The internet's strange insurgent far right movement spent the majority of President Donald Trump's campaign spreading its message online, in places like Reddit forums and 4chan message boards. But since Inauguration Day, the so-called "alt-right" has begun to rally in public, and it's immediately backfiring for those exposed as supporters.
Nicholas Dean, the principal of a predominantly black charter school in New Orleans called Crescent Leadership Academy, was fired after news leaked of his involvement in far-right activities and events. Dean attended multiple alt-right rallies and appeared in a podcast bemoaning the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans, using a pseudonym to hide his identity.
Dean was also caught on tape on May 7 at the so-called Battle of New Orleans, a planned fight between alt-right activists and antifascists over the removal of Confederate monuments. The fight never actually occurred, but Dean nevertheless showed up in armor, goggles, an American flag to be used as a weapon and rings with neo-Nazi insignia like the Iron Cross.
In the video, he talked briefly about being interviewed by journalists who Dean said seemed "soulless" for not knowing Civil War trivia, echoing white nationalist Richard Spencer's remarks that journalists, to him, were "soulless golem."
Dean went by the name "Nick Andrews" as an alt-righter to obfuscate his identity. As Andrews, Dean appeared on a podcast alongside infamous alt-right brawler Kyle Chapman, also known as "Based Stick Man," where Dean referred to the group trying to remove Confederate monuments in New Orleans as a "black supremacy movement."
Administrators at the charter school where Dean was principal first got wind from a social media post surfaced by the Advocate showed him at a separate gathering to defend the Confederate monuments in New Orleans. Dean, who was in charge of protecting and educating an overwhelmingly black student population, complained on the podcast that claiming that Robert E. Lee was a racist is revisionist history.
"There's a civil war going on in this city, a heavy black on black war," Dean said on the podcast. "But that's not the conversation, right? The conversation is about symbols of white supremacy."
At first, Dean was suspended. As of Thursday, he's been fired.
"While the circumstances surrounding this decision are regrettable and damaging, I appreciate the board making a swift decision so that school can move forward and so that our community can continue to heal," school Superintendent Kunjan Narechania told New Orleans' Times-Picayune.
The group that manages the charter school, Rite of Passage, wouldn't tell the Times-Picayune whether or not Dean will be allowed to work at its many other projects for troubled youth, which run in 16 states.