The Charlottesville resident who organized last weekend's alt-right rally appears to have insulted victim Heather Heyer in crude language. A tweet (no longer accessible) from the account of Jason Kessler Friday said this: "Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist. Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time." It linked to a story in the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer that used similar language about the 32-year-old Heyer. (That story resulted in the loss of internet privileges for the website.) The tweet from Kessler—assuming his account wasn't hacked—has quickly drawn condemnation from well-known figures on the alt-right, reports the Los Angeles Times. Richard Spencer, for example, declared: "I will no longer associate w/ Jason Kessler; no one should. Heyer's death was deeply saddening. 'Payback' is a morally reprehensible idea."
Another prominent figure in the movement, Tim Gionet, aka Baked Alaska, called the Kessler tweet "terribly wrong and vile." Kessler's hometown newspaper, meanwhile, the Daily Progress, interviews people who know, or knew, the 33-year-old and say he held liberal beliefs as recently as a few years ago. Perhaps the most eye-popping interview comes with a former girlfriend, who describes herself as a progressive Democrat and says that Kessler knew about her Jewish heritage and wasn't bothered by it. She says she dated him for several months in 2013 and says he dumped her because she wasn't "liberal enough." Kessler, for his part, has said that he leaned left until being "red-pilled" about three years ago, a reference to the Matrix. That was when he began to identify with the white nationalist movement, he says.