The Charlemagne Institute is a conservative nonprofit with a lofty goal: “Defending and advancing western civilization” and “lay[ing] the intellectual groundwork for a great awakening.”
What does that mean, exactly? Hard to say. The Bloomington group describes itself as an educational foundation based in the “Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman Tradition,” according to its website. But its blog, Intellectual Takeout, focuses a lot more on bashing socialism, worrying about what trans women are going to do to sports, and warning that “political correctness” is ruining our classrooms and “beauty pageants.”
For all the worry about PC culture, there is seemingly a limit to the kinds of speech the institute will allow. Last week, it “parted ways” with its academic internship director: 64-year-old John Elliott. The instigating force was a private email thread known as “Morning Hate,” which Elliott largely steered, according to Splinter News.
Morning Hate was where buttoned-up members of conservative institutions could let their hair down a little and “make their racist opinions known.” Back in 2015, the members were organizing an in-person “hate-up,” and Elliott offered some helpful short hands the group could use in “public places.”
Instead of calling Jewish people “Hebes,” he said, they should call them “Hawaiians.” Instead of calling black people “negroes”—or, in some cases, the N-word—they should call them “Alaskans.” Instead of Adolf Hitler, they should simply say “Our Friend.”
In other emails, he admiringly compared President Donald Trump to Hitler, saying he “reminded” Elliott of “our friend” who made “no mistakes” and had been “way ahead of his enemies (and allies).” He also referred to black people—“or really any people of color,” Splinter says—as “dindus,” which was short for “dindu nuffins” or “didn’t do nothing.”
His language wasn’t always coded. He called some people, including former mentees, “homos.” In 2016, he sent an email with the subject line, “Take a shower, Jew Boy.”
Chief Executive Officer Devin Foley says Elliott never shared his "darker side" with his colleagues at the institute, and that they remain "shocked, horrified, and utterly betrayed" by what they found in his emails. He says they're still investigating the "extent" of his influence and considering "different policies" so this doesn't happen again.
"There is no other way to say it," Foley said in a statement. "We were infiltrated. It's a terrible feeling."
Elliott himself is reportedly outside the country; several attempts by the Star Tribune to reach him were unsuccessful. He told Splinter that some of his remarks in Morning Hate were supposed to be “jokes.”
“But I realize they are offensive and wrong,” he said in a statement. “These emails were written during a period of time when I was underemployed and in a difficult space. I had networking meetings during this time with many people, including some whom were on the ‘Alt-Right.’”
In short, he said, he’d “flirted” with alt-right ideology, but he was sorry he ever expressed support for it.
“Since coming to The Charlemagne Institute, I have embraced its view that Western Civilization is all-inclusive. I reject the concept of ‘white nationalism’ totally.”
The institute, Foley says, will stick to its mission: trying to uphold the "universal ideas and principles of Western Civilization" against its opposing forces: "Cultural Marxists" on one side, and "White Nationalists/psuedo-Nazis" on the other.
Meanwhile, it will continue to produce blog posts like, ”Why we need alpha males,” “Income inequality is not the enemy,” and “No, I don’t care about women’s soccer, stop nagging me about it.”