The ranks of Orange County’s alt-right are fractured and in decline a year after the infamous Battle of Berkeley where figures made a name for themselves in pitched streets battles against antifa. But some of the quieter folks are still hanging around under the radar. Despite parading with a band of alt-right agitators who crashed an anti-racism workshop in Santa Monica last July and calling blacks “colored people” on YouTube comments on her footage of the fracas that followed, Huntington Beach’s Gracey Van Der Mark recently found her way onto two public boards.
Currently, Van Der Mark serves on Huntington Beach’s finance commission. Patrick Brenden, a conservative councilman, appointed her months back. Prior to that, she worked her way onto the Ocean View School District Measure R Citizens Oversight Committee to ensure school improvement funds approved by voters are being spent appropriately. In June, Van Der Mark enjoyed the appointment of OVSD Trustee Gina Clayton-Tarvin, a liberal, for that post.
But her alt-right activities recently resurfaced, including crashing the “White Privilege and What We Can Do About It” workshop put on by the Committee for Racial Justice in Santa Monica. Back in July, a gaggle of “goys”(a term the alt-right proudly appropriates for themselves) tried to barge into the event with Van Der Mark by their side. The alt-right D-list crew included Vincent James Foxx of the Red Elephants, “Johnny Benitez,” vlogger Baked Alaska and Augustus Invictus–the latter two were scheduled speakers at the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Van Der Mark made her way into the workshop and uploaded a series of four videos chronicling it, much to the chagrin of participants.
The recent controversy isn’t so much about what Van Der Mark filmed, but what she said in now-deleted comments on her own YouTube video. “This meeting was being ran by the elderly Jewish people who were in there,” Van Der Mark wrote. “The colored people were there doing what the elderly Jewish people instructed them to do.” She insisted again in the same response to a commentator that blacks followed orders and didn’t run the meeting. It’s not just the “colored people” throwback at play, a remark that recently caused a DNC official in Florida to resign. Her comments run parallel with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories where scheming Jews manipulate white-black racial strife to undermine white society, which, of course, robs blacks of their own agency and paints them as dupes without real grievances.
In defending her comments on Facebook despite deleting them on YouTube, Van Der Mark would have detractors believe it mere coincidence. “Nothing I wrote was Anti-Semitic or demeaning to black people,” she stated. Van Der Mark casts everything as simply an observation of how Jewish organizers would whisper something into black folks ears at the event and then they’d go on and carry out the duty. “I never implied or believed they were subservient or doing the bidding of others as some have tried to imply in the most vile of terms.”
Speaking of antisemitism, it wasn’t just the company Van Der Mark kept that day. (She also noted having passed along her footage to Foxx on YouTube, no stranger to antisemitism himself). One of her YouTube channel playlists dubbed “Holocaust hoax?” includes half-a-dozen anti-Semitic videos like Arizona pastor Steven Anderson engaging in Holocaust revisionism and a link to the anti-Jewish Marching to Zion documentary he produced. And remember when a neo-Nazi white supremacist co-organized a book burning slated to happen in Huntington Beach last summer but got canceled? “It was supposed to be a burning of magazines and literature taking advantage of our kids,” Van Der Mark spun away in previous online comments.
Surely with such views, perhaps Van Der Mark’s city posts deserve a second look? The Weekly asked Brenden for comment, but received no response. In the meantime, Clayton-Tarvin was more immediately forthcoming. “While I defend Ms. Larrea-Van De Mark’s right to speak her mind, the fact that she has been provided an elevated platform has done more harm than good,” she says. “I reject what she has espoused. Her views do not represent the Ocean View School District or Huntington Beach.”
Of course, Van Der Mark addressed the council on Monday night in support of filing a lawsuit against California’s Sanctuary State law. She stepped to the podium wearing a coat fashioned in a U.S. flag design. “A few months ago, I was given the opportunity and the honor to serve my city,” said Van Der Mark. At that time, she took an oath to uphold the constitution, one that SB 54 offends her sensibilities so. The finance commissioner predicted the response of political opponents that night. “They will be labeling us Nazis, white supremacists and KKK simply for speaking up,” she added.
Graciela: Dime con quien andas, y te diré quien eres!