MOUNTAIN VIEW, Ark. – Billy Roper is having a difficult time with his newfound Twitter fame.
The open racist, self-described Nazi, and Mountain View resident attracted online attention after he appeared to be identified in a photo at the Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacy protests over the weekend (featured photo). Enjoying a loose relationship with the truth, Roper denied it was him on his Twitter account – before he later said it was him.
NEA Report has confirmed it was not him.
In the picture, the similar looking man is wearing a University of Arkansas Engineering shirt as he marches, torch in hand, to promote his skin color. The U of A chancellor tweeted the photo and quickly condemned it.
For those in Virginia, officials did not want the group of uneducated racists in their communities. Various government statements condemned their presence and activity. The Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, said, “all the white supremacists and the nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.”
For Roper, his home is in Mountain View, Arkansas. The shirt, which brought quick condemnation from the voice of the university, also gave others a clue as to where its wearer lived and who he was. It did not take long for social media users to search for the individual.
Notably, Roper’s name was let loose on social media by a well-known account which tracks racist behavior – Twitter.com/YesYoureRacist
However, Roper wasn’t ready to admit that it was him. In a number of tweets from his account at Twitter.com/RoperBilly, he seemed to earnestly deny his involvement for someone who is openly a white supremacist.
Eventually, Roper began to claim the picture as his. Many took him at his (latest) word. It would not be the truth, we later learned.
Who is Roper?
It is surprising Roper would feel the need to deny his involvement in the disgusting behavior in Charlottesville. As the Southern Poverty Law Center detailed, Roper is a well-documented racist, neo-nazi, and disturbingly, a former high school history teacher.
Roper may have reached his pinnacle of infamy on Sept. 11, 2001, when he sent out an E-mail, publicized by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to the Alliance’s membership of some 1,400 people even before the World Trade Center towers had collapsed: “The enemy of our enemy is, for now at least, our friends. We may not want them marrying our daughters, just as they would not want us marrying theirs. We may not want them in our societies, just as they would not want us in theirs. But anyone who is willing to drive a plane into a building to kill jews [sic] is alright [sic] with me. I wish our members had half as much testicular fortitude.” – SPLC
Anyone who is willing to drive a plane into a building to kill “jews” was “alright” with Roper on the morning of September 11, 2001. However, 16 years later, not much has changed in the Stone County man’s simple views.
The spokesman for former Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe even tweeted his own confirmation of “Billy” being in the photo – along with a less than stellar impression the nazi made at the governor’s office. The tweet was since deleted, however.
For now, Roper is enjoying his new-found fame by responding on Twitter to a plethora of messages from individuals who view racism, bigotry and ignorance with disdain. He has authored over 30 replies since this article began in the writing phase. He has let at least one know he is a gun owner and would resort to using it before fist-fighting the man.
All the while, Roper insists he is a “fifth generation Reconstruction survivor” and that “nobody suffered like we suffered” through the post-Civil War era.
“And for NO REASON,” Roper proclaimed, discounting the freeing of African slaves as a concern of his from the Civil War.
The protests have been widely condemned by most elected officials, past and present, in the United States. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a strong condemnation of the behavior.
Three people died and at least 19 were injured after the protests and the clashes between white supremacists and their counter-protesters. The racist protesters were in town to show their objection to the removal of a Robert E. Lee statute. Find more here.
Update – The referenced tweet from the former governor’s spokesman has since been deleted. The tweet, by Matt Decample, stated the photo “was Billy” and that he had started fights with members of the governor’s staff at Beebe’s office in Little Rock.
However, there is some speculation that Roper was being truthful, initially, and is actually lying in his claim to be the man in the photo. The “Yes You’re Racist” Twitter account also speculated it wasn’t Roper. Roper, seeming to be an attention seeker, could be claiming ownership hoping to benefit from the notoriety.
While the Mountain View man could change his story several more times before we know the truth, Roper’s racism, nazi claims, and repulsive past is proven. He is also attracting significant online attention with his claims, despite the verifiability of what he says.
Thus, we have updated the story with several corrections in language to note he claims it, without having been verified, but the attention the man is seeking and has gained from the incident remains accurate.
Roper admits in a tweet he is trolling those who have identified him as the protestor on Twitter. He said he is not the person pictured.
Aside from this, we’ve also been able to confirm Roper, a nazi activist, has tattoos not present on the individual seen in the Arkansas shirt. Thus, we feel confident Roper is not the man in the photo.
If you know who the man is, report it anonymously to firstname.lastname@example.org