Right-wing figures baselessly tie Black Lives Matter to Chicago torture video

Conservatives are using the Chicago kidnapping to argue that the media doesn’t care about violence against white people.

In this Wednesday Sept. 9, 2015, file photo, radio host Glenn Beck speaks during a Tea Party rally against the Iran deal on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington. CREDIT: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
In this Wednesday Sept. 9, 2015, file photo, radio host Glenn Beck speaks during a Tea Party rally against the Iran deal on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington. CREDIT: AP/Jacquelyn Martin

A mix of conservatives and white supremacist leaders are attempting to tie the kidnapping and torture of a white man to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The man’s kidnappers created a Facebook Live video of his torture on Tuesday, during which they talk about President-elect Donald Trump and said “Fuck white people!” according to an NBC News report. The kidnappers cut his hair until his scalp bled and sprinkled cigarette ashes on the man.

Four suspects, two men and two women, were brought into custody. Authorities said it is too soon to establish whether or not they would be charged with kidnapping or a hate crime.

The police did not say anything about the crime being affiliated with Black Lives Matter, but that hasn’t stopped conservatives and white supremacists from connecting the crime to the movement. Mark Kirk, the head of Turning Point USA, a group that supports conservative campus organizing; Paul Joseph Watson, the editor of InfoWars; Glenn Beck; and Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist group, have all baselessly linked the kidnapping to Black Lives Matter. The hashtag #BLMkidnapping is now trending on twitter.

Mike Cernovich, a conservative social media personality, who was responsible for popularizing the hashtag #HillarysHealth to question whether she was fit to be president, said it’s only fair that Black Lives Matter be held responsible for the kidnapping.

Glenn Beck, who some progressives praised last September for writing about “empathy” for the Black Lives Matter movement in The New York Times, blamed Black Lives Matter supporters for the violence.

Paul Joseph Watson, the editor of InfoWars, asked why police haven’t called it a hate crime yet. Trump has praised InfoWars founder Alex Jones, who said 9/11 was government-orchestrated. Charlie Kirk, whose organization encourages students to challenge the idea of “safe spaces,” also joined in on the hashtag, and said the act was domestic terrorism.

And Richard Spencer, the president of the white supremacist National Policy Institute is at the forefront of a movement to mainstream groups that support white separatism and believe in the idea of “white genocide.” He suggested on Twitter that Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson should be put on a “terrorism watch list … for his anti-white hate.” In a follow-up tweet, he said that the kidnapping would get less coverage than white supremacist Dylan Roof’s 2015 massacre of nine black South Carolina churchgoers because the former was a “dog bites a man” story.

UPDATE: On Thursday, Cook County prosecutors announced that four suspects, Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, Tanishia Covington, and Brittany Covington, have all been charged with a hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, felony aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated battery. Brittany Covington, Cooper, and Hill were charged with residential burglary as well. Hill has also been charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Chicago police said they did not see any connection to the Black Lives Matter movement.