Quebec media has online Neo-Nazis “running scared”
MONTREAL (June 13, 2018) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) would like to congratulate Quebec journalists for their continued exposure of neo-Nazi activity within the province.
In the weeks following revelations that Montrealer Gabriel Sohier-Chaput was a prominent neo-Nazi broadcaster and recruiter with the pseudonym “Zeiger”, media outlets have kept up the pressure and forced many such supremacists into virtual hiding.
“Sohier-Chaput, the man behind Zeiger’s hateful words,” wrote Montreal Gazette columnist Martin Patriquin, “scurried off to the recesses of the internet when the Montreal Gazette identified him a few weeks ago. He has been far less verbose ever since.”
Patriquin, one of the Quebec-based journalists most experienced in reporting on neo-Nazi activity, also predicted that “there are more [stories] to come.” He also contributed to a recent VICE News report highlighting a neo-Nazi-themed coffee retailer in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Days after the publication of that report, members of a supremacist group forced their way into the Quebec offices of Vice News, seemingly to intimidate journalists by presenting them with “awards” for “garbage journalism.”
This sort of intimidation is shocking and contrary to Canadian values. The courage journalists have shown under such unusual, hostile conditions is commendable.
The flood of media denunciations has unmasked multiple neo-Nazi broadcasters including those associated with the podcast “This Hour Has 88 Minutes”—88 being neo-Nazi shorthand for “Heil Hitler”— forcing them to delete their accounts in an effort to conceal their true identities. By forcing these group members underground and disrupting the distribution of their beliefs, the reporters have made an important contribution.
The Montreal Gazette reported recently to that effect. The mayor, Valérie Plante, has publicly come out to denounce neo-Nazi propaganda in the city. It has also drawn the attention of Quebec’s Public Safety Minister Martin Coiteux, who stressed recently that Quebec will always be an “open and inclusive” society, while denouncing the propagandists as well.
The unmasking Sohier Chaput has forced him underground and the recruiter’s whereabouts are unknown. In a follow up on their earlier reporting, the Gazette said the identification of Sohier Chaput had shaken up supremacist organizations in the province.
Through this, the solidarity shown by Montrealers in the face of hate has been another bright spot. Marches by anti-hate protestors through Montreal neighbourhoods have shown Quebecers are overwhelmingly against the spread of neo-Nazi propaganda. Citizens, alongside journalists, should be commended for this commitment.