Meet Casey Jordan Cooper: “Alt-Right” White Power Organizer and Atlanta Law Student

Summary

Casey Jordan Cooper, a student at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, is the white power organizer behind the “Alt-Right” Twitter account @BigButternutJoe. Over the last year, Cooper participated in white nationalist events in the metro Atlanta area and posted racist propaganda on local campuses.  Until recently, Casey Cooper’s Twitter account issued a stream of racist and homophobic slurs, some of them about his fellow students at John Marshall. He was recorded as part of a white nationalist group jeering a Stone Mountain Park visitor with sexist and antisemitic remarks. Cooper is responsible for a death threat against a prominent Black activist in Atlanta.

The Death Threat

In July 2016, a series of large protests raged in Atlanta after police shot and killed Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. While protests disrupted business-as-usual in response to these high-profile police killings of Black men, Georgia white supremacists tried to counter-mobilize.

The Atlanta-area Twitter user @BigButternutJoe wrote on July 12 that “Whites […] are arming ourselves to the teeth” and that the Black Lives Matter movement will lead to a “massive wave of anti-black action in it’s [sic] wake.” This Twitter user earlier sent a private message to a local Black activist, which simply contained a picture of a noose. (The activist was also tagged in the “arming […] to the teeth” post by BigButternutJoe.)

death threat
Death from BigButternutJoe account (at the time this account used the name “Phoenix on the Right” and had a profile picture of Sam Hyde)

When this Black activist publicly drew attention to the Twitter death threat, BigButternutJoe retweeted the post speaking out about the threat. BigButternutJoe followed with another statement, suggesting that the activist was exaggerating the death threat problem to “rent seek” (i.e. profit).  BigButternutJoe clarified: “This is why you hang.”

repeats death threat
BigButternutJoe repeats death threat

The person responsible for this online death threat has had a busy year, participating in Atlanta-area Alt-Right organizing, placing white power propaganda, and harassing enemies. For much of the same time, “BigButternutJoe” AKA Atlanta resident Casey Jordan Cooper has also been working towards a law degree at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where he began as a 1L in August 2016. Atlanta’s John Marshall, a private law school in midtown Atlanta, states that almost 70% of its student body are of a “minority” population; more women than men also attend. Unsurprisingly, Cooper/”BigButternutJoe” doesn’t have pleasant things to say about fellow AJMLS students.

cooper ajmls
Casey Jordan Cooper at Atlanta’s John Marshall new student orientation, August 2016

Online Presence and Offline Identity

The @BigButternutJoe Twitter account was opened in early May 2016. It used the names “Phoenix on the Right” and then later “Phoenix Reich.” One of the very first posts to the page was a “selfie” photograph of the account owner, wearing sunglasses and only revealing part of his face.

bigbutternutjoe from twitter
BigButternutJoe selfie posted to Twitter, May 4 2016

From May 2016 to near the end of January 2017, BigButternutJoe logged over 3,000 posts on Twitter. However, on January 30, 2017 the user began rapidly deleting his posts, until only three were visible on his Twitter account’s front page. The user name was changed from “Phoenix Reich” to “Phoenix Thiccness” and the account’s imagery was also completely altered. This rapid series of changes to the Twitter account may have been because BigButternutJoe realizedthat  anti-fascists were taking an interest in his online boasts, for example about placing racist propaganda on campuses. Atlanta Antifascists archived a large portion of BigButternutJoe’s online posts before they were deleted, keeping a record of the account’s numerous rants against “k[***]s,” “n[****]rs,” and “f[****]ts.”

For most of the Twitter account’s existence, it used the name “Phoenix Reich,” which combines a reference to the “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney” video game with one to the Third Reich. The main profile picture at the time incorporated an image of Arno Breker’s statue Die Partei, which represents the spirit of Nazism.

Phoenix Reich twitter Jan 2017
BigButternutJoe/”Phoenix Reich” Twitter page in January 2017, before end-of-month radical overhaul

Several other online accounts – a couple of Facebook pages for “Phoenix Right” (not available at time of writing), as well as accounts under the name “Phoenix” on Gab.ai; the racist/antisemitic TheRightStuff forums; and the fascist IronMarch site – all match the imagery and biographical information on the BigButternutJoe Twitter.

On TheRightStuff forums, “Phoenix” gives his location as “Apelanta, Georgia” and describes his life:

Working in the legal field, attempting to be a comedian in a liberal infested shithole of a city. Trying my goddamn hardest not to go crazy while being surrounded by the most pozzed f[****]ts and n[****]rs you’ll ever meet.

On IronMarch forums, the introductory post by “Phoenix” mentions living in the South, working in “the legal industry,” and having studied anthropology and psychology in college. The post also discussed the author’s political transformation, claiming that he “almost cried” when he heard a speech by American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell for the first time. The March 2016 introductory post remarked: “The only reason I don’t call myself a fascist or a national socialist is because I don’t have a strong grasp on economics.” Within months, BigButternutJoe would feel comfortable stating “I’m a national socialist” on Twitter and would have a profile picture incorporating Nazi iconography.

