(This article was updated on April 12, 2019. Details appear below.)
Researchers allege that a young Religious Right activist has been identified in the leaked Slack chat logs used by white nationalist group Identity Evropa.
Last week, journalists at Unicorn Riot released batches of logs from chatrooms hosted by the white nationalist group Identity Evropa and an affiliated racist podcast host Nicholas Fuentes. The next day, Identity Evropa was dissolved. Since the chatrooms leaked, anti-fascism researchers have been reviewing the information for clues as to the identities of the people who participated in what had previously been a secretive white nationalist group operating in the United States.
Yesterday, researchers at a site called “Panic in the Discord” published an article identifying an account in Identity Evropa’s leaked communications as belonging to Bentley Hatchett, a young man from Texas who turned up in Identity Evropa’s chat leaks using his real name, and noted that he claims elsewhere to be an activist in the Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) network. Hatchett’s byline appears on the TFP Student Action website.
TFP is a right-wing Catholic group that can often be spotted at Religious Right events donning ornate caps and crimson capes. It is a vehemently anti-LGBTQ group that has encouraged Catholic colleges to disband organizations that “favor the homosexual agenda” and argued that debates about marriage equality are really about socialism.
Hannah Gais, a freelance writer and graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, told Right Wing Watch that although groups like TFP and Identity Evropa may not formally affiliate with one another, that they do share some of the same concerns and objectives—particularly concerning birthrates and immigration.
“While the emphasis on the role of the religious life may be different at times, they’re nevertheless tapping into the same political motivations,” Gais said. “The biggest overlap, and I think the point where the most cooperation is possible, is due to the fact that both the explicitly religious, far-right groups and the more white nationalist and alt-right ones see Christianity as crucial to the continuation of Western (i.e., white) civilization. While their emphasis on personal practice and emphasis on the importance of a particular tradition may differ, they still see Christianity as crucial to Western identity.”
(Update: 4/12/19): Right Wing Watch was contacted by an attorney on behalf of Bentley Hatchett, who said that the account identified by “Panic in the Discord” researchers cited in this article did not belong to Hatchett.
“He denies having ever knowingly contacted Identity Europa/American Identity Movement or any of its membership,” an attorney for Hatchett wrote. “He denies being a white nationalist and supporting white nationalist causes.”
Additionally, legal representation for the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) wrote to Right Wing Watch that its organization does not support “nationalism and racism.”