Even neo-Nazis don’t like each other
One of America’s most prominent hatemongers is contemplating a rebrand due to fears that his constant adulation of Adolf Hitler is making him too similar to the wrong kind of Nazi.
Nick Fuentes, founder of the Groyper movement and host of a streaming show where he has denied the Holocaust and regularly calls for women to be stripped of their rights, said he may “tone down the Hitler thing going forward” in a recent Telegram post.
“It’s funny and edgy and there’s an important point within there, but you see what that kind of message attracts, and the connotation,” he wrote.
Fuentes appeared to be trying to put distance between himself and groups like the Goyim Defense League, which has made a name for itself with high-profile acts such as projecting antisemitic messages onto the exterior of buildings in Florida.
“We have nothing to do with that freak show,” he wrote.
The split between various far-right, Nazi-admiring factions is not new, said Kyle Mantyla, a senior research fellow with People for the American Way, the nonprofit behind Right Wing Watch. While Fuentes may share similar xenophobic views with groups like the Goyim Defense League and Patriot Front that surround themselves with typical neo-Nazi imagery such as swastikas, Fuentes has eschewed such pageantry.
Fuentes is “very concerned with optics, with how things look,” said Mantyla. “He thinks going out there and harassing Jews makes his movement look bad. He’s long dismissed those people as kooks, they’re not helping the movement by doing that stuff.”
Unlike someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who once spoke at an event thrown by Fuentes’ America First Political Action Conference but has since begun a rebrand that has made her among the most influential figures in the Republican Party, Fuentes’ pivot isn’t aimed so much at the mainstream but at making his brand of hate as palatable as possible to wider audience. (Taylor Greene refused to apologize for the speech but has since disavowed Fuentes.) After Right Wing Watch posted a screengrab of Fuentes’ musings to Twitter, he replied on his Telegram channel, “I never said I’m gonna stop saying the n-word or ranting about Jews.”
Much of Fuentes’ recent rhetoric has revolved around a fundamentalist view of Christianity: He has advocated for the banning of pornography, rescinding the rights of women to vote, and pushing people to get married younger and have more children (ironic, given Fuentes’ own position as an involuntary celibate). Mantyla traced this shift to Fuentes’ association with Kanye West, who went on a monthslong media spree late last year where he denied the Holocaust while simultaneously praising Hitler and Jesus. While West, who now goes by the name Ye, filed paperwork to run for president in 2024 and hired Fuentes as his campaign manager, the disgraced rapper has gone largely quiet since his now-infamous Dec. 1 appearance on Alex Jones’ Infowars program.
“It’s a Catch-22. It’s this whole crazy thing of, ‘I want to keep saying how much I love Hitler, but I want people to focus on the love part, not the Hitler part,’” said Mantyla.