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John Guandolo’s tour collapses and longtime partner Chris Gaubatz quits

It’s been a bad week for disgraced FBI agent turned anti-Muslim speaker John Guandolo

On April 5, Guandolo held the first of his five scheduled trainings in the Midwest where representatives from his organization, Understanding the Threat (UTT), and the right-wing media group Worldview Weekend (WW) presented on the “threat of the Islamic Movement.” Less than 24 hours later, Guandolo was raging on social media after the remaining four stops on his tour were cancelled, the result of local activism. 

Predictably, Guandolo reverted to anti-Muslim conspiracy theories to explain his bad luck. Guandolo and Brannon Howse of WW pointed to a “convergence” between antifa, Marxists and Islamists — also known as the “red-green axis,” a favorite far-right conspiracy.

Hatewatch highlighted the tour in an April 4 report, and concerns about Guandolo training members of the public were echoed by other civil rights organizations like the Western States Center. Local groups in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota also took action to oppose the tour. 

But for Guandolo, those who challenge his bigotry are either terrorists or aiding and abetting terrorists. In fact, Guandolo sees terrorists around every corner. In March, he posted to Twitter a photo of a bearded Southwest Airlines employee with the caption, "I wish this were shocking...a sharia adherent muslim (aka jihadi) at my plane,” complete with the hashtag “#shariakills.” The tweet, which has since been deleted, sparked enough outrage online that Southwest responded on Twitter, calling Guandolo’s post “cruel and inappropriate.”

It appears Guandolo’s tour implosion had larger consequences for UTT. Conspicuously absent from any of the Guandolo’s videos about the recent events was his partner Chris Gaubatz. Gaubatz’s bio was removed from the UTT website around the same time as the announcement of the tour cancellation and when he appeared on a WW show on April 8, he didn’t mention his affiliation with UTT. Guandolo confirmed Gaubatz’s exit two days later. “Chris has resigned from UTT and is moving on, is discerning other decisions in his life, major life decisions about the road he’s going to take, and I just want to say publically that Chris is a great man, he’s been a great asset for this team, a great friend and a great colleague, he will be greatly missed,” Guandolo stated. Gaubatz did not respond to Hatewatch’s request for comment. 

The failed tour and resignation of Gaubatz is the latest in a spate of setbacks for anti-Muslim speaker. Guandolo’s other business — “training” law enforcement to suspect terrorists in every mosque — dried up following revelations that he punched a Minnesota sheriff at a conference in Reno, Nevada, last year. 

That development led Guandolo to lean on local anti-Muslim groups to help him organize trainings for members of the public. The locally organized rejection to his Midwest tour strongly suggests he might be running out of audiences for his bigoted act. 

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