Across social media platforms such as Twitter and Gab and on white nationalist websites, there was a mix of outrage, mocking and somewhat subdued, almost stunned thoughts about the incident.
“Sad …” was all Gab user Jack Corbin could muster.
Police in Paoli, Indiana, arrested Heimbach on Tuesday, after his father-in-law and chief spokesman, Matt Parrott, called police to say Heimbach had attacked him and his step-daughter, who is also Heimbach’s wife.
Police reports detailed a sordid story of an affair between Heimbach and Parrott’s wife taking place on the property where TWP is based. The affair caused a split between Heimbach and Parrott, who served as a mentor and provided a high-level of support for his son-in-law. Hours after the arrest, Parrott publicly announced he was leaving the organization.
Heimbach has declined comment to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also has remained silent on social media.
And, the group’s website is down, with Parrott posting on the alt-right social media platform Gab that he destroyed the information to keep membership information private.
“It was a practical security step, and not a political act,” Parrott wrote.
For the high-profile leaders of the racist “alt-right,” the news about the sometimes-divisive figure of Heimbach suddenly finding himself in a harsh spotlight has prompted a bit of reflection. In some way, they’ve opted not to eat their own amidst a sex scandal.
Alt-right front-man Richard Spencer, who was backed by Heimbach and his forces at a disastrous appearance on March 5 at Michigan State, stayed silent about him as of mid-day Wednesday.
Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, has been a long-time critic of Heimbach’s and is not known for curbing his tongue online. But he took a pass on being openly critical on Wednesday.
“And though if this story is true, it certainly may reflect on character and motivation, my disagreements are what they were before this incident and my disagreements would be the same if this incident had never happened,” Anglin wrote. “We should learn whatever lessons we can from this situation, but we should keep the event itself in its proper context as a human tragedy.”
League of the South founder Michael Hill, who has worked closely with Heimbach in the past, expressed regret over what happened to him and the TWP.
“Moreover, The League extends an offer to those former TWP members who are looking for another nationalist home in the wake this sad development. We will gladly welcome you into our ranks as League members,” Hill wrote in a blog post Tuesday night.
But, for rank-and-file followers, the Heimbach incident was not treated so gently, as some memes surfaced mocking Heimbach, while staunch defenders questioned whether the arrest was a set-up and others declared Heimbach’s white nationalist career over.
“Matthew Heimbach is taking this "c------" thing too literaly.” “Sleepless in #Wokanda” posted on Gab on Wednesday.
“I feel sick reading this police report. It's so cliche, so Jerry Springer, you can almost hear it set to duelling banjoes,” a poster called “Cruciare Pepe” wrote on Gab.
“This is why no #TWP. We told you they are goons and now you see. Goons. Trailer park n---- tier Jerry Springer level bullshit,” Fashy_Wotanist posted on Gab.
On Twitter, Jack Dainty took on Heimbach and the alt-right’s “family values” claims.
“I guess these Nazis aren’t the party of ‘family values … LMAO,” Dainty wrote. “Maybe these guys should call themselves ‘White Perverts’ instead of ‘White Nationalists’.”
Posters on Stormfront, the white supremacist message board, debated whether Heimbach was done in the movement or if the entire controversy was fake.
“All or part of the story is (((fabricated))) until proven otherwise,” Sparky1812 posted Tuesday night. “It’s safe to assume.”
Or as one confused white nationalist put it on the Daily Stormer: