Skip to content

Photo by iStock

Massachusetts Files Lawsuit Against Neo-Nazi Group for Violence and Harassment During Drag Events

The Massachusetts attorney general is suing the Nationalist Social Club, also known as NSC-131, after they allegedly attempted to disrupt events and harass people in violation of state civil rights laws.

The complaint from Attorney General Andrea Campbell alleges that members of the white nationalist club engaged in violent and coercive actions, such as attempts to disrupt and shut down events—including drag queen story events at libraries—and trespassing on private property. The group also allegedly carried out “patrols” that led to the group vandalizing public and private areas with graffiti and stickers. During these patrols, club members—some carrying weapons like knives and riot batons—hunted for “anti-white” activity in residential neighborhoods, the complaint says.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has classified NSC-131 as a neo-Nazi group with small, autonomous regional chapters across the United States, as well as small chapters in France, Hungary, and Germany.

“NSC-131 members consider themselves soldiers fighting a war against a hostile, Jewish-controlled system that is deliberately plotting the extinction of the white race,” the ADL explained. “Their goal is to form an underground network of white men who are willing to fight against their perceived enemies through localized direct actions.”

NSC-131 members in New England engage in activities aimed to identify and combat perceived enemies of “true white New Englanders,” according to the legal complaint. In pursuit of that goal, defendants in the case have allegedly carried out a series of violent and unlawful actions targeting those designated enemies. This included repeatedly attempting to disrupt public events organized by LGBTQ+ groups and interfering with the provision of emergency shelter to recent immigrants and refugees at local hotels in Massachusetts.

Club activities are regularly aggressive or violent. “To prepare club members to engage in physical violence, defendants periodically organize and provide combat and weapons trainings during which members practice fighting and engaging in coordinated maneuvers,” the complaint says. Aggressive clashes during club activities are filmed and used for propaganda or recruitment videos.

The lawsuit identifies two of the group’s leaders, Christopher Hood and Liam McNeil, as being responsible for NSC-131 activity in Massachusetts. Hood was previously charged with public fighting after a public altercation outside a drag queen story hour event in Boston in 2022, although a judge later ordered a not-guilty verdict due to a lack of evidence, The Washington Post reported.

The group targeted multiple such events (when a drag performer reads picture books to parents and young children, often in public libraries) between July 2022 and January 2023, with members wearing uniforms consisting of khaki pants, black shirts, ski masks, balaclavas, and black hats. The individuals assaulted members of the public, blocked access to events within libraries, and participated in street fighting, the complaint alleges.

At one event, a member allegedly tried to fight a parent, and another made shooting gestures at the performer and parents. In a 14 January 2023 event in Taunton, Massachusetts, NSC members burst into the room and began to harass families and the performer. Police eventually had to evacuate the performer through a side entrance. Afterward, the LGBTQ+ community group that organized this story hour stopped publicly disclosing the location of its events due to safety concerns.

The complaint also alleges that NSC members regularly displayed homophobic banners and shouted anti-LGBTQ+ slogans and slurs at the events.

NSC-131 members also allegedly targeted hotels that sheltered migrants through the state’s Emergency Housing Assistance program, aiming to intimidate and threaten people at the hotel. In videos and statements posted to NSC-131 social media accounts, the group claimed that the immigrants being sheltered were “invaders” who had come to the United States as part of a conspiracy to replace white Americans.

This is not an uncommon conspiracy theory espoused by neo-Nazis and white nationalists. “Great replacement” theories have been shared by a number of white supremacist extremists and mass shooters, including the man who attacked a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in May 2022, and the man who attacked an El Paso, Texas, Walmart in 2021.

ADL research found that about 60 percent of extremism murders committed in the United States between 2009 and 2019 were committed by people espousing white supremacist ideologies like the replacement theory.

“It is the most mass-violence-inspiring idea in white supremacist circles right now,” Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, told The New York Times in May 2022. “This particular idea has superseded almost everything else in white supremacist circles to become the unifying idea across borders.”