it's modeled on, Generation Identitaire.
On his page, Hess also expressed opinions of children with autism that jibe with eugenics.
In a January post, he wrote:
Thousands of your tax dollars go to the autistic. Disability checks, free healthcare, expensive and useless schooling until they are in their 20s, free caregivers to babysit, etc.
The parents typically grow to despise their autistic children. It is inhumane that the government forces these creatures to continue existing when they are clearly in mental anguish. They are truly life unworthy of life.
Asked about those comments, he told me that,
"I believe that mothers should terminate their pregnancy if the child will be born with severe mental disabilities. In my view, it is inhumane to bring that child to term."
Did he have anything to do with the posting of anti-Muslim NYF fliers around campus, photos of which he had on his FB page?
"No I think that was another member who posted those," he wrote, later adding, "Those weren't official authorized NYF flyers. Someone took an unpublished rough draft and slapped a Charlie Hebdo graphic on the side."
Asked who shot the video of him fliering ASU with the Bebout "anti-White" cards, Hess said it was another NYF member.
He would not say if he's an ASU student, though he insists "John Hess" is his real name. I have my doubts, considering he shares the surname with Rudolf Hess, Hitler's Deputy Fuhrer. Though I can't rule out coincidence.
Despite his often repulsive political and social views, Hess comes across both in his debate with Poe and in our conversation as intelligent and well-spoken.
He also claims to be non-violent, and says he was not armed the day he and Poe spoke at the teach-in.
"Is it wrong of me to believe in freedom of association and the right of self determination for all groups of people?" he asked me at one point.
I responded by wondering: If there's nothing wrong with his views, why has he been so secretive to date?
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He has yet to reply to that question.
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