Following the deadly weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, which began with scores of white supremacists descending upon the streets chanting slogans of white nationalism to protest the removal of a statue depicting Confederate General Robert E. Lee and ended with the death of a 32-year-old anti-racism protester, people on the internet have begun to identify those who attended the neo-Nazi rally.
The smug faces of “Unite the Right” marchers holding tiki torches and yelling anti-Semitic slurs went viral on social media over the weekend, prompting Twitter users to name and shame the attendees.
A Twitter account named @YesYoureRacist, which has been identifying racists since 2012, took the helm of the crowdsourced movement and began asking internet users for their help exposing those who proudly affiliated themselves with the violent far-right.
#YesYoureRacist soon began to trend on Twitter and people actually began to ID those photographed at the march.
A man named Cole White, who worked at a Top Dog restaurant in Berkeley, California, was among the first white supremacists to be publicly shamed.
Cole White, from California -- allegedly works at Top Dog restaurant in Berkeley pic.twitter.com/gxPvwQtAPw— Yes, You're Racist (@YesYoureRacist) August 12, 2017
White was later fired from his job.
“Effective Saturday 12th August, Cole White no longer works at Top Dog,” the restaurant chain said in a statement. “The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by Top Dog. We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone.”
Using the hashtag #GoodNightAltRight, @YesYoureRacistcontinued to expose a number of Charlottesville marchers.
Any Arkansas Engineering folks recognize this guy? Must be awfully proud of his school to represent it at a Klan rally... pic.twitter.com/S9Cr5g0fC3— Yes, You're Racist (@YesYoureRacist) August 12, 2017
“I’ve been using this account to call out racists on Twitter in real life for nearly five years,” the anonymous owner of @YesYoureRacist told the BuzzFeed News. “So when all of these photos started popping up from the torch rally Friday night and the alt-right march on Saturday, I figured it was only natural that I would continue to call them out.”
Meanwhile, a marcher identified as Peter Cvjetanovic, 20, tried to frantically backtrack after being exposed as one of the white supremacist marchers.
Speaking to KTVN, Cvjetanovic insisted he is not the “angry racist” being portrayed in a viral photo of him carrying a torch at therally and that he traveled from Reno only to protest the removal of the Confederate statue.
“I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture,” he continued, trying to defend his actions. “It is not perfect; there are flaws to it, of course. However, I do believe that the replacement of the statue will be the slow replacement of white heritage within the United States and the people who fought and defended and built their homeland. Robert E. Lee is a great example of that. He wasn’t a perfect man, but I want to honor and respect what he stood for during his time.”
To put it simply, Cvjetanovic and others like him wanted to honor and respect all the worst parts of American history — most importantly the time they enslaved African Americans, denying them of their basic human rights. They want to live in the past, when racial equality was a mere dream.
Charlottesville City Police arrested James Alex Fields Jr., 20, for allegedly plowing his vehicle into a crowd of activists protesting bigotry and killing a woman identified as Heather Heyer. At least 19 people were injured as well.
Thumbnail/Banner: Alejandro Alvarez via Reuters