Christopher Cantwell, a.k.a. the “Crying Nazi,” is an American neo-Nazi, “ethno-state” supporter, and alt-right activist. Cantwell originally made a name for himself among the Libertarian political scene in New Hampshire but was ousted from multiple organizations due to his aggressive racism and advocacy for violence against the state. Given his racist vitriol, he has been featured on numerous alt-right podcasts and radio shows.“Christopher Cantwell,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/christopher-cantwell. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in New Hampshire on January 23, 2020, and charged with making extortionate communications and sending interstate threats.“Keene Man Charged With Extortion And Threatening,” U.S. Department of Justice, January 23, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/usao-nh/pr/keene-man-charged-extortion-and-threatening.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Cantwell has called for the overthrow of the U.S. government, the assassination of law enforcement officials, and espouses racist beliefs such as “Blacks are prone to violence and have lower IQs; Jews spread communism, immigrants are outbreeding whites; and a race war is inevitable.”“Christopher Cantwell,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/christopher-cantwell. Many of these viewpoints were reiterated throughout his personal blog, his podcast called “Outlaw Conservative,” and his call-in talk show, “Radical Agenda.”“Christopher Cantwell,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/christopher-cantwell.; “Outlaw Conservative,” https://tunein.com/podcasts/News--Politics-Podcasts/Outlaw-Conservative-p1189348/.; “Christopher Cantwell,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/christopher-cantwell.
Cantwell was first arrested in 2000 in Suffolk County District in New York. He pleaded guilty to fifth degree criminal possession of stolen property, and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon and driving while intoxicated. He was sentenced to six months in jail, of which he only served four.“Christopher Cantwell,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/christopher-cantwell.
Cantwell claims he chose to affiliate with libertarianism following a 2009 presentation given by former Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik.“Why I Consider Myself Alt Right,” Christopher Cantwell, August 17, 2017, https://christophercantwell.com/2017/08/17/consider-alt-right/. Inspired by Badnarik, Cantwell announced he would run as a Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York’s 1st District. However, Cantwell failed to collect enough signatures to earn a spot on the ballot. Cantwell later left New York and settled in Keene, New Hampshire, where he became heavily involved in libertarian events and social circles. Cantwell was eventually thrown out of multiple libertarian groups due to his abrasive nature, and violent rhetoric towards law enforcement. Following his expulsion from multiple libertarian organizations, Cantwell shifted his hatred from cops towards different racial groups and progressive political parties.“Christopher Cantwell,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/christopher-cantwell.
Cantwell gained public attention when he was featured in a Vice News report on August 14, 2017. Throughout the interview, he called for an “ethno-state” and justified the killing of a 32-year-old woman who was protesting against the Unite the Right white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. During the rally, Cantwell allegedly pepper-sprayed multiple protesters.Matt Stevens, “Christopher Cantwell, White Nationalist in Vice Video, Braces for Charges,” August 21, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/us/christopher-cantwell-charlottesville.html.
Cantwell turned himself in to the Lynchburg Police Department following federal warrants for his arrest. Cantwell was charged for his involvement in the Unite the Right rally and was also issued two felony counts of using tear gas and one felony count of causing “malicious bodily injury” with a caustic substance.“NH Man Known for Involvement in Charlottesville Rally Arrested by FBI” NBC New York, January 23, 2020, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/nh-man-known-for-involvement-in-charlottesville-rally-arrested-by-fbi/2265126/.; Amy Held, “White Nationalist Christopher Cantwell Surrenders After Charlottesville Violence,” NPR, August 24, 2017, https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/24/545766281/white-nationalist-christopher-cantwell-surrenders-after-charlottesville-violence. While incarcerated at Albemarle-Charlottesville jail, Cantwell continued to host an Internet radio show for more than two months. Cantwell allegedly called someone who would record their phone conversations and upload the discussions on his personal blog. According to reports, Cantwell would also call into white nationalist Internet radio shows, and would solicit funds for his legal defense, often referring to himself as a “political prisoner.” Cantwell featured guests prominent on the white nationalist scene such as David Duke, Mike Enoch, and Jason Kessler.Justin Wm. Moyer, “The ‘crying Nazi’ is hosting a radio show from the Charlottesville jail,” Washington Post, October 31, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/the-crying-nazi-is-hosting-a-radio-show-from-a-virginia-jail/2017/10/31/7789f4cc-bda5-11e7-a568-e899b546d3c9_story.html.
On July 21, 2018, Cantwell pled guilty to assault and battery in connection with the demonstrations in Charlottesville. He was ordered to leave Virginia for five years and to not make contact with the victims of his assault and battery crimes. Cantwell served 107 days of his 12 month sentence, with the remaining sentence being suspended following the verdict. Following his release, Cantwell returned to New Hampshire, where he continued to promote his podcast and network with members of the alt-right.Mihir Zaveri, “Christopher Cantwell, White Nationalist in Vice Video, Is Barred From Virginia,” New York Times, July 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/21/us/christopher-cantwell-crying-nazi-virginia.html. The core belief of the alt-right movement, which aligns with Cantwell’s own views, is the belief that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces seeking to undermine “white civilization” through political correctness and social justice.“Alt-Right,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/alt-right.
On January 23, 2020, Cantwell was arrested in Keene, New Hampshire. The same day, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Concord, where he was charged with making extortionate communications and sending interstate threats.“Keene Man Charged With Extortion And Threatening,” U.S. Department of Justice, January 23, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/usao-nh/pr/keene-man-charged-extortion-and-threatening. The indictment alleges that on June 16, 2019, Cantwell threatened to injure another person if the victim of the threat did not provide Cantwell with personal information about a third party.“Keene Man Charged With Extortion And Threatening,” U.S. Department of Justice, January 23, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/usao-nh/pr/keene-man-charged-extortion-and-threatening. Specifically, Cantwell threatened a man over Telegram to get personal information on another man using an online pseudonym. Cantwell allegedly threatened to attack the man’s wife if he did not receive the necessary information.“NH Man Known for Involvement in Charlottesville Rally Arrested by FBI,” NBC New York, January 23, 2020, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/nh-man-known-for-involvement-in-charlottesville-rally-arrested-by-fbi/2265126/. Additionally, it was reported that investigators found a cache of 17 guns and numerous drugs at Cantwell’s Keene home.Damien Fisher, “Feds want new charges against ‘Crying Nazi’ Christopher Cantwell,” Manchester Ink Link, May 4, 2020, https://manchesterinklink.com/feds-want-new-charges-against-crying-nazi-christopher-cantwell/. On July 8, 2020, Cantwell was indicted on additional charges of cyberstalking and threatening to injure property or reputation. Cantwell’s next hearing is scheduled for July 24, 2020.“Additional Charges For Jailed White Nationalist Christopher Cantwell,” CBS Boston, July 13, 2020, https://boston.cbslocal.com/2020/07/13/additional-charges-jailed-white-nationalist-christopher-cantwell/.