A Vice News reporter who filmed white nationalists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, for HBO's “Vice News Tonight” revealed the marchers barely mentioned the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue, which they claimed was the real reason they were protesting. Instead, they were chanting about Jews.
Reporter Elle Reeve recently appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” to explain what she witnessed, reaffirming the widespread belief that the violent “Unite the Right” rally was not just about the historical monuments of oppression and slavery.
“This was an unannounced event, but a very well-organized one,” Reeve told CBS’ John Dickerson during the interview. “When we arrived, there were vans dropping off white nationalists at the field. On the field, there were organizers doing crowd control, security, handing out tiki torches. They picked tiki torches as to be menacing, sometimes they call it a torch-lit vigil, because it’s supposed to be an offensive spin on a candlelight vigil.”
She then mentioned how the Confederate statue seemed to be of little importance to the torch-bearing neo-Nazis attending the march.
“Once they started marching, they didn't talk about Robert E. Lee being a brilliant military tactician, they chanted about Jews,” she continued. “They wanted to be menacing, it's not an accident.”
Reeve also explained how these white supremacists are trying to rebrand themselves.
“These guys didn't live together, hang out together, they just swarmed together online,” she added. “They also are focusing on what they call aesthetics. They want to look middle-class, successful, good-looking. They don’t want to look like the old, as they called it, ‘white trash’ racists of the old times.”
The Charlottesville protests turned deadly after a 20-year-old white nationalist James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters who had gathered to raise their voice against racism and bigotry. A 32-year-old paralegal named Heather Heyer died in the attack.
“I think it's important to let these white nationalists talk and explain their arguments, so that we know what they are, so that we can counter them,” the reporter concluded. “It's just critical, I think, to expose what they believe, because they are drawing in very young adherents and we have to be able to fight that.”
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Joshua Roberts