Peter Thiel’s name was recently removed from the list of speakers for the annual gathering of the Property and Freedom Society, a group that claims to promote “uncompromising intellectual radicalism.”
He “is not attending this event,” a spokesperson told The Huffington Post. It’s not clear whether Thiel had any contact with the group, and Thiel’s spokesperson did not provide any additional details. The event’s organizers did not respond to requests for comment.
The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote in June that the Property and Freedom Society annual event is “white nationalist-friendly,” saying the group has welcomed “several of the most prominent white nationalists in America” to its conferences, which also host academics and other intellectuals.
The billionaire Paypal co-founder, Facebook board member and Trump supporter was listed on agenda for the group’s meeting in Turkey as giving a talk titled “In Praise of Free Market Monopoly.” Thiel has written previously that successful companies are effectively monopolies, while companies go bust when they do not quash competition effectively.
Thiel’s name was removed after HuffPost asked questions about it. His appearance on the list of speakers is yet another example of the welcome embrace white nationalists and the groups that support them have extended to the Trump campaign, and that Trump and his supporters have inconsistently reciprocated.
The Trump campaign has openly flirted with white supremacists and anti-Semites. Trump has retweeted an anti-Semitic meme, put a white nationalist on his delegate list and attacked the impartiality of a judge with Mexican parents.
Last week, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke said Trump’s candidacy has empowered him to run again for Senate in Louisiana. In response, Trump rebuked Duke’s support for his presidential campaign, but then balked at whether he’d support a Democrat instead of the ex-Klansman.
Indeed, some of the very white supremacists who have praised Trump for taking their message mainstream have spoken at the Property and Freedom Society conference in the past.
For instance, white nationalist Jared Taylor has given a talk at the event. He told Buzzfeed News in May that Trump is the first candidate in a while to “say anything at all that resonates with a white advocate.” In a 2005 article titled “Africa In Our Midst ― The media suppress Katrina’s lessons,” Taylor wrote that, “when blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”
The Property and Freedom Society has also welcomed Tom Sunic, another white nationalist. In April, HuffPost’s Dana Liebelson obtained emails showing Sunic, along with Taylor, discussing how to rebrand the white nationalist American Freedom Party to help Trump’s campaign. The SPLC calls the American Freedom party “the most visible American white nationalist political party.”
In his emails, Sunic suggested the party “be a wee more diplomatic with the ms [mainstream] media. ... Instead of using the right word ‘white genocide’ let’s use ‘physical, administrative removal of Americans of European extraction.’ Instead of ‘white nationalists’ let’s use ‘white advocates’ or ‘advocates of European heritage.’”