Just days after pleading guilty to beating his former financial backer, Matthew Heimbach has re-emerged in public, this time as the community outreach director for the National Socialist Movement (NSM).
Over the weekend, Heimbach signed on to be the director of Community Outreach for the Detroit, Michigan-based neo-Nazi group. It’s a role that, according to Heimbach, will put him in a position to meet with a variety of groups — including “communities of color” and prisoners — and form committees to discuss the environment and other issues.
“The goal is to move beyond mere rallies and connect with the public, both White folks and POC (people of color) in an engaged manner,” Heimbach told Hatewatch in an exchange of text messages on Monday.
The new position comes just days after Heimbach pleaded guilty in Indiana to beating Matt Parrott, his one-time father-in-law, financial patron and second-in-command of the Traditionalist Worker Party.
The guilty plea, entered September 18, stemmed from Heimbach’s arrest in March, when he was charged with attacking Parrott in Paoli, Indiana. Police said Heimbach was having an affair with Parrott’s wife and the attack started after Parrott and Heimbach’s wife discovered the tryst.
The arrest made Heimbach something of a pariah in far-right circles, with some groups disavowing him and others openly mocking Heimbach after the arrest.
A judge in Indiana gave Heimbach a suspended sentence of 287 days in jail, ordered him to pay $446 in court costs and have no contact with his estranged wife, except through ongoing divorce proceedings.
The suspended sentence comes on the heels of Heimbach having spent 38 days in the Louisville, Kentucky, jail, for violating the terms of a suspended sentence in that state.
In that case, Heimbach assaulted a protester at a Donald Trump rally during the 2016 presidential campaign. A Kentucky judge concluded that his arrest in Indiana violated the terms of that sentence and ordered him to spend part of the summer in jail.
Heimbach is also a defendant in a federal civil lawsuit stemming from the incident.
The Indiana arrest triggered the dissolution of the Traditionalist Worker Party. Parrott, who served as the group’s webmaster, pulled down the group’s site and announced he was leaving the movement.
Since then, Heimbach has been dealing with legal issues and, until the NSM announcement, had stayed quiet. It proved to be quick downfall for someone once seen as one of the most charismatic and energetic figures on the far right.
In the text exchange with Hatewatch and on the Russian social media site VK.com, Heimbach talked about moving away from trolling and into politically and socially organizing.
On VK, Heimbach cited George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, as the inspiration for the strategy and objectives of the National Socialist Movement.
“The mission of the NSM over the next 12 months is to continue this exciting leap forward for National Socialism in America, and fulfill the dream of Commander Rockwell,” Heimbach wrote on VK.com.
In announcing the appointment, NSM chief Jeff Schoep said Heimbach will work with the group’s public relations and international relations departments, as well as other outreach arms of NSM.
“Uniting the best and brightest minds together under the NSM banner will bring about victory instead of disarray and infighting. Now is the time to show the enemies of our people the strength of a united front,” Schoep wrote in a statement. “A new era of National Socialism has been unleashed upon the United States.”
The recruitment of Heimbach comes a month after a split among far-right groups. League of the South left the Nationalist Front in August. The group was a loose alliance of the League of the South, Traditionalist Worker Party and Vanguard America. With the dissolution of TWP and League of the South Pulling out, that left the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America standing alone. And, Vanguard America has been quiet about it’s intentions since the split.
Schoep has long been seen as a hypocrite by some on the far-right, including his ex-wife, for allowing a wanted sex offender to be part of the organization and his alleged threats to his ex-wife.
Heimbach’s first public appearance in his new role will likely be at a rally on November 10 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The NSM describes the rally an event to “raise awareness about the cultural and ethnic genocide of our fellow Europeans in South Africa.” That’s code for the “white genocide” in South Africa, an ongoing and popular myth among the far-right and conspiracy theorists.
Heimbach told Hatewatch that he will organize a fundraiser for the “Charlottesville POWS” — a group of people who pleaded guilty to or were convicted of violence during the Unite the Right rally in Virginia in August 2017 and are now in prison or going through court proceedings — as well as trying to start conversations with various groups about the National Socialist Movement.
“Hopefully this will be the beginning of a far stronger cross-racial struggle against capitalism and imperialism, all while continuing to maintain and advocate for our distinct ethnic communities, traditions and identities,” Heimbach said.
While doing community outreach may be a comedown for someone once seen as potentially the new face of American racism, it appears Heimbach’s public comeback is off and running.