Anti-Vaccine Conference in Metro Atlanta Promotes Far-right and Antisemitic Poison

Update 6/3/2022: The far-right anti-vaccine conference is now taking place at the DoubleTree in Roswell, Georgia. Please contact the hotel directly as well as the company that manages it, Hospitality Ventures Management Group, with your concerns.

Update 6/2/2022: Unity North Atlanta has canceled the reservation for Next Steps conference.

Introduction

On Friday and Saturday, June 3-4, “Next Steps,” a major anti-vaccine and COVID-19 denial conference, is scheduled to take place at Unity North Atlanta in Marietta, Georgia. QAnon believer Tiendra “Tia” Severino (née Demian) of Tucker, Georgia organized the conference with support from Timothy John Ray’s “UI Media” network. Tim Ray and at least two other speakers are vocal antisemites. One of these speakers has proclaimed that the “God of the Jews is Satan himself.”

Tiendra Severino of Tucker, Georgia

“UI Media” and the “Next Steps” conference are thoroughly intertwined. The conference will feature a “UI Media Awards” ceremony presented by Tia Severino and Tim Ray. UI Media is the exclusive source for footage of the conference and markets “digital replay[s]” of conference workshops on its website. Conference organizer Tia Severino has hosted her show on UI Media for the past two years. The conference’s “VIP Party” on Saturday night will be held in Canton, Georgia, which happens to be where Tim Ray owns a home.

Timothy John Ray of Canton, Georgia

The “Next Steps” conference features big names from anti-vaccine and COVID-19 denial circles, such as Dr. Christiane Northrup, who played a key role in amplifying coronavirus disinformation in the pandemic’s first year, and COVID/snake venom conspiracy theorist Dr. Bryan Ardis. The conference also reflects the deep antisemitism of Tim Ray and his “UI Media” project. A couple scheduled to speak at the conference’s “VIP Dinner” on Friday argues that a Jewish conspiracy has plotted for centuries to rule the world, currently controls the US government, and aims to enslave all non-Jewish people. Tim Ray finds this theory credible enough to promote the couple and other hardcore antisemites on his UI Media site. In a speech to an anti-mask/anti-vaccine rally in Atlanta last year, Tim Ray made thinly coded references to conspiracy theories of Jewish power, blaming “international Sabbatian cabalists” for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promotional image for Next Steps conference

As well as spreading medical falsehoods and stirring up hatred against Jewish people, the Next Steps conference has ties to other far-Right organizers in Georgia and nationally. We document these ties throughout this piece. Since the conference aims to not only undermine public health measures but to normalize far-right and antisemitic organizing, we believe it deserves a response. We include action items at the end of this article.

“VIP dinner” promotional image
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Dustin Barnes and Juliette Fretté: Anti-Vax, Pro-Hitler Couple in Blairsville, Georgia Includes “White Lives Matter” Organizer

Dustin Lee Barnes and Juliette Rose Barnes (née Fretté) purchased a homestead in Blairsville, Georgia this year after moving across the country from Washington state. Dustin Lee Barnes is a neo-Nazi and Army Rangers veteran who leads the “White Lives Matter” (WLM) network in Georgia. He has placed WLM propaganda around Blairsville, forcing park employees to regularly clean up his racist stickers at Meeks Park. His wife, Juliette Rose Barnes (née Fretté), is a former feminist and Playboy model who now operates a far-Right conspiracy theory website. Before their relocation to north Georgia, the couple were active against Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 health measures in Washington last year.

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Caleb Petersen, 2017-2018 President of Auburn University’s “White Student Union”

Caleb Petersen, circa 2017

Caleb Petersen, at the time a Mechanical Engineering graduate student at Auburn University in Alabama, was the president of the unofficial “White Student Union” on campus from 2017-2018. The white nationalist/Alt-Right “Union” spread antisemitic propaganda on Auburn’s campus in the lead-up to racist leader Richard Spencer’s speaking event there. The group continued until 2018, when Petersen was exposed as its leader.

Twitter and Caleb Peterson don’t want you to see this old Tweet. The website mentioned in the text is archived here.

On December 1, 2021, Twitter used its new “private media” policy to lock the account of our organization, until we deleted a 2018 Tweet about Petersen. Petersen seemingly does not want people talking about his leadership of an antisemitic, white power group. Too bad. Twitter working to protect white nationalists from exposure and public scrutiny is reprehensible.

2017 Channel 4 documentary featuring Caleb Petersen talking about Auburn’s “White Student Union”.

Petersen was featured in a 2017 documentary on Richard Spencer and the Alt-Right, produced by Channel 4 in the UK. Although he did not provide a name and his face was blurred, the “White Student Union” leader talking about “the death of our [white] race” is clearly Petersen, who will be recognizable by voice to anyone who has met him.

Petersen may be currently pretending to be respectable and not a white supremacist. He has made no amends for his racist and antisemitic agitation, but seems interested in burying the truth about it.

We are not going to forget. Please reach out if you have further information on Caleb Petersen or any of his political associates.

