The organizer of the upcoming Freedompalooza 2013, “an annual festival committed to the fight for freedom” and “restoring our Republic,” is a man who says the Nazi Holocaust never occurred, that “Bolshevik” Jews should be removed from American cities, and that it might be time to drop a nuclear bomb on Israel.
But that hasn’t stopped Paul Topete, lead singer of a band called Pokerface, from claiming a long array of speakers at his July 4-6 event in Kintnersville, Pa., including former members of Congress Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and James Traficant of Ohio. Neither McKinney nor Traficant could be reached, though both have trafficked in the kinds of conspiracy theories that are popular in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement of which Topete is a part.
At least two of the groups that Topete also said were sending representatives to Freedompalooza, the third such festival in as many years, insisted they would not speak at the gathering despite Topete’s claims. Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers, a conspiracy-minded group that is part of the Patriot movement, told Hatewatch today that his officials were not going to Freedompalooza and, having learned recently of Topete’s denial of the Holocaust, would never do so. In fact, Oath Keepers’ Pennsylvania representative, Mike Williams, wrote Topete Friday asking that the Oath Keepers’ name be removed from the Freedompalooza event. The Oath Keepers were still listed as participating on Topete’s website today.
“[W]e will be alerting our PA members to the holocaust denial views of the organizer, and encouraging them not to attend,” Rhodes wrote to Hatewatch, adding that Topete had confirmed his Holocaust denial views to the Oath Keepers.
Rhodes also said that an allied Patriot group, Gun Owners of America (GOA), had withdrawn a promise by its leader, Larry Pratt, to speak. He cited a GOA Web post that denounced Topete’s Holocaust denial.