University of Nebraska-Lincoln student and former field director for the Nebraska Republican Party Bennett Bressman said he regretted posting racial and homophobic slurs and anti-Semitic rhetoric on an online chatroom, according to an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star.
Bressman was known as the user “bress222” in a server on the platform Discord devoted to fans of Nick Fuentes, a far-right YouTuber who participated in the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.
"Yes, that was my profile," Bressman said in a phone interview with the Lincoln Journal Star. "I'm not denying it. I understand how they look really bad and are really bad on their face. I regret what I said."
Bressman’s comments included threats of violence against journalists and Black Lives Matter activists.
Deb Fiddelke, UNL’s chief communication and marketing officer, said in a statement that the comments were “repugnant.”
“We are aware of racist, bigoted and hateful comments attributed to a UNL student from a white nationalist chat room,” Fiddelke said. “The UNL Police Department is evaluating this. The safety of our university community is paramount. Any concerns about safety are taken seriously, and we take all appropriate action based on the identification of a potential threat.”
The posts were collected by Unicorn Riot, a nonprofit which leaks chat logs of neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups in the United States. Logs from January to October 2018 were published in a blog post by Nebraska Antifacist Action on Sunday.
Bressman’s online comments included anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic language.
“i wanted a crater in israel not israel on a crater,” Bressman said in the chat.
Bressman also made an anti-Semitic meme about UNL professor Ari Kohen. “fellas my american revolution (((professor))) has made it very clear he is openly liberal,” Bressman said in the chat.
According to an article from USA Today, (((echos))) is an anti-Semitic meme to emphasize a Jewish name.
Bressman said he apologized to Kohen and said his comments were not referring to Kohen on Monday, which Kohen said he received.
"If he wants to turn his life around, that's great," Kohen said in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star, "but it's shocking to me we are at a place in 2019 where these are the things people get caught up in."
Bressman’s commented that “gays are the scum of the earth” and promoted political violence in multiple chats.
“my whole political ideology revolves around killing journalists,” Bressman said.
Bressman also threatened violence against groups like the Black Lives Matter movement.
“would you run over a blm supporter if they were in the street [sic],” Bressman said. “i have a nice car and it’s white are the downsides but i think probably would for the lulz [sic].”
Bressman worked on Gov. Pete Ricketts’ campaign until December. A post on his Instagram account showed him watching Nebraska football home games in the governor’s suite.
"When you think you have anonymity, it's easy to become desensitized to what you're saying," Bressman said in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star. "I regret what I said. They aren't indicative of who I am as a person."
Ricketts condemned Bressman’s views in a statement released on Monday.
"I unequivocally denounce his hate-filled views towards Jewish people, LGBT people, African-Americans, journalists, women, and others," Ricketts said.
Ben Larsen contributed to the reporting of this article.