Federal authorities have arrested “crying Nazi” Christopher Cantwell for a violent and vulgar threat he allegedly made last year in an apparent attempt to extort information about a rival neo-Nazi, new court documents reveal.
According to a federal indictment unsealed on Thursday — first noticed by Seamus Hughes, an extremism researcher at George Washington University — Cantwell is accused of sending a threatening message to an unidentified man over the messaging app Telegram on June 16, 2019.
“So if you don’t want me to come and f*ck your wife in front of your kids, then you should make yourself scarce,” Cantwell allegedly wrote in the message. “Give me Vic, it’s your only out.”
The message, the indictment alleges, was an attempt to extort “personal identifying information” about a “man known by the on-line pseudonym ‘VM.’”
“Vic” and “VM” both likely refer to the pseudonymous podcast host “Vic Mackey,” a vile and yet-to-be-identified neo-Nazi with whom Cantwell has had a long-running feud.
It’s unclear how the man Cantwell allegedly threatened might know Vic Mackey’s real identity.
Cantwell, a radio host who gained infamy for his role in the deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, is charged with two counts of extortionate interstate communications and threatening interstate communications.
According to The Keene Sentinel, federal law enforcement agents were spotted near Cantwell’s home in Keene, New Hampshire, early Thursday morning, although it’s not yet confirmed that’s where the arrest was made.
Cantwell gained national notoriety after being featured in a viral Vice News documentary about the violent August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally. The rally resulted in a neo-Nazi named James Alex Fields Jr. driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Cantwell also participated in a tiki torch-lit march through Charlottesville the night before rally during which he chanted “Jews will not replace us!” and at one point assaulted counterprotesters. He was later charged with multiple felonies over the assaults and took a plea deal that sentenced him to time served. He was also banned from the state of Virginia for five years.
In a video he later posted online, Cantwell cried over the criminal charges he received for his actions in Charlottesville, earning him the nickname “the crying Nazi.”
Over the last two years, Cantwell has continued to spout racist and anti-Semitic propaganda online and on a pair of radio shows he hosts.
He has also repeatedly harassed and threatened leftist and anti-fascist activists.
“Chris has engaged in violent harassment and threats against many people for many years,” Emily Gorcenski, an activist who protested in Charlottesville and who says she has since fled the U.S. due to Cantwell’s threats, told HuffPost. “It’s not shocking he was arrested for it.”
“What’s shocking,” Gorcenski continued, “is that the indictment doesn’t appear to be connected to any of the people involved in his other legal matters who he repeatedly violently threatened.”
Gorcenski is one of two people who have sued Cantwell over his threats and harassment.
Cantwell is also a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit social justice group Integrity First for America for his role in orchestrating violence in Charlottesville.
“Today’s indictment describes only a tiny fraction of Cantwell’s horrifying track record of violence and bigotry,” Integrity First for America Executive Director Amy Spitalnick said in a statement Thursday.
“From orchestrating the Charlottesville violence with the intent of instigating a race war and gassing Jews, to vile threats against our lead counsel ― as well as journalists and others around the country ― this country is safer with Cantwell in custody.”
Cantwell is set to appear in court Thursday afternoon.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misidentified Integrity First for America as Integrity for America.