- YouTube/VICE News
Christopher Cantwell, the white supremacist featured in a widely viewed Vice News documentary on the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month, was also featured in a 2014 episode of “The Colbert Report” as a “difference maker” for his role in a group that frequently harassed parking-meter attendants.
Cantwell turned himself in on Wednesday to police in Virginia, who had sought him on three felony charges related to the rally: two counts of illegal use of tear gas and one count of malicious bodily injury with a “caustic substance,” explosive, or fire.
Cantwell was propelled into infamy by the Vice documentary, in which he offered racist critiques of black people and Jews, confirmed that his movement was violent, and defended the killing of Heather Heyer – the 32-year-old woman who was fatally struck at the rally by a driver identified as a white supremacist – as “justified.”
“I’m carrying a pistol, I go to the gym all the time, I’m trying to make myself more capable of violence,” he told Ella Reeve, a Vice correspondent. He later predicted that “a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here.”
Cantwell’s “Colbert Report” appearance, however, was related to a supposed libertarian notion that parking-meter attendants are symptomatic of government overreach. The show’s popular segment “Difference Makers” often featured people or groups defending what they believed to be righteous causes while Stephen Colbert mocked them with deadpan narration.
The segment showed Cantwell and other members of the Free Keene Squad in Keene, New Hampshire, filming themselves putting coins in parking meters before the attendants could write tickets, and later following and harassing the attendants.
“Yes, this may look like the Free Keene Squad are being total dicks to innocent meter maids – but if that were true, why doesn’t anyone stop them?” Colbert asked in a voiceover before cutting to an interview with Cantwell.
“I find that when I carry a gun, people are very unlikely to hit me,” he said, prompting laughter from Colbert’s studio audience.
Watch the full “Colbert Report” clip: