Math Teacher at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College Admits to Sharing Extremist Material Online
Larry Coty, a math instructor at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College, admits that he shared extremist content online about neo-Nazi groups and the writings of influential historical antisemites. He also shared websites that included controversial books used by domestic terrorists to make homemade explosives.
When Hatewatch initially reached Coty for comments, he denied that the accounts were his.
“This is a shocker for me,” Coty said. “These are not my accounts. If I was an extremist, why would I use my real name?”
Within 30 minutes of that first conversation, both the Facebook and VK accounts had been deleted.
A little more than 72 hours later, Coty admitted to operating the social media accounts in question. He also brought both accounts back online.
Former student flags extremist posts
Coty teaches math at Perimeter College in addition to working as an academic manager for USATestprep (after initial publication, a representative for USATestprep contacted Hatewatch and said Coty had resigned). He also taught math at Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia, through most of the ‘90s. Since at least 2013, he has been circulating neo-Nazi propaganda on the Russian social media site VK, on Facebook and in comment sections of reactionary far-right websites. After receiving a tip from a former student, researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) began to investigate Coty’s online accounts.
“I was about to add him to Facebook, for crying out loud,” the former student said, adding, “What I found on his online profiles absolutely disgusted me.” The former student asked to remain anonymous out of fear for their safety.
Public records searches identified Coty’s personal email address and phone number as connected to the VK profile pictured above, as well as to a Disqus account. Russia-based VK is a social media platform much like Facebook and is widely popular in Europe. It is also known to be used by U.S. extremist groups. Disqus, according to its website, is a comment hosting service for blogs.
That email and phone number were also linked to a blog post associated with his work at USATestprep and to Coty’s Facebook account. USATestprep, located in Atlanta, develops curricula for teachers to prepare students for exams. According to its website, the company’s products are being used by more than 75% of high school students in Georgia.
Three days of denials, then a confession
Coty initially denied all involvement with the Facebook and VK accounts and suggested that he was being impersonated online. “People create fake Facebook accounts all the time,” Coty said in an interview.
The first time Hatewatch contacted him for comment, Coty said he only had a Facebook account that he deleted around 2018.
“My actions alone, my 32 years of public service, show that I’m not a racist,” Coty said in an interview.
He told Hatewatch that his father was Jewish, though Coty himself converted to Roman Catholicism in the early 1990s. He also has close Black and biracial relatives.
Coty had also initially denied that the email address linking him to the Facebook and VK accounts belonged to him. However, hours later he sent Hatewatch an email from the account in question. He wrote: “You are a lifesaver! I now have access to this account (recovered using my work email, which I have had for so long that it predates this email) and I have set up 2-factor authorization.”
“I still don’t know where the social media posts you saw came from, but I know for sure that they will not continue on Facebook under that account. Facebook froze the account this afternoon, and I am now going to go in and permanently delete it,” Coty said in an email.
A few minutes later, Coty added in another email, “Facebook will not let me permanently delete that account (I just tried) – it is being treated as of unknown origin, so I cannot access it in any way. I guess it will remain frozen until they eventually delete it on their own.”
When asked to furnish proof that he corresponded with Facebook, Coty sent a screenshot of an email received from third party consumer complaint service, but nothing referencing Facebook.
Hatewatch contacted Facebook to confirm Coty’s claim.
“We’ve checked and have found no evidence that [Facebook] deleted the account in question,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
When asked about the deletion of the VK account coming so soon after his initial interview with Hatewatch, Coty said, “Now that’s interesting to me. I honestly do not know.”
Following his initial interview, Coty threatened to pursue legal action against Hatewatch staff and the SPLC numerous times. “You’ll be surprised. I’ll have hundreds of students and colleagues saying I’m not racist and that in fact I’m anti-racist. It’s your reputation and your organization on the line.”
Coty also informed Hatewatch that a relative put a “curse” on this reporter.
After three days of these vociferous denials, Coty admitted to Hatewatch that the accounts in question did, in fact, belong to him.
“I reopened both profiles,” Coty said, adding that he removed the extremist material seen by his former student. “Now that I am no longer in denial I think you may be right. I am a type of extremist.”
Since admitting to operating the social media accounts, Coty has called on his friends and family to contact Hatewatch staff. Writing on Facebook, Coty said, “Please consider sending [Hatewatch staff] a short message...please tell [them] whether you think I am the sort of person who would treat someone badly or unjustly.”
Coty posted extremist content to his social media accounts from 2013 to the fall of 2021. Coty’s accounts were deactivated the evening of Oct. 12 and then reactivated Oct. 14.
Finding patterns of extremist sympathies
After he owned up to creating the accounts, Coty disputed that most of the content was extremist. He later told Hatewatch, “My humor can get me into trouble.”
In reality, Coty’s online activity is anything but funny. Numerous posts use antisemitic language, and one apparently praised an SS murder squad and made apologies for Josef Mengele.
