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D.C. Charter School Board Investigating Senior Employee For Alleged Alt-Right Links

Photo: Flickr / Gaston Gaiduk

Link to original source: Martin Austermuhle | WAMU.org

The D.C. Public Charter School Board, which oversees the city’s charter schools, says it is investigating allegations that one of its employees anonymously wrote blog posts that critics say are aligned with the “alt-right,” an amorphous political movement that is associated with white nationalism.

The employee, John Goldman, a senior manager of finance, analysis and strategy with the charter school board, admits that he has posted to his blog for years — weighing in on issues ranging from career and dating advice to illegal immigration and feminism — but denies any association with the alt-right or white nationalism. He says he is the victim of a “vicious smear campaign indicative of the nasty times we live in.”

“I 100 percent deny any association, affiliation with, or support of the alt-right, [white nationalist] Richard Spencer, racism, fascism, or anything else other than a liberal Democracy where each citizen has equal protection under the law,” he said in an email. “Any notion I am a white supremacist is a complete fabrication, while the opposite is unquestionably true: I am open minded, I love everyone, and I wish nothing more than for our country to come together.”

The accusations come after the all-girls Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland, announced that in October it fired substitute teacher Gregory Conte because of his ties to white nationalist leader Richard Spencer. But while Conte admitted his links to Spencer and the broader white nationalist movement, Goldman says he abhors any such views. Goldman is an employee of a city agency, and, under the First Amendment, he enjoys broader rights in expressing himself on personal and political matters — even if those opinions are seen as offensive by some.

A spokeswoman for the charter school board confirmed that it is investigating the accusations, and Goldman says he was placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation.

The accusations were first posted Monday night on Twitter by Lacy MacAuley, a self-described anarchist protester. She accused Goldman, who says he is Jewish, of writing what she termed “white supremacist” blog posts under the pseudonym Jack Murphy, and associating with alt-right leaders.

Goldman’s personal website describes him as a “proven charter school veteran and business leader,” and says that he has worked with charter schools for over a decade and before that worked in real estate. But MacAuley says local anarchist protesters were able to link Goldman to his pseudonym — and its associated blog and Twitter account — after seeing Goldman at an alt-right protest outside the White House last year. Goldman says he was merely there as an observer. He confirms that Jack Murphy is his pseudonym.

While he initially posted on his blog about personal matters, over the last year Goldman, writing as Murphy, started delving into political and social issues. In a posting from August 2017, Murphy opined on James Damore, a Google engineer who was fired after authoring a memo in which he argued men and women are genetically predisposed to have different skill sets:

Women and minorities believe they are powerless and oppressed unjustly. Their sole mission is to upend the existing power structures to become more powerful. This mission involves attacking every single element of current power. Science, reality, sexual relationships, family structures, intelligence, biology and a myriad of other things we can see with our own two eyes are now hate speech and must be obliterated.

The cult left must destroy masculinity to destroy the family to destroy the patriarchy and end male supremacy.

And in March 2017, he weighed in on what was then reported as a rape of a teenager by two undocumented immigrants at a high school in Rockville, offering his views on immigration and so-called sanctuary cities: “Is it worth educating, protecting, and defending illegal immigrants if it means our daughters will be raped while they are at school?”

‘Unashamed to be masculine’

That same month, Goldman described his transition from “Democrat to Deplorable,” saying that he voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but cast a ballot for President Trump in 2016 after “Democrats created a new environment in which normal beliefs are heretical.” (He says he is writing a book about his political conversion from “Democrat to Deplorable.”)

“A man and woman are different you say? We all have different aptitudes? We should spend our money on Americans instead of aliens? We should lift ourselves up before we lift up others? You are [N]azis now, says the left. Racists. Bigots. Terrible vile people!” he wrote.

Goldman called Trump “unabashedly masculine, unafraid to violate the fascism of political correctness, and willing to take on the issues of the 21st century.”

In earlier writings, Goldman identified himself as a father of three who is divorced. He wrote that going through a divorce made him change. He identifies, as inspirations, Mike Cernovich, an alt-right personality himself, and Roosh, who refers to himself as a “pickup artist” and writes about his exploits with women. (In July, Goldman posted a picture of himself alongside Cernovich.)

“I am unashamed to be masculine. I see myself holding on to something which is under attack. There is a war against men and boys, being myself and holding strong is an act of protest,” he wrote. “The world always needs a villain and today, that villain is the white straight male who knows what he wants and is unafraid to get it.”

MacAuley said she decided to publicize Goldman’s name because he works for the charter school board, which is publicly funded and serves mostly minority students.

“Sixty-two percent of D.C. public charter school students are black youth, 10 to 15 percent are Latino,” she said. “This is absolutely something that he needs to realize people will take issue with. That’s why he came up with a pseudonym in the first place.”

“I don’t have kids and I’m white,” MacAuley added. “But I’ve been hearing from black parents who have kids in the school system, and this is clearly disconcerting.”

But Goldman forcefully denies MacAuley’s accusations, and calls her an “admitted member of known domestic terror group Antifa” who is out to libel and shame him. According to an article published in The New Yorker last year, Goldman openly criticized Spencer and his ideas. He also rejects the “alt-right” label, instead describing his ideology as “new right.”

Among other positions — ranging from traditional Republican views to more Libertarian ones — Goldman says the “new right” movement aims to “not discriminate on the basis of any protected class and explicitly reject the hateful politics of supremacy in any form.”

A right to express opinions

Some of Goldman’s critics have called on the charter school board to fire him. But according to Art Spitzer of the ACLU of D.C., that’s neither easy nor advisable.

“He’s expressing his personal views about political issues. Yes, he’s got a First Amendment right to do that, same as every other government employee,” said Spitzer. “The charter school board should explain that this is America, people have a right to express their political opinions. Liberals shouldn’t want the charter school board to fire people because they have conservative views.”

In an email to WAMU, Goldman said he is being unfairly maligned by the far left.

“I am a social justice advocate,” he wrote. “I have worked 10 years in the charter school community, turning around some of the worst performing schools in the city, ones that served virtually 100 percent African American students. I have succeeded where many others have failed in improving the educations of our city’s poor black youth.”

And in a tweet on Tuesday night, Goldman said he worried about the state of discourse in the nation. “Must we all agree on everything or destroy each other? Are these our options?”

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