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Crying Coward Neo-Nazi Used Transphobic Language Against Chelsea Manning

Warning for racist and transphobic language.

Christopher Cantwell talked a big talk in the VICE News footage before Charlottesville, but in the aftermath he’s sniffling and weepy, playing a full hand of victim cards. Videos of him crying and declaring himself “terrified” went viral, but when I watched it I couldn’t find any satisfaction in mocking Cantwell’s tough guy about-face, because of the vicious way he speaks about Chelsea Manning.

First, for context, here’s the pre-Charlottesville protests Cantwell swaggering around, thrilled to be at the gathering of white supremacists and Nazis, and showing off the arsenal of deadly firepower he brought with him to Virginia. The VICE footage is intercut with Cantwell’s later personal video where he cries like a toddler who has had their lollypop taken away. Like so:

“I carry a pistol. I go to the gym. I’m trying to make myself more capable of violence,” says Cantwell the First in VICE’s Charlottesville: Race and Terror, before breaking out the more than four guns he is wearing on his person. He says awful things about black men who have been murdered recently in America.

Cut to: “We have done everything in our power to keep this peaceful,” he whines, days after Charlottesville. Then he openly confesses to having engaged in violence, “in defense of myself and others.”

I had seen supercuts like the one above that highlight Cantwell’s hypocrisy. But it wasn’t until I watched Cantwell’s video in its entirety today that I heard his hateful rhetoric towards Chelsea Manning. Cantwell refers to a tweet Manning sent out during the Charlottesville events, and uses transphobic language and misgendering in discussing her.

(It’s worth noting that Chelsea Manning maintains one of the most relentlessly positive twitter feeds I’ve ever seen, responding to hate with happy, colorful emojis and every day reminding her followers that “we got this.”)

“Chelsea Manning, this tranny fanatic,” Cantwell says in the video, while his face twists in anger. “Has a picture of himself —” Now his expression turns grossly derisive, “—herself—talking about curb-stomping Nazis, with a picture of his boot coming down on somebody.”

This is the tweet that has Cantwell slurring in fury and fear:

I hope that going forward, Christopher Cantwell’s life looks like it does in this video—choking on his own self-righteousness and assumed victimhood, wondering if he’s about to be arrested, despised by people of conscience, and utterly alone.

Chelsea Manning should have the last word here.

(image: screengrab)

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.