His call for “non-stop Nazism everywhere” was just a “joke” about Jews published in a publication specializing in “ironic Nazism”. If he justified his writings denigrating the Jews by satire, Gabriel Sohier Chaput ended up admitting Tuesday to have fully understood the scope.
“I was aware that some Jews might interpret it as promoting the persecution of Jews. But it would be a bad interpretation, ”said Gabriel Sohier Chaput in a tight cross-examination. The Montrealer is accused of willfully fomenting hatred towards Jews in an article published in 2017 on the Daily Stormer, an American far-right site.
“How can you find Nazism funny? “asked him the judge Manlio Del Negro. “He’s a character. Like Homer Simpson in The simpsons. […] He is a character where extremism is exaggerated to the point of the absurd, ”explained Gabriel Sohier Chaput.
Under the pseudonym Zeiger, the Quebecer became in 2016 an important figure in the Daily Stormer, an influential publication of the American far right which defended tooth and nail President Donald Trump. He thus wrote up to 1,000 articles and was paid $14.88 per article, a figure that directly refers to Nazism. Gabriel Sohier Chaput also participated in the rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017.
But if he mentions Nazism and anti-Semitism in the article, it is only as a “joke” to “shock people”, he swears. “The Holocaust and anti-Semitism are the ultimate evil. It is the highest that supports political correctness. It’s like the sacred cow. If we want to bring down political correctness, we have to touch the Jews, anti-Semitism, otherwise we won’t succeed. That’s why we constantly talk about it. That’s the strategy, ”he summed up.
“The idea that someone would take it seriously: ‘Ah yes, the Jews, we have to massacre them’, that’s not what a rational person would do. Either they understand the joke and they just make them laugh or they don’t understand the joke and it’s terrible,” testified the 35-year-old man.
Although he admits having written part of the contentious article, Gabriel Sohier Chaput affirms that the editor of the website – the white supremacist Andrew Anglin – added several paragraphs, as well as the image showing an SS commander with a carnivorous smile in opening a gas valve. A “funny” image that is “widespread” on the internet, sohier Chaput simply declared.
Describing himself as a “nationalist”, Gabriel Sohier Chaput maintains that editor Andrew Anglin added anti-Semitic slurs to the article, one of which he describes as “a bit in bad taste”. In this passage, the author writes that the “ancestral tradition” of insulting Jews in the street should “certainly” be back.
To prove that he did not write this passage, the accused explained that he would never have used the expression “Christ-Killers” to speak of the Jews, as he is an atheist, while Andrew Anglin is Christian.
“My style is more flowery, more colorful, with more sci-fi and fantasy references, while his style [à Andrew Anglin] was rawer. I make a lot of references to fantasy, to fairy tales, ”testified Gabriel Sohier Chaput. One phrase in his text, for example, is inspired by The Lord of the Rings, he explained.
The defendant also mentioned “poetry” to justify the title of the article containing a term offensive to the Chinese. ” [Les deux mots] start with the same letters. In poetry, it’s a literary effect that makes it punchy, ”he explained.
Without ever denouncing the remarks he attributes to his publisher, Gabriel Sohier Chaput endeavored to trivialize these anti-Semitic comments, in addition to ridiculing the testimony of an Auschwitz survivor.
Ridicule the far left
Gabriel Sohier Chaput acknowledges having written the first paragraph of the article in English. “2017 will be the year of action. We need to be sure that no SJW [Social Justice Warrior] where Jews can stay safe [safely untriggered]. Nazism, everywhere, until our streets are flooded with the tears of our enemies”.
However, here, the expression “untriggered” is difficult to translate. According to the translator of the trial, it can be understood as “not inflamed”. Except that this term does not reflect its recent use in the United States. According to the accused, this is an “extreme exaggeration to laugh at people who are too sensitive”.
Then, if he evokes “non-stop Nazism everywhere”, it is to ridicule people on the far left who “see Nazis everywhere”. The “tears of our enemies” then refer to the tearful responses of their virtual adversaries, explains the accused.
Gabriel Sohier Chaput claims that The Daily Stormer is a satirical website. “Can we say that it is anti-Semitic? I do not know. It’s a parody,” he said in cross-examination. Note that the site then displayed Adolf Hitler in its banner and devoted a section to the “Jewish problem”.
Although the Daily Stormer is recognized in the United States as a far-right site, the Crown has not proven it, however, noted Judge Del Negro. “Your evidence is silent”, he retorted to the Crown prosecutor Mand Patrick Lafreniere.
The accused is defended by Mr.and Hélène Poussard and M.and Vicky Powell. Oral arguments are scheduled for Friday.