On Facebook, Coty included a profile image and biographic information that match the LinkedIn profile referenced above. He used his Facebook account, like VK, to share and comment on pages of Italian and German extremist groups and extremist book publishers based in the U.S.
For example, on the Facebook account, in the section where users identify their interests, the account listed the book The Myth of the Blood: The Genesis of Racialism. The author, Julius Evola, is a virulent antisemite whose writings are shared and cited widely by members of the organized white power movement. The book itself theorizes a spiritual form of racism that suggests each “race,” as Evola understood the term, has certain ingrained characteristics that form one’s spirit. Evola is also known for promoting antisemitism in his book Three Aspects of the Jewish Problem. The Facebook account also included links to white nationalist book publisher Antelope Hill Press, as well as Black Front Press, which produces publications on such figures as Nazi Party member Otto Strasser.
After reactivating his Facebook account, Coty removed the content related to Evola.
According to writer and blogger Mark Shea, Coty has also posted favorably online about the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, as well as Josef Mengele, who was a member of that division and later became known as the Angel of Death for experiments he conducted on Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz. During World War II, the Wiking unit killed hundreds of Jewish people, including children, by firing squad.
“The Wiking was a military unit that fought with distinction,” Coty wrote in a comment on one of Shea's articles, according to a screenshot Shea shared in a Facebook post. “Mengele was in that unit **before** he was sent to Auschwitz and became the so-called angel of death. While in Wiking, Mengele received the Iron Cross for rescuing a tank crew from a burning tank. My point was that Mengele’s later medical experiments could not be used to tarnish the reputation of the Wiking division.”
According to Shea, Coty also used antisemitic language on Facebook when criticizing the work of a female journalist who worked for a Catholic news outlet.
“I did some investigating,” Coty's comment reads in the screenshot shared by Shea, “and it appears she may be just another shabbos goy – and thus even more contemptible than if she were a member of the Tribe.” (A shabbos goy is a non-Jewish person who works for Jewish people to perform certain tasks on the Sabbath that Jewish people are prohibited from conducting because of Jewish religious law.)
Shea, who has frequently been critical of Coty, said in his Facebook post that the antisemitic remarks about the reporter were made in a private Facebook group. When reached by phone, Shea said the screenshots were authentic, but declined to provide an additional comment on the record. Coty did not respond on the record to specific queries about these screenshots by press time.
On the Disqus account, Coty has posted antisemitic and male supremacist comments to reactionary right websites over the years, including on Taki’s Magazine, a site that has published articles by extremists such as Richard Spencer, Paul Gottfried and Pat Buchanan. Responding to a Taki’s Magazine article about Roma people in Europe, Coty’s account wrote that “a certain European government in the mid-20th Century” found “a way to control this problem.” On a different reactionary right website, Coty’s account, in a comment under an article, berates the physical appearance of women before encouraging physical violence toward the woman featured in the article.
Coty also used his Disqus account to comment on the website Decaturish, an Atlanta-based news website, as well as on the Admissions Blog of the University of Georgia. On UGA’s Admissions Blog, Coty’s account asked a question about college entrance essays.
On VK, Coty has shared explicitly extremist content. The account has shared posts about Nazi tourism, as well as posts containing antisemitic tropes about an alleged Jewish-Zionist takeover of technology companies. On VK, Coty’s account also uses prominent German fascist Oswald Spengler – who is most known for his book The Decline of the West – as his profile picture. (The same image of Spengler is used on the Disqus account).
Like Evola, Spengler argues that societies create the ideal community by investing in the bonds of shared blood, faith, family and culture. Evola’s and Spengler’s writings focus on protecting white European nations from supposed Jewish influence. Writing in the early 20th century, Evola and Spengler are associated with the rise of Italian fascism and Nazi Germany.
Alongside Italian and German fascists, Coty has shared memes about the Iron Guard, an antisemitic Romanian fascist organization that collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. During the war, the Iron Guard operated death squads that killed entire Jewish communities by firing squad, as well as organized the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps. As of this writing, the meme referring to the Iron Guard still appears on Coty’s VK account.
Coty’s VK account has also shared propaganda from Der III Weg, or The Third Path, a contemporary neo-Nazi party based in Germany. The Der III Weg party platform promotes the classic Nazi tenet “blood and soil” and seeks to preserve the German homeland by promoting their vision of ethnic purity. Similar to white nationalist groups in the U.S., Der III Weg is building an international network of antisemitic groups. In the past the group has organized events with the Nordic Resistance Movement, Svoboda and the National Corps.
The Nordic Resistance Movement is an extremist group led by individuals based in Sweden and Norway. The group self-identities as “Nationalist Socialist” and, according to their party platform, seeks to ethnically cleanse Northern Europe of migrants and to “regain power” from Jewish people.
Svoboda and the National Corps are antisemitic “ultra-nationalist” parties based in Ukraine. Svoboda grants membership only to ethnic Ukrainians. The National Corps is composed mostly of former members of the Azov regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard. The regiment saw combat against Russian forces. At one point, officials estimated that upward of 20% of the Azov regiment held neo-Nazi views.
