Hatewatch has obtained images of Matthew Q. Gebert, a State Department official who is involved in the white nationalist movement.
Gebert oversaw the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization and has published hateful propaganda under the pseudonym “Coach Finstock” since 2015, Hatewatch reported Wednesday. The State Department has suspended Gebert from his job as a foreign affairs officer in its Bureau of Energy Resources, according to a report Thursday by Politico.
A Gebert colleague who spoke to Hatewatch said the State Department sent Gebert, who described himself as a white nationalist in a 2018 podcast, home from work Wednesday after the publication of Hatewatch’s investigation, and he has not returned.
“We’re a very diverse bureau with lots of types of people he apparently hates,” the source told Hatewatch over a series of texts. “I’m dismayed to see he’s only suspended; I’m hoping it’s just an intermediate step.”
After Hatewatch published its investigation, people sent photos and information to Hatewatch about Gebert and his wife, Anna Vuckovic. Vuckovic also is involved in the white nationalist movement and used the pseudonym “Wolfie James” to post racist and antisemitic blog posts, Hatewatch reported.
Among the photos Hatewatch received is one of Gebert at a white nationalist event in Charlottesville, Virginia, in May 2017, months before the failed “Unite the Right” rally that August.
A source who spent time at Gebert’s home at gatherings with white nationalists told Hatewatch that the State Department official prohibited guests from taking pictures at his home.
The May 2017 rally was a public outdoor event, and an anonymous tipster sent a photo from the event to Hatewatch. Gebert appears in that group photo wearing sunglasses, a white polo shirt and khaki pants.
One of Gebert’s colleagues at the State Department, who asked not to be named in this story, contacted Hatewatch after reading its investigation. That person confirmed the identity of Gebert in the rally photo. “It is absolutely [Gebert],” the colleague wrote by text, referring to the picture.
A family friend, who claims to have known Gebert for years, also contacted Hatewatch. “No question,” the person said, confirming the identity of Gebert as the man at the rally in sunglasses in front of the person dressed in all black.
The two sources who spent time at Gebert’s home told Hatewatch they thought the man in the photo looked like him.
Gebert also appears in photos on pages 38, 41 and 46 of the 2005 annual report for the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute. The institute is an international program providing “diverse, tuition-free communications, IT and broadcast training for women and men who, each day, make modern communications a reality for their countrymen throughout the developing world,” the guide explains.
Gebert could not be reached for a comment for this story.
Photo of ‘Wolfie James’
Vuckovic’s picture appears in the August 2013 edition of a publication titled Exhibit City News. “Exhibit City News is the premiere magazine covering the meeting, convention and tradeshow industries,” according to a description on its website.
“In a recent sales reorganization effort, Visit Phoenix, the city’s tourism engine, chose a director of national accounts,” the story about Vuckovic says. “The newest addition is Anna [Vuckovic] Gebert, who now handles the sales territories of Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.”
Three sources who knew “Wolfie James” confirmed to Hatewatch Vuckovic’s identity in the Exhibit City News article. Hatewatch spoke to Vuckovic at the Geberts’ home in Leesburg, Virginia, on June 24, and also verified the Exhibit City News photo is an image of her. She told Hatewatch she was not part of the white nationalist movement.
Additional details emerge on double life
The colleague of Gebert’s in the State Department told Hatewatch they listened to the voice of “Coach Finstock” on a white nationalist podcast after reading the investigation into his double life. The colleague said Gebert’s voice matched that of “Coach Finstock.”
“I listened to a piece of the podcast, and it’s 100 percent him,” the source said.
The independent journalism collective Unicorn Riot published a follow-up story Wednesday on Gebert’s white nationalist ties detailing his activity in a Discord chat in the lead-up to the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017. Discord is a gaming app that sometimes is used by white nationalists to organize.
One of the images published in the Discord chat was of swastika-shaped cookies. One of the sources who spent time in Gebert’s home told Hatewatch after the Unicorn Riot story appeared that cookies shaped like swastikas were served at his home on March 17, 2017. The source recalled that children were in the home at the time the cookies were served.
Unearthed ‘Coach Finstock’ Twitter post refers to State Department
Twitter users combed through internet archives of deactivated and suspended “Coach Finstock” Twitter accounts following the publication of Hatewatch’s investigation. Hatewatch named 10 accounts in the story that belonged to “Coach Finstock” between 2015 and 2019.
One account that received additional scrutiny Wednesday was @RevengeCoach, which was active in spring 2018. @RevengeCoach posted a screenshot of a headline published in the Washington Examiner on March 29, 2018, according to an archive.
The Washington Examiner article focused on how the State Department would soon publish new rules “to require most visitors and immigrants to the U.S. to divulge their recent social media histories, carrying out one of the key security enhancements from President [Donald] Trump’s extreme vetting executive order.”
Gebert, writing through the @RevengeCoach handle, appeared to suggest he would help “woke Euro applicants” subvert Trump’s rule. “Woke” is sometimes used by white nationalists to convey that a white person has been radicalized to fascism.
“State Dept visa official to woke Euro applicant: ‘Says here you have NO social media accounts. Can someone in the U.S. attest to that?’ Gebert wrote as @RevengeCoach. “’Uhh, why yes. My good friend...Coach Finstock.’”
Trump mentioned Gebert’s Twitter handle
Another Twitter user flagged on Wednesday that Trump, while a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, referred to the account @Q1776, which was manned by Gebert.
“@Q1776: Love fest for DonaldTrump on @marklevinshow just now. Top 5 talk radio audience in country. Great being on the show with Mark!” Trump posted to Twitter on October 5, 2015, referring to a conservative talk show.
Gebert radicalized in 2015, according to his account on a white nationalist forum, Hatewatch reported.