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Tennessee-based racist, antisemitic radio show reveals reality TV pilot starring prominent white supremacists

CHARLOTTESVILLE, USA - AUGUST 11: Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists march through the University of Virginia Campus with torches in Charlottesville, Va., USA on August 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Richard Spencer and two other prominent white supremacists filmed the pilot of a reality TV show with a “household name” media company some months ago, according to one of the men, who was recorded speaking about the project during a radio show taped in Alabama this month. 

James Edwards, host of the Tennessee-based racist and anti-semitic radio show The Political Cesspool, recorded an episode of the show in the Pine Level community in Autauga County on Sept. 7, just after the League of the South’s (LOS) annual conference, held Sept. 6-7.

During the taping, Edwards interviewed Rick Tyler, the Tennessee white supremacist and political candidate perhaps best known for erecting billboards in 2016, that said “Make America White Again.” He’s also announced that he’s running for president in 2020, on the American Freedom Party ticket. 

Tyler discussed the TV pilot project in the interview, which he said was taped “some months ago” and described it as a debate-style show between two panels. 

“It involves a major household name media entity and it was a project that myself, Sam Dickson and Richard Spencer, the three of us participated in the filming of a model-type production that could serve as template, let’s say, for a regular reality-type TV program in 2020,” Tyler said. 

Tyler said the three men were “brought in from out of town, from long distances and we went in to the belly of the beast so to speak.” he described the production facility as having “all the bells and whistles” and that they were “totally professional and they were very, very accommodating.” 

APR has been unable to identify the company that filmed the pilot. Tyler said during the show that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement and couldn’t discuss details, and in an email to APR on Monday in response to questions about the project Tyler wrote that “I am very limited concerning this matter” because of the non-disclosure agreement. 

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Attempts to contact Edwards and Spencer on Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful. 

Far-right leader and white supremacist Richard Spencer is president of the white supremacists think-tank, the National Policy Institute. Spencer led the torch light protest of white supremacists on Aug. 11, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, the day before James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters killing Heather Heyer. 

Sam Dickson is an Atlanta lawyer who had given legal advice to klansmen and who in 2017, sued Auburn University after the school cancelled a planned speech on the campus by Richard Spencer. Dickson’s roots in white supremacy go back to the 1970s. In 1978, Dickson ran for lieutenant governor of Georgia, garnering 11 percent of the votes. 

Edwards, who once said Martin Luther King Jr.’s “dream is our nightmare,” said during the taping that the media company had approached him about the possibility of appearing in the pilot but that he’d suggested someone else, most likely Dickson, although Edwards doesn’t name the person during the show. Edwards described the project as a “pretty prominent media project.” 

Edwards, who regularly has David Duke and other prominent racists on his own show, in 2016, interviewed Donald Trump Jr. for the radio show, Liberty Roundtable. In March 2016, he was given press credentials to attend a Trump rally in Tennessee. 

“The producers of this particular broadcast had asked me to come on, and I don’t want to give away the topic of what the program was, but after understanding what the topic was I said, well, honestly for this particular topic there are other people better suited than me to provide the dissenting voice on this issue,” Edwards said. “And if you’re looking for clowns to come on, people that you could parody, you can keep  looking, but if you are serious about putting forth two sides of a hot button topic I could give you some recomendations.” 

Tyler told Edwards that the media company is aware that “white nationalism is a hot-button, buzzword-type issue” and wants to make money off of it, but that “if they want to use us, well hey, I’m perfectly willing to let them use me so that the cause of truth can use them.” 

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“They understand that it has the potential to be milked for a lot of publicity and interest and ratings, and viewership, excetera, and of course, needless to say, the deck would be totally stacked against us, save for the fact that we have the truth and our enemies don’t,” Tyler said. 

Both men said they were unsure if the show will be picked up and advance to full production, but Edwards expressed hope that it would, and opined that perhaps the deadly Charlottesville protests and upcoming presidential election would make it more attractive to the network. 

“If this is scheduled to debut in 2020, with the political climate being what it is, you being the third party candidate, and Trump and the Democrats and Charlottesville. I mean, it’s a perfect storm. It’d be hard for them, I think, to keep it in the can,” Tyler said. 

“If this thing does happen in 2020 of course it will tie in with the presidential season,” Tyler said. “If it happens it could really be an incredible bonanza, in terms of getting us exposure, while at the same time we know that they’ll try to exploit us.”

Other guests who spoke at the conference and on the episode included white supremacist and former klan grand wizard David Duke, Michael Hill, founder and leader of the League of the South, the racist and antisemite retired professor of psychology Kevin McDonald, and the racist and antisemtic conspiracy theorist Adrian Krieg. 

Edwards mentioned during the show several times the LOS’s recent struggles in the aftermath of its participation in Charlottesville. The LOS, Hill and LOS Florida chapter leader Michael Tubbs are all defendants in a civil suit filed by several victims of the violence. 

The LOS’s longtime headquarters in Wetumpka is no longer available to the group after the building’s owner, Michael Whorton, chose to no longer rent to the group, and has distanced himself from LOS, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

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Speaking of Charlottesville, Tyler said, “the League of the South was right on the front line. They made an excellent showing out in Charlottesville, but they also took some hits. Some serious hits, and so since Charlottesville there’s been a lot of fallout.” 

Tyler went on to discuss his plans to turn his home in Polk County, Tennessee into a “whitetopia. A virtually all-white county” through taking political control of the county by an influx of like-minded people “who understand racial truth and the JQ.” Antisemites use the term “JQ” to refer to the “Jewish Question,” a derogatory phrase long used to propagate conspiracies about Jewish people. 

“Polk County has the reputation of being the most racially-minded county in the state, historically, and that’s saying a lot for Tennessee,” Tyler said.

Eddie Burkhalter: [email protected]. On Twitter @BurkhalterEddie

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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