Jew-Hating Rape Apologist and Georgia State Senator Listed to Speak at “Christian Veterans United” Gathering, September 10-11

Update 9/2/2021: Organizers have officially canceled the far-Right conference.

Update: On the site for his District 14 labor commissioner run, Georgia State Senator Bruce Thompson confirmed he is speaking at the “Christian Veterans United” conference.

Warning: This article contains descriptions of rape.

Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, a notorious far-Right antisemite, misogynist, and rape apologist, is a featured speaker at the upcoming “Faith and Freedom Men’s Conference” organized by Christian Veterans United. The conference is scheduled to take place on September 10th and 11th, in or near metro Atlanta. Two venues, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead and the First Baptist Church in Woodstock, have so far canceled use of their spaces after learning of the event’s true nature. Organizers are vowing to go ahead with the event but have not publicly announced their new venue.

As well as Valizadeh, the Christian Veterans United website lists Jesse Lee Peterson, a rightwing commentator who bemoans women’s suffrage, and Bruce Thompson, Georgia State Senator representing District 14, as event speakers. By appearing alongside Valizadeh, perhaps the world’s most notorious women-hating propagandist, State Senator Thompson would normalize Jew-hatred and violence against women.

At the time of publication, Thompson has not responded to a request to confirm his appearance at the Conference, though his name and image feature on the event’s website. We will update this article if Thompson issues a clarification.

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Documentation: Far-Right Anti-Mask/Anti-Vax “Worldwide Freedom Rally”, Atlanta, July 24, 2021

For a detailed write-up of this event and more documentation, see Dirty South Right Watch’s coverage.

Racist and antisemitic anti-vaxxer Christopher Mark Head, who had promoted the rally and who we exposed before the event, did not show up at Piedmont Park on the day.

“Sailing to Denver”
Eugene Owens (AKA “Kilgore Rand”) of “I Do Not Comply” and rally organizer Karen Denise Cortes Hernandez (AKA “Kay P”). Read more here about Eugene Owens’ far-Right networking and his rock band Faithless Town’s COVID-19 disinformation efforts.
Eric Plasker
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Christopher Mark Head of Locust Grove – Christofascist Antivaxxer, Domestic Abuser, and Networker with Nazis

Summary: Christopher Mark Head of Locust Grove, Georgia, promotes and helps organize for local versions of the July 24 anti-vaxxer “Worldwide Rally for Freedom”. He also disseminates anti-vax propaganda under the “White Rose” name in Metro Atlanta. Online, Head networks with Nazis and helps radicalize anti-vaxxers into extreme forms of antisemitism and racism. Head travels around Metro Atlanta as a Turf Masters employee, leaving far-Right propaganda in the communities he visits. We assess the threat level of Head’s network to marginalized communities and conclude with a call for additional monitoring of the intersection between anti-vaccination, antisemitism, and white supremacy.

Introduction

When far-Right movements lack a strong figurehead and common target, they infight. The electoral defeat of Trump and the slow-motion implosion of the QAnon conspiracy theory have brought a period of infighting, but also of recomposition. New figures step into the disarray, attempting to bring order and to “unite the right”. One of these figures is Christopher Mark Head from Locust Grove, Georgia. Through his work with the “White Rose North GA” anti-mask/anti-vaccination group, Head builds alliances with everyone from explicit neo-Nazis to more mainstream anti-vaxxers.

Head’s political agenda goes far beyond anti-vaccination campaigns and COVID-19 conspiracies. His aim is to politically impose his version of Christian Fundamentalism, and to purge society of alleged “anti-Christ” influence—he is, in other words, a Christofascist. Although Chris Head occasionally criticizes Nazism, he also considers neo-Nazis as allies against his greater enemies.

This year, Head has been increasingly involved in on-the-ground activism and placing propaganda stickers across Metro Atlanta. In recent weeks, Head has also been planning and promoting anti-mask/anti-vaccination rallies in our state. These rallies are scheduled for Saturday, July 24. Head is one of the most active participants in the “Worldwide Georgia” channel on Telegram for the anti-vaxxer rallies. Through his efforts for the July 24 mobilization, Head hopes to meet allies and draw them closer to his far-Right politics. With the publication of this article, “Sir Christopher”/Chris Head will at least no longer have the cover of anonymity.

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“Stop the Steal” Atlanta Rallies Mobilize White Nationalists & Far-Right Fringes; Anti-Racists Protest

Originally published on ItsGoingDown.org.

Starting Wednesday 11/18/2020, the #StopTheSteal coalition of Trumpist, far-Right, and white nationalist groups began to rally at the Georgia Capitol in a last-ditch effort to stave off certification of the election results in which Trump narrowly lost Georgia. Because of heavy promotion and the presence of InfoWars, the preeminent far-Right conspiratorial outlet led by Alex Jones, the events attracted right-wingers throughout Georgia and beyond. The #StopTheSteal movement in Georgia culminated in a large event on Saturday in which there were so many right-wingers that several city blocks were shut down and cordoned off by police.

