Hatewatch

Anti-Immigrant Activist Marcus Epstein Pleads Guilty to Racial Assault

Marcus Epstein has repeatedly denied that he’s a racist. Never mind that he’s a frequent contributor of racist essays to the white nationalist hate website VDARE.com, or that Epstein attends racist conferences, or that he’s the head of a discussion group whose events regularly feature prominent academic racists like Jared Taylor, the editor of the overtly white supremacist journal American Renaissance.

No, Epstein says, he’s no racist, just a patriotic American concerned with traditional values, illegal immigration and rapid demographic change. Some prominent conservatives have bought Epstein’s line, employing him at the highest levels of their organizations regardless of his widely reported extremist activities. In fact, Epstein is a bit of a star in the anti-immigration wing of the conservative movement.

But a July 2007 assault on a black woman in Washington, D.C., has called into question Epstein's claim that he is not racist.

Epstein works for both MSNBC columnist Pat Buchanan, who has a long history of anti-immigrant extremism and white nationalism, and his sister Angela “Bay” Buchanan, who once called for a revolution to end immigration. Epstein is executive director of Pat Buchanan’s group, The American Cause. In addition, he serves as executive director of the immigrant-bashing Team America PAC, which was founded by Bay Buchanan and former Congressman Tom Tancredo, for whom Epstein wrote speeches during his recent presidential bid.

Epstein is a key member of  Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), a  group dedicated to launching a right-wing youth movement at university campuses nationwide. YWC was incorporated in 2006, but made a splashy public debut this past February as a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), held annually in Washington, D.C. and billed as “the largest annual gathering of conservative students, activists and policymakers.”

But now Epstein has some explaining to do concerning his dropping the “N” bomb and throwing a wayward karate chop.

It seems that during the early evening hours of July 7, 2007, Epstein was walking near the intersection of Jefferson and M Street Northwest, in Washington, D.C., in a mild to severe state of intoxication. A friend of his later told the Secret Service that Epstein had been drinking. Apparently, Epstein was making offensive comments about non-whites, and decided to express himself more dramatically by calling an African-American woman passing by a “nigger” and then attempted to karate chop her in the head. He was briefly detained by the woman’s husband, but escaped, only to be taken into custody minutes later by a Secret Service officer who witnessed the altercation.

All of the above details are taken from District of Columbia’s Superior Court records, which were obtained by the anti-racist group, One People’s Project. They show that Epstein, 25, pleaded guilty to simple assault charges stemming from the incident and must appear on July 8 for sentencing. He faces a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine. He’s under a restraining order to stay away from the couple involved, has agreed to seek mental health treatment, complete an alcohol treatment program, write a letter of apology to the victim and donate $1000 to the United Negro College Fund.

At this point, Epstein’s future within the white nationalist and nativist movements seems decidedly uncertain. Epstein did not reply to repeated E-mails from Hatewatch seeking comment.

Epstein’s conservative benefactors did not outright denounce him. When asked about Epstein’s behavior by The Denver Post, Bay Buchanan called the incident "an out-of-character moment" for Epstein and noted that he was struggling at the time with personal problems and was kept on only after he agreed to treatment. She added that Epstein would be voluntarily leaving Team America PAC later this summer.

Tancredo downplayed it, too, saying, "I'm assuming that the only thing that makes (the incident) even newsworthy is the fact that it comes in the context of the [Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia] Sotomayor thing.”