Members of the Nationalist Social Club perform the Nazi salute at a demonstration outside the Fall River Public Library recently. Credit: Screenshot of NSC-131 video

A neo-Nazi group based mostly in Greater Boston has pushed into the South Coast, disrupting local LGBTQ+ events wearing black hoodies and masks. The demonstrations have stoked concern for local activists who say despite the threats they will not back down. 

The South Coast LGBTQ+ Network is recruiting volunteers to protect future events, including the Pride celebration this summer, and is hosting a community meeting to discuss ways to show a “unified, peaceful front in the face of this type of aggression,” said Andy Pollock, president of the Network. Pollock said they have also filed complaints to the Attorney General’s office to investigate the incidents as hate crimes.

“We will move forward,” he said in a recent interview. “But we have to make sure we have our own protection in place.” 

The group that has organized a string of recent demonstrations is The Nationalist Social Club, also known as NSC-131. It is classified as a neo-Nazi organization by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center, and is described as a street gang that “engages in schemes to troll or otherwise harass those who oppose them.” 

The neo-Nazi group is based mostly in Greater Boston. But in recent months, it has expanded its presence in the South Coast — targeting library events known as “Drag Queen Story Hour,” in which drag artists read books to children. 

The library has hosted these monthly events for over a year. It is only since November that they have become a target for NSC-131.

A Taunton police officer monitors the situation as members of NSC-131 demonstrate at the Taunton Public Library. Credit: South Coast LGBTQ+ Network

Clad in black hoodies and masks to obscure their faces, the neo-Nazi group disrupted two of these children’s reading events at the Fall River Public Library: one in November and another in December. Photos of the demonstration show the group performing the Nazi salute and holding a hand-painted sign that reads: “Drag queens are pedophiles.” 

The most recent NSC-131 demonstration was on Jan. 14, when the neo-Nazi group similarly disrupted a Drag Queen Story Hour at the Taunton Public Library. Jolene Westgate, a Taunton resident who volunteered for the event, described the fear of the children and parents as about a dozen neo-Nazis stormed into the public library.

“It was frightening for everyone in the room. But those children and families. My heart is breaking for them,” she said in a recent interview. 

Some parents fled the library with their children, she said. The neo-Nazis confronted the drag queen reading to about 30 children, shouting “pedophiles” and “groomers.”

South Coast LGBTQ+ Network, which organized the event, said all staff and volunteers of the Drag Queen Story Hour undergo a criminal record check — also known as a CORI check — which is the state’s procedure for screening individuals and is especially thorough for those working with children, Pollock said. 

He says NSC-131 is weaponizing the instinct to protect children as a method for peddling their agenda of homophobia and white nationalism.

According to NSC-131’s description on the social media site Gab, “The Nationalist Social Club is a pro-white, street-oriented fraternity dedicated to raising authentic resistance to the enemies of our people in the New England area.” 

Pollock says he is proud of the South Coast for its tolerance of folks of all races and sexual orientations. Still, he says, the recent demonstrations trigger painful memories. He led a vigil in 2006 after an 18-year-old attacked patrons with a hatchet at Puzzles Lounge, a local gay bar that has since closed. And as a 60-year old gay man, he says homophobia, from slurs to violence, are nothing new. 

But the street-gang styled organization of NSC-131 is different. 

“These are Nazis,” he said. “If not now, when do we act? Does it take someone getting killed first?” 

As the ADL describes it, NSC-131 was first organized in Boston in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and has steadily gained notoriety for marching through Boston Common in militia-style uniforms, brawling at LGBTQ events, and staging with racist propaganda at public parades. 

Last week, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office charged Christopher Hood Jr., described as the leader of NSC-131, with a civil rights violation for hanging a banner that read “Keep New England White” over a highway. 

It is unclear if NSC-131 has a local chapter in the South Coast or if the Boston-based group travels to disrupt different events across New England. 

Pollock said he has received support from local politicians and police when he informs them of the burgeoning threat to the LGBTQ+ community. He said he has not received a response from the Massachusetts AG’s office, though U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins has condemned the actions of NSC-131 and said she would establish a tip line to report similar activity. 

“For now, what we would like people to do is come to Pride,” Pollock said, referencing the annual event in June. “The more people show their support, the less these terrorists win.” 

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7 Comments

  1. If these hate groups truly believe in their cause as much as they profess to, why do they have to hide behind ski masks and/or white hoods? Is it perhaps because they’re afraid of being recognized and that their neighbors, coworkers, and others will see them for what they are?

  2. The article says “ South Coast LGBTQ+ Network is recruiting volunteers to protect future events,” but you don’t provide a link to volunteer. I haven’t been able to find any information on the South Coast LGBTQ+ Network website.

    1. Dave,
      Please reach out to me directly through Facebook (or other social media) and I can direct you to our resources.

  3. Thank you for publishing this story. I’d love to see NBL dig a little deeper, and expose these vile masked cowards by name.

  4. This group is highly reminiscent of activities of the Ku Klux Klan, with the hoods and salutes. All they need are the cross burnings on the lawn in front of the venues they congregate. They should be charged and prosecuted under RICO statutes.

  5. I’d like to remind these misguided fools trying to frighten and intimidate people who are different from you, that just several generations back, our fathers and uncles fought the same evil forces that you are now embracing. Like it or not, change is the only constant and there is no stopping it. The Golden Rule is the best way to live a life. Hate is a corrosive agent that eats the soul.

  6. I can still remember the 10 people that were at puzzles that night. I still remember Jacob Robida shoving me into the railing as I left the bar seconds before he decided to hurt my friends. I remember the vigil that we the patrons put on ( others showed up. It was peaceful no protests or haters I just want to make it very clear. Hate is horrible but lying is even worse

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