(JTA) — The white supremacist and far-right provocateur Nick Fuentes was reinstated to Twitter Tuesday and returned to the social media platform with a volley of antisemitic posts and comments, including praise for Hitler.
Fuentes is a Holocaust denier who first gained prominence after participating in the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and was banned from Twitter in July 2021, amid the platform’s crackdown on far-right extremists, particularly in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He burst back onto the public stage in November, when he and Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, had dinner with former President Donald Trump shortly after Ye embarked on an antisemitic spree on social media and in interviews.
Fuentes’ reinstatement comes as Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter last year, restores the accounts of many people who had been banned for advancing far-right extremist ideas on the platform. A coterie of far-right figures, including the Jewish Republican Laura Loomer and Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, had publicly lobbied for Fuentes’ reinstatement after their own accounts were restored.
Fuentes made clear upon his return to Twitter Tuesday that he planned to pick up where he left off, posting a series of comments reflecting the brand of antisemitism that he has continued spreading in spaces that have provided refuge for far-right extremists after Twitter and Facebook cracked down on them. (Ye, too, returned to Twitter with an allusion to his criticism over antisemitism.)
Fuentes posted a gif in which the logo of Ye’s 2024 presidential bid, which he is managing, morphs into a sign that says “DEFCON 3,” a reference to Ye’s vow to go “death con 3 on Jewish people” that prompted his first Twitter ban last year. Fuentes then held a Twitter Spaces live chat that 14,000 people attended at least part of, during which he said he backed Ye’s comments and praised Hitler multiple times. He also reportedly said that regaining his audience on Twitter would allow him to “go to war” with the Jews.
He subsequently posted a tweet with two antisemitic catchphrases alongside emojis. Both of them — “Globalist American Empire” and “Zionist Occupied Government” — are catchphrases among white supremacists who believe that the U.S. government is controlled by Jews.
He then shared a Politico story from Tuesday about how the Republican National Committee will vote this week on whether to condemn Ye, Fuentes and others for promoting antisemitism. A resolution drafted by the committee characterizes Fuentes as “laughingly comparing Jews killed at concentration camps to baking cookies in an oven,” according to Politico’s report.
Fuentes’ tweets do not appear in Twitter searches, but his account is visible to anyone who seeks it out. He has nearly 150,000 followers on the platform. His posts on Tuesday received a mixture of critical and supportive replies.
Watchdog groups including the Anti-Defamation League have sharply criticized Musk for welcoming far-right extremists on Twitter. The CEO has personally responded to comments from some of those extremists questioning why more people are not seeing their posts, and on Sunday, the company’s new director of product management and a trusted Musk ally, Ella Crawford, tweeted, “The future of humanity depends on our ability to ensure that more conversations happen between people who disagree with each other.”