It is apparent that Casey Jordan Cooper is behind these online accounts, for several reasons:

  •         The selfie posted by BigButternutJoe on Twitter looks just like Casey J. Cooper, as seen for example in Casey Cooper’s 2014 Dekalb County mugshots.
  •         In May 2016, BigButternutJoe posted photos of a potted plant outside his apartment’s door. This photo exactly matches the colors and brickwork of Casey Cooper’s current residence. (Note 3/25/2017: not current any more.)
  •         Some of the “Phoenix” profiles refer to employment in the legal field. In addition to his current legal studies, Casey Cooper worked as a paralegal for his father Gary Cooper in Duluth, Georgia.
  •         Casey Cooper has a University of Georgia bachelor’s degree in Psychology, consistent with claims by “Phoenix” about having studied this subject and Anthropology in college.
  •         On both his TheRightStuff profile and on Twitter, “Phoenix” mentioned being involved in the comedy scene. “Casey J. Cooper” performed in Atlanta-area comedy events. [1]
  •         Racist statements by BigButternutJoe about law school coincide with Casey Jordan Cooper beginning at John Marshall in Atlanta.

Phoenix Reich law IPhoenix Reich law II

Phoenix Reich law III
Posts by BigButternutJoe about law school. (Note: “Dindus” is a racist term for Black people.)

Alt-Right and Racist Organizing

According to one of his Twitter posts, “BigButternutJoe”/Cooper attended the “Rock Stone Mountain” white power rally at Stone Mountain Park outside Atlanta on April 23, 2016. The rally was organized by white supremacists and Klansmen, but was met with a large and determined anti-racist mobilization that vastly outnumbered the racists and largely ruined their event. BigButternutJoe claimed that he had encountered antifascist forces at Stone Mountain and found them “Not intimadting [sic].” We have not identified Cooper in photo galleries of the “Rock Stone Mountain” event – if he was in the area, he may have either avoided photographers or never made it through the anti-racist protests to join the small white power rally.

BigButternutJoe 2016 post about April Stone Mountain
BigButternutJoe/Casey Cooper on attending the Rock Stone Mountain white power rally in April 2016.

Later in the year, Cooper turned his attention to white nationalism of the “Alt-Right” variety. In mid-August 2016, he Tweeted about “using my student loans to fund my trip to NPI” – the “Alt-Right” National Policy Institute conference that November. Half a dozen other Twitter posts also referenced his attendance at the NPI conference. Two more Atlanta Alt-Right militants known to have attended NPI 2016 are racist organizer Patrick Sharp, as well as Jared Huggins (who posed in a group photo of white nationalist Identity Evropa leaders attending the conference.) Cooper was photographed with Huggins, Sharp, and others at a September 2016 “Alt-Right” trip to Stone Mountain Park, discussed separately below.

By 2017, Casey Cooper was playing a central role in local “Alt-Right” racist organizing. The day before the “Atlanta Forum” white nationalist gathering this January, Cooper/BigButternutJoe stressed the effort which had gone into organizing the event: “After a lot of hard work from a lot of good southern goys, this weekend is going to be a fun one.”

  •         Stone Mountain, September 2016

Casey Cooper – wearing sunglasses as in his Twitter “selfie” – was recorded at an “Alt-Right” gathering at Stone Mountain Park outside Atlanta on September 10, 2016. At this gathering, Casey Cooper and white nationalist leader Patrick Sharp both wore sleeveless shirts promoting the far-Right racist TheRightStuff.

The “I Am the Mountain” website contains a full account of the site editor’s encounter with the Alt-Right group at the mountain. The incident began after the website editor asked why one of the all-male group was carrying a Confederate battle flag – the response quickly degenerated into chants of “Alt-Right! Alt-Right!” plus sexist and antisemitic abuse (e.g. “Christ killer,” “Jews don’t wear panties”). Footage of the incident reveals Patrick Sharp and Casey Cooper as two leaders of the Alt-Right group, with Cooper exclaiming, “It’s 2016 — no one cares if you call me a racist anymore!”

Still-80
Casey Cooper (wearing sunglasses and sleeveless TheRightStuff shirt, center foreground) and other Alt-Right racists on Stone Mountain, September 10, 2016
  •         Propaganda Campaigns

We believe Casey J. Cooper helped place much of the “Alt-Right” and white power propaganda that appeared on campuses and in Atlanta neighborhoods over the past year. On his BigButternutJoe Twitter account, Casey Cooper celebrated and seemingly took responsibility for three incidents of racist/fascist propaganda:

  1.       On September 25, 2016, the BigButternutJoe account posted images of a sticker for the (now-cancelled) white power podcast “Fash the Nation” placed on the exterior of King of Pops in the Inman Park neighborhood. BigButternutJoe commented: “Atlanta’s favorite snack got a whole lot more fashy [i.e. fascist] today, and before the rush!”
Fash the Nation king of pops
“Fash the Nation” sticker outside popsicle shop in Inman Park neighborhood, September 2016
  1. BigButternutJoe also bragged about racist posters and stickers placed around Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, and Kennesaw State University campuses on the weekend of November 12-13, 2016. This coordinated propaganda effort was part of a TheRightStuff/“Daily Shoah” nationally-coordinated action targeting campuses. Over a dozen posters plus “Alt-Right” stickers appeared on each campus that received a visit. We have already discussed this coordinated propaganda action in detail, since white nationalist leader Patrick Sharp is responsible for the “Alt-Right” cityscape sticker design placed around the three campuses; Sharp may have participated in the fascist propaganda night out; and Sharp certainly celebrated it via Twitter. In addition to posters and stickers left on the campuses, as part of the same propaganda effort someone left graffiti threatening violence against “anti-whites” on a KSU fraternity landmark. BigButternutJoe/Casey Cooper was explicit about his involvement in the multi-campus propaganda effort, although he may not have been present on every campus (if coordinated teams were involved.) Afterward, BigButternutJoe/Cooper made seventeen posts to his Twitter with pictures from the various campuses hit in the propaganda mission, each post including multiple images of posters, stickers, or graffiti. BigButternutJoe/Cooper then added:

Learned quite a lot from this weekend. Our next campaign is going to be smooth, efficient, and with even better designs. Keep a look out.

Phoenix Reich GSU Nov 16
BigButternutJoe/Casey Cooper post about white power materials at Georgia State University
Phoenix Reich Tech Nov 16
BigButternutJoe/Casey Cooper post about white power materials at Georgia Tech
Phoenix Reich KSU Nov 16
BigButternutJoe/Casey Cooper post about white power materials at Kennesaw State University
Phoenix Reich frat graffiti Nov 16
Graffiti at fraternity landmark threatens violence against “anti-whites”
  1.       On January 24, 2017, Cooper’s Twitter account posted thirteen images (in four different posts) of new “Alt-Right” stickers placed around Georgia Tech campus. Designs included “Join the Alt-Right,” “White America: Who Protects You & Your Family?” and “Diversity is a False God.” Seeking media attention, Cooper/BigButternutJoe tagged news stations in these posts and even followed up with a post providing the locations on the stickers on campus. (Twitter user @largeguyUUUU posted an image of the same propaganda at Georgia Tech, suggesting that he may also have been involved in this action.)
phoenix reich Tech jan 2017
January 2017 “Alt-Right” white nationalist materials at Georgia Tech campus, claimed by BigButternutJoe/Cooper on Twitter

These three incidents may not be the extent of Cooper’s street/campus propaganda efforts, though. The stickers that first surfaced around Georgia Tech in January have now popped up on other campuses. There is significant circumstantial evidence that Cooper also placed racist propaganda in a couple of Atlanta areas.

We already discussed the “Fash the Nation” sticker at King of Pops in Inman Park, which BigButternutJoe/Casey Cooper took responsibility for online. From November 2016 to February 2017, the Inman Park neighborhood was repeatedly hit with racist and fascist propaganda, with up to three dozen stickers appearing at a time. Some of the stickers that appeared in this neighborhood were the Patrick Sharp-produced “Alt-Right” cityscape design, stickers produced by Tightrope (a business which circulates Klan and neo-Nazi materials), and finally the newer “Alt-Right” designs which premiered on Georgia Tech campus in January 2017 (a campus action claimed by Cooper). Starting November 2016, anti-fascists removed well over 150 far-Right and racist stickers posted around Inman Park, the nearby Historic Fourth Ward skate-park, and the Atlanta Beltline. Cooper’s apartment is less than a 20-minute stroll from the epicenter of the Inman Park propaganda campaign.

Finally, approximately ten stickers from Tightrope — the Klan/neo-Nazi business – were found in Midtown Atlanta by antifascists in December 2016. These stickers were placed on Spring Street between 17th and 18th, as well as on 17th between Spring Street and West Peachtree Street. In other words: they all appeared within a block of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. (The stickers were also a block away from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, which is near John Marshall.)

Conclusion

Between white nationalist organizing, racist propaganda campaigns, instigating abuse and making threats, Casey Jordan Cooper has had a busy year. We hope that this documentation is shared widely, so that that Cooper’s identity as a militant racist is known to those who must deal with him daily, and to whom he may pose a threat. To collectively oppose racist organizing in our communities, it is important to know who is responsible.

Cooper’s recent white power agitation provides a clear case study of how small circles of Alt-Right racists are attempting to move from internet posting to street-level propaganda runs, networking events, and infrastructure-building for their movement. If anti-racists are strategic, we can counteract and undermine many of these fledgling efforts.

As always, we encourage anyone with information on racist and fascist organizing in our region to get in contact and share what you know.

NOTES

[1] Three comedy events featuring “Casey J. Cooper” were: “Dottie Drops Trou” at 368 Ponce in Atlanta on 8/31/2015, “Out of Ideas: A Sketch Show We Made” at 7 Stages in Atlanta on 10/16/2015, and “BattleActs! Marches On!” at Academy Theatre in Hapeville on 3/19/2016.

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