Antisemitic flyers strewn around Capitol.
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Nephew of Tennessee Candidate for US Senate is “Patriot Front” Racist Militant in Georgia

Update, November 2020: Bill Hagerty won the Tennessee election for US Senate.

Summary: Twenty-year-old Michael Patrick Hagerty, II is a member of two racist organizations, Patriot Front and Revolt Through Tradition. This year, he placed stickers for those organizations throughout Atlanta. Hagerty even wears clothes designating himself as a “National Socialist” – in other words, a neo-Nazi. His uncle, Bill Hagerty, is a Trump loyalist campaigning as the Republican candidate in Tennessee’s US Senate race, which he will likely win. Bill Hagerty vilifies Black Lives Matter and anti-fascists. Meanwhile, his nephew works with white supremacists to build a climate of intimidation against people of color, Jewish people, Muslims, leftists and LGBTQ communities.

Introduction

Michael Patrick Hagerty, II is a twenty-year-old white nationalist who belongs to two different fascist organizations, Patriot Front (PF) and Revolt Through Tradition (RTT). Over the last year, he has covered Atlanta with stickers for these organizations, trying to give the impression that they have a strong presence in our city. Hagerty has also traveled to meet with other PF and RTT members and posed in photos as they trained together for fighting. Hagerty even wears a t-shirt identifying himself as a “National Socialist”: in other words, a neo-Nazi. One of Hagerty’s associates in Patriot Front is “John GA” (alias), who targeted synagogues in Columbus, Georgia, last year with another PF member, Chris Brooks. 

William F. Hagerty campaign video

Hagerty’s uncle, William F. Hagerty, is currently campaigning in Tennessee as the Republican candidate in that state’s election for the US Senate, which he will likely win. As a candidate, Bill Hagerty has repeatedly attacked Black Lives Matter and anti-fascists. He characterized Black Lives Matter as aiming to “overthrow the government and usher in Marxism” and echoed Donald Trump’s characterization of anti-fascists as “domestic terrorists”, stating that they “must be stopped”. Through his aggressive public stance against anti-racist movements, Bill Hagerty shelters and emboldens white nationalists like his nephew while they prepare for violence.

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Patriot Front in Georgia

The Torch Network of militant antifascists has leaked over a year of internal communications from Patriot Front, a major white supremacist organization operating nationally. The data leak, which exposes the organization’s inner workings and potential identifying information about individual members, will be a blow to the racist group. Atlanta Antifascists are a member group within Torch and are proud to promote the data leak, which can be found here.

Patriot Front propaganda distributed in Candler Park area of Atlanta, 2018

Patriot Front formed in the direct aftermath of 2017’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a splinter from and rebranding of the fascist Vanguard America. From December 2017 through May 2018, a Patriot Front state chapter led at the time by Aaron Christopher Krueger repeatedly targeted metro Atlanta with Patriot Front propaganda. When we exposed Krueger based on an earlier info leak, the Patriot Front campaign came to a sudden halt. Also in 2018, we published about Christopher Gibson, a Ku Klux Klan supporter in Dublin, Georgia who had bragged about placing PF stickers around his community.

We still seek information on “John GA” who targeted Columbus, GA synagogues

The following year, Patriot Front surfaced in Columbus, Georgia, eventually targeting synagogues in that community. Some stickers were also posted in the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville. We determined that Christopher Skylar Brooks – also a member of the Proud Boys far-Right group – helped place the propaganda in Lawrenceville and traveled to Columbus to help target synagogues with member “John GA” (alias). The new Patriot Front leaks cover this time period. Brooks has now moved to Shanghai, China. We still seek information on “John GA”.

In 2020, Patriot Front has been recruiting in Georgia, with metro Atlanta and other locations hit with the organization’s propaganda. The current pandemic, which leads to more time spent online, may have assisted recruitment. In general, however, Patriot Front’s presence in Georgia is weaker than in other regions and their new recruits do not stick around for long: they are either scared away from racist activism or move on to other projects. We welcome any more information about members we have not yet identified. When we identify white supremacists, the information may follow them even to China, as Christopher Skylar Brooks found out.

REVEALED: White Nationalist who Targeted Synagogues in Columbus, Georgia

On July 29 of last year, two members of Patriot Front – a fascist and white nationalist organization – placed propaganda at synagogues in Columbus, Georgia in an apparent attempt at intimidation. We can now identify one of the two people responsible, who we had written about earlier this year but failed to connect to activity in Columbus. As discussed in our previous article, Christopher Skylar Brooks helped place Patriot Front (PF) materials in the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville in May 2019. We connected Brooks to the PF materials in Lawrenceville via an online brag in combination with Brooks’ internet handle, location, dress, and other clues. In our article about Brooks, we surmised that he did not last long in Patriot Front. However, he stayed long enough in the organization to target Columbus, Georgia synagogues with another member, a month and a half after the May propaganda run in Lawrenceville.

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