After admitting he operated the VK account, Coty has deleted the posts referring to The Third Path.
Teaching people how to kill
On Feb. 16, Coty shared a website that links to 452 books and documents related to weapons, illegal weapon modifications and building explosive devices. The list includes how-to books with titles such as Full Auto Conversion: AK-47; Terrorist Explosive Sourcebook; Homemade C-4;Homebuilt Claymore Mines; Homemade Grenade Launchers; Improvised Munitions; Techniques for Silent Killing; A Citizen’s Guide to Taking Out Big Brother’s Heavy Weapons; and Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors, to name a few.
In his initial interview with Hatewatch, Coty denied sharing this website on VK, saying, “I have no idea what website you’re talking about. I don’t know what VK even is.”
When Hatewatch described the content of some of the books and documents to Coty, he said, “It sounds like this guy is leading a more interesting life.”
After admitting to operating the VK account, Coty said that he has cut contact to the person who shared the website on VK but defended himself by saying he was unaware of the content of the materials that person shared.
“I think the link she posted was not so outrageous. I looked at the titles and I see nothing that you can’t find all over the internet and maybe even in used bookstores,” Coty said in a text message.
Many of these books were published by Paladin Press, which came to mainstream attention in the 1990s when it lost a civil lawsuit after a man used its book Hit Man to commit a triple murder. Supposedly written by a trained contract killer, the book explains how to hunt “the mark” by learning their routines, addresses plotting out the best way to kill and provides advice on what weapons to use. The actual author of Hit Man, who used a pseudonym, is a single mother from Florida.
The families of the three victims sued Paladin Press, arguing it had aided and abetted the murders. Paladin Press won in the trial court but ultimately lost before a federal appeals court, which said that the book incited readers to “imminent lawless action” and was therefore not protected by the First Amendment. When the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the parties settled. As part of the settlement, Paladin Press provided an undisclosed sum given to the victims’ families and agreed to destroy the remaining copies of the book. The case, Rice v. Paladin, outlines the limits to individual expression when speech moves beyond “abstract teaching” to preparing people for imminent illegal violence. Nor do the legal disclaimers written on the title pages of its books exempt Paladin Press from potential civil liability.
Paladin Press ceased operations shortly after the death of its owner Peder Lund in 2017. Phone numbers associated with the publisher are disconnected, and its Twitter account has been inactive since 2017.
Coty’s account shared
Homemade C-4 , published by Paladin, is a book that is included on the website Coty shared on VK. According to prosecutors at the trial of Timothy McVeigh, Homemade C-4 is the book McVeigh used to build the car bomb that killed 168 people in 1995 in Oklahoma City.
Coty’s online activity appears to violate the faculty handbook of the University System of Georgia, which includes Georgia State University’s Perimeter College. Faculty are expected to “treat fellow employees, students and the public with dignity and respect.” Faculty are also expected to “post honest and accurate content” on social media and to avoid publishing controversial content without a clear disclaimer that “the views expressed by the author are the author’s alone.” The content that Coty’s account posted on Facebook, where his former student found him liking debunked racist propaganda and extremist content, does not include such a disclaimer.
‘I’m a scholar’
Coty is one of several teachers linked to far-right extremism in recent years.
Early this year, another teacher, Benjamin Welton, who taught grades 2-5 at Star Academy in Massachusetts, was reportedly identified as a contributor to white nationalist websites, including American Renaissance and VDARE. Welton’s articles, written under a pseudonym, rail against the “myth of rape culture” and “third worlders.” In his writing, Welton endorses the concept of race realism, a long-discredited idea that links perceived biological differences between racial groups to human characteristics such as intelligence. Star Academy fired Welton.
Before Welton, Dayanna Volitich, a social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School in Florida, was identified as the host of a white nationalist podcast. Using a pseudonym, Volitich used the podcast to object to diversity programs in schools and promote racist pseudoscience. Once exposed and while the school district investigated, she claimed that account was “political satire” and denied she had injected her beliefs into the classroom.
Volitich resigned from her position after her extremist activities were made public.
According to the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, teaching requires ethical commitments not just to academic freedom, but also to civil discourse, protecting students from verbal and physical abuse, and respecting students by considering how their identities are shaped by race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture and socioeconomic status. Georgia State University has not responded to requests for comment on this story.
“The content you found isn’t that much,” Coty said. “It all fits on one page,” referring to his VK account, adding: “I have strong libertarian beliefs. I’m a scholar. I’m interested in ancient history. My background is in philosophy. I’m very pro-life. And with the death penalty. Why is Dylann Roof still alive?”
Editor’s note: The Southern Poverty Law Center collaborates with Georgia State University to study extremism. No one affiliated with Georgia State University was involved with the reporting of this story.
This story has been updated to include new information about Coty's employment status at USATestprep.