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‘You’re an IDIOT:’ M4L chair and school board candidate promotes political extremism and hate online

The chair of a North Carolina Moms for Liberty (M4L) chapter promotes antigovernment extremism on her social media.

Natosha Tew, 45, is a resident of Wilmington, North Carolina, and is the chair of the New Hanover County Moms for Liberty chapter. A former emergency management coordinator for Wilmington, Tew said in a social media post that she has since dedicated her time in part to relaxation and attending school board meetings.

The former employee of the city of Wilmington and the Wilmington Fire Department, however, has also spent her time sharing antigovernment memes and messages on social media. These include III% symbols on her Facebook, as well as III% hashtags on her posts. One such III% image shows a “III” above a 1776, surrounded by 13 stars that are themselves surrounded with the phrase, “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”

Three Percenterism is a sub-ideology or common belief that falls within the larger antigovernment militia movement. Though not a centralized movement, the ideology has motivated antigovernment extremists for decades. Three Percenters (also known as III%ers or Threepers) claim that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British during the American Revolution, a claim that has never been proven.

Three Percenters often draw parallels between the U.S. government today and the British government in the 1700s, arguing that the current U.S. government is tyrannical and actively working to infringe on Americans’ constitutional rights and liberties. They use this idea to fashion themselves as the vanguard, or tip of the spear, in an imagined fight against tyranny. In actuality, they often follow spurious antigovernment conspiracy theories that toy with the idea of armed insurrection.

Tew, who recently announced her campaign for the local school board, openly supports political extremist movements. Combined with her beliefs in election-fraud conspiracy theories, Tew articulates a worldview heavily indebted to the unfounded paranoia and hate that saturates the hard right. She has celebrated online the dissolution of her local school board’s diversity, equity and inclusion program, as well as policies limiting trans students from participating in school activities as trans students.

Natosha Tew posts on Signal
Natosha Tew's Facebook page features III% imagery and a photo of Tew in a shirt referencing the QAnon conspiracy theory. (Photo from Facebook)

Tew’s presence at school board meetings has been disruptive and extreme. Deputies have had to remove Tew from at least two meetings for violating board rules of propriety. And she has come under fire for her misleading spreading misinformation claims about the legality of masks and vaccines made at school board meetings while still serving in emergency management. This includes spreading messages through Facebook that falsely claims that a mask will “Shut Down Immune System” and “Increases Virus Risk.”

In addition to spreading Three Percenter memes and symbols, Tew also seems to be a vaccine conspiracy theorist, arguing against available evidence that they are a fraud. She also has a low opinion of fellow voters who have decided to be responsible and get vaccinated. In the middle of a fall 2022 peak in COVID-19 infections, Tew wrote on Facebook: “If you are still wearing a mask and lining up to get your ‘booster,’ you’re an IDIOT. Seriously. Feel free to unfriend me immediately. I’m done with virtual-signally [sic] assholes and idiots. #sorrynotsorry.”

The Cape Fear Proud Boys chapter, also in New Hanover County, is a hate group that has been openly supportive of Moms for Liberty and Tew’s chapter, in particular. The Cape Fear Proud Boys praised the local Moms for Liberty chapter in “turning our school board red” and dissolving the school district’s diversity, equity and inclusion office. They also responded on Telegram to a speech by LeVar Burton of the celebrated educational children’s television series “Reading Rainbow,” who condemned book bannings and expressed satisfaction that Moms for Liberty was not present at his event. The local Proud Boys responded their full-throated support of Tew and her fellow M4L members, saying, “Don’t think for one second … we still won’t stomp you if you ever put hands on one of them in front of us.”

Moms for Liberty is a far-right organization that engages in anti-student inclusion activities and self-identifies as part of the modern parental rights movement. The group grew out of opposition to public health regulations for COVID-19, opposes LGBTQ+ and racially inclusive school curriculum, and leads the nation in advocating books bans in schools. They also use their multiple social media platforms to target teachers and school officials, advocate for the abolition of the Department of Education, advance a conspiracy propaganda, and spread hateful imagery and rhetoric against the LGBTQ+ community.

Photo illustration by SPLC

SPLC Research Analyst Maya Carey contributed to this reporting, along with BlueprintNC. BlueprintNC works with its partners towards inclusive and anti-racist democracy rooted in civic engagement through movement building and mobilization.

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