As It Happens

How student journalists broke the story about an alleged neo-Nazi in Montreal

A prolific neo-Nazi figure known online as "Zeiger" appears to be an IT consultant living in Montreal, according to an exclusive investigation by the Montreal Gazette.

Montreal Gazette links prolific Daily Stormer writer known as 'Zeiger' to Canadian IT consultant

The man who calls himself Zeiger appears in footage from the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. (Submitted by Shannon Carranco)

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A  prolific neo-Nazi figure known online as "Zeiger" appears to be an IT consultant living in Montreal, according to an exclusive investigation by the Montreal Gazette.

The newspaper has linked Zeiger, a writer for the popular white supremacist website the Daily Stormer, to a man named Gabriel Sohier Chaput.

The paper attempted to reach Chaput for comment via phone, courier and by knocking on his door — to no avail.

As It Happens has not independently confirmed this story.

The story was co-authored by Christopher Curtis of the Gazette and student journalists Shannon Carranco and Jon Milton, both of whom work for the Link, a student newspaper at Concordia University. 

Carranco told As It Happens host Carol Off what they uncovered. Here is part of that conversation.

Tell us, first of all, about Zeiger.

Zeiger is prominent figure on these neo-Nazi online forums. He's the No. 2 writer at the Daily Stormer, which previously branded itself as the world's No. 1 neo-Nazi website.

He's written hundreds of articles and essays, and he's been on multiple podcasts that talk about neo-Nazi ideology and spread hate.

For people who maybe think they have heard the Daily Stormer, the one story that they perhaps most connect it with is what happened in Charlottesville. What relationship does the Daily Stormer have with that?

After Charlottesville, they posted an article about Heather Heyer, who was the 32-year-old woman who was murdered in Charlottesville protesting against the neo-Nazi march.

I believe it was called "Heather Heyer Is A Childless 32-year-old Fat Slut."

[Editor's note: The full title of the article, according the Gazette, was "Heather Heyer: A Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident Was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut."]

A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of victim, Heather Heyer, sits in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. Heyer died when a car rammed into a group of people who were protesting the presence of white supremacists who had gathered in the city for a rally. (Steve Helber/Associated Press)

How high up in that organization of the Daily Stormer is Zeiger?

Zeiger and [Daily Storm founder] Andrew [Anglin] basically revolutionized the way that neo-Nazi ideology can be shared on the internet through writing about it with humour. 

The site is targeted at younger people, the younger generation, so they use meme culture and humour in their writing to appeal to young white men.

When did you first hear the possibility that Zeiger might actually be a man who lives in Montreal?

A few months ago, my colleague Jon Milton and I were contacted by an anti-fascist group who said that they had some very interesting information on Zeiger and that they had connected him to a man named Gabriel Sohier Chaput in Montreal.

Through looking at Charlottesville footage, where Zeiger was present, and cross-referencing photos that he had posted of himself under the pseudonym Zeiger online, they found similar photos of a man named Gabriel Sohier Chaput who lived in Montreal in Rosemont.

Zeiger also posted his home address on one of these private chat forums inviting young white men, Montrealers, to come to his house for little parties, basically, where they would get together and have a few beers and chat about their ideology.

If you look up the address that Zeiger provided in these private chat rooms, the same address belongs to a company named GSC Gestio​n. It's a private consulting firm that belongs to a man named Gabriel Sohier Chaput.​

Zeiger's image appears on a website called Blanche Europe (white Europe). The well-known neo-Nazi online writer has linked to a Montreal IT consultant. (Submitted by Shannon Carranco)

The information that was provided to you was from this anti-fascist group that was among the Antifa protesters, as they're called, and they have a vested interest in this kind of material. Were you able to test it? Did you find the information they provided to be credible?

We did the same research that they did.

He also says in one of these podcasts that he went to high school in Outremont.

So that led the anti-fascists to look through many yearbooks for a couple different Outremont high schools, and they found a photo of Gabriel Sohier Chaput from Paul-Gérin-Lajoie-d'Outremont high school that perfectly matched one of Zeiger's online profiles.

Have you been able to set your eyes on Gabriel Sohier Chaput in Montreal?

No, we haven't found him.

We've made multiple attempts to contact him through emailing and calling his father.

We called his brother three times. The first two times, he hung up on my colleague Christopher Curtis.

We sent a letter by courier to his home, and we went to his home twice and rang his doorbell and nobody has answered.

Can I just ask, why does it matter? I mean, he obviously holds vile views no matter if he's Zeiger or Gabriel Sohier Chaput. Has he done anything illegal?​

To my knowledge, Gabriel Sohier Chaput hasn't done anything illegal.

But, you know, he's using the internet and he's using these chat forums to create a group of neo-Nazis in Montreal.

And, you know, they might be 10, 15, 20 right now, but those numbers are growing. And if he's not stopped and if these guys are not outed, who knows what could happen?

It just takes one of these people who, you know, may have some kind of mental illness to pick up a gun and go outside.

You're a student journalist at Concordia University you work for the Link. And now that you have put all this together — you did work on this, you and Jon Milton — this has become a national story. What do you make of that?

 I don't think either of us thought it would have this kind of ... national interest, but we're very happy.

Are you at all concerned for your own security?

We're pretty consistently looking over our shoulder when we walk down the street.

I personally think it's much better to out these guys and put myself in a place where I may not be as secure as I was yesterday than let them continue organizing.

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Jeanne Armstrong. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.