On Saturday hundreds of white nationalists, alt-righters, and neo-Nazis traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia to participate in the “Unite the Right” rally. By Saturday evening three people were dead – one protester, and two police officers – and many more injured.
White supremacist, Neo-Nazis and there sympathizers were ostensibly there to protest Charlottesville’s plan to remove a statueof Robert E. Lee, but as this new documentary from Vice shows, it was more of a means to prove that the “alt-right” is, as reporter Elle Reeve puts it, “more than a meme, a real presence that can organize in a physical space.”
“VICE News Tonight” correspondent Elle Reeve went behind the scenes with white nationalist leaders, including Christopher Cantwell, Robert Ray, David Duke, and Matthew Heimbach — as well as counter-protesters. VICE News Tonight also spoke with residents of Charlottesville, members of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Charlottesville Police.
Although the documentary features moving interviews with Charlottesville locals and heartbreaking footage from the aftermath of the terrorist attack that left protestor Heather Heyer dead, it mostly chronicles Reeve’s time on the ground with the white nationalists as they try, and repeatedly fail, to make themselves look like the heroes.
“The fact that nobody on our side died I’d go ahead and call that points for us,” Christopher Cantwell, a white nationalist speaker for “Unite the Right” told Reeve. “The fact that none of our people killed anybody unjustly, I think is a plus for us. And I think that we showed our rivals that we won’t be cowed.”
“But the car that struck a protester,” Reeve countered, “that’s unprovoked.”
Cantwell disagreed, going on to say that he believed it was “more than justified.”