Ever since white supremacist Chris Cantwell took part in last August’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, his life has taken a turn for the worse.
First Cantwell posted a widely circulated video of himself crying after learning police were looking for him in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville. He surrendered to police in late August, and was indicted on felony charges of using tear gas in December — fellow white nationalists crowdfunded his bail however.
Although he is currently awaiting trial, Cantwell is still finding time to write and host white nationalist radio shows on his blog, Radical Agenda. Over the last week, however, Cantwell’s popularity on the far-right has taken another nosedive — thanks to his new claim that he is an FBI informant.
In a recent conversation with the notorious far-right hacker Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, Cantwell said that he “talked to cops too, gonna talk to the feds soon most likely” and that “the feds want to bust Antifa, and I’m keen to help them.” Weev described Cantwell’s actions as “fucking shitty scumbag behavior” and then promptly leaked screenshots of the conversation.
Cantwell then doubled down in a blog post Sunday, titled “I Am A Federal Informant,” in which he claims that cooperating with the FBI is the only way to get back at antifa since the authorities in Charlottesville “had given license to masked thugs and terrorists to wage war on the streets.”
Cantwell’s selective memory omits the fact that the man who killed counter-protester Heather Heyer in Charlottesville appeared to be there as part of the Unite the Right rally. The alleged murderer, James Alex Fields Jr., brandished a shield and uniform of far-right group Vanguard America, though Vanguard America denies that he was a member. Toward the end of his interview with VICE’s Elle Reeve last August, Cantwell also made sure to show off his arsenal of weapons, showing how ready he was to “wage war on the streets.”
But Cantwell’s logic tumbled even further down the rabbit hole in a blog post on Monday. “We are not criminals. If the FBI searched every electronic device I have ever owned and pumped me full of top secret truth drugs… I literally couldn’t give them a single fucking criminal,” Cantwell explained. “There is absolutely no chance I could snitch on our guys EVEN IF I WANTED TO.”
In essence, Cantwell is justifying his cooperation with the FBI by trying to argue that all the instances of far-right violence seen at the Charlottesville rally weren’t a big deal, and that the real target of the FBI is antifa. Naturally, all of this didn’t go down particularly well among his fellow far-righters. The blog WeHuntedTheMammoth gathered a collection of responses, including ones calling Cantwell “human garbage” and “a self-admitted police informant.”
Cantwell’s claim that he’s working for the FBI is only one in a string of recent embarrassments for the far-right. Earlier in March, white nationalist Matthew Heimbach, leader of the Traditionalist Workers Party, was arrested and charged with battery after a fight broke out when it was revealed that he was having an affair with his mother-in-law. Richard Spencer’s influence has also drastically shrunk, and he recently cancelled the remainder of his college tour.
Correction: This piece initially identified James Alex Fields Jr. as a member of Vanguard America. Though he was photographed in their uniform at Charlottesville, the group denies he is an official member.