Heyer was killed in an act of domestic terrorism as she counterprotested against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA organized by Unite The Right. The 32-year-old legal assistant for Miller Law Group was killed when a car reportedly driven by James Alex Fields, Jr. plowed into a group of protestors hurting 19 others. He has been arrested and charged with murder and other offenses. Kessler, though, had a different take on what happened and decided to share it on Twitter.
“Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist,” Kessler wrote in a since deleted tweet, which was posted on Friday along with a link to a story from the American neo-Nazi and white supremacist website The Daily Stormer, which also insulted Heyer. “Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time.”
That tweet resulted in white nationalist leaders turning against Kessler. The Los Angeles Times reported that fellow white nationalist Richard Spencer tweeted, “I will no longer associate w/ Jason Kessler; no one should. Heyer's death was deeply saddening. ‘Payback’ is a morally reprehensible idea.”
Tim Gionet, who was present at the Charlottesville rally and is better known by his Twitter handle @BakedAlaska, tweeted, “This is terribly wrong and vile. We should not rejoice at the people who died in Charlottesville just because we disagree with them," adding, "There is no place on the right for people who are advocating violence & spewing actual racial hatred. This is not who we are."
According to the New York Daily News, Kessler first tweeted that he had been hacked but later took responsibility for the message, blaming his tweet about Heyer on drugs, alcohol and the stress of death threats he's received since the Charlottesville rally.
"I repudiate the heinous tweet that was sent from my account last night. I have been under a crushing amount of stress & death threats," Kessler tweeted. "I'm taking ambien, xanax and I had been drinking last night. I sometimes wake up having done strange things I don't remember." Hours later, Kessler deleted his Twitter account.
In the wake of Heyer's tragic death, people have held memorial services and are signing petitions to replace Lee's statue with one of Heyer. "Let's replace the Confederate Statue, which is a disgrace to the United States, with a Statue, plaque or monument of this brave woman who gave her life defending Justice," reads a petition on Care2.
Heyer's mother, Susan Bro also said she would not speak with President Donald Trump after comments he made following her daughter's death.