Inside the Neo-Nazi Trial of 'Boneface', the Man They Think Made Them Look Bad

It took neo-Nazi groups two public “trials” to realize they had been tricked by a fellow racist and now they’re very sorry.
Kent “Boneface” McLellan seen at a recent neo-Nazi rally in Florida.
Kent “Boneface” McLellan seen at a recent neo-Nazi rally in Florida. Photo v

It took two public “trials,” faked documents, and plenty of embarrassment, but it seems American neo-Nazis are done with the“Boneface hype.” 

With his face covered in tattoos that give him the look of Marvel comic book character Red Skull, Kent “Boneface” McLellan is a hard man to miss, and was recently heavily featured in the national U.S. media as he became the face of a neo-Nazi rally in Florida. McLellan has been active for years in the American far-right scene but over the last year, he vaulted to the forefront of the U.S. neo-Nazi movement as his fellow racists swooned over his wild stories about fighting with the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, an infamous fighting group with neo-Nazi ties. 


Boneface appeared on several neo-Nazi podcasts, was recruited into several groups, and at the recent rally, touted as the largest of the year, he was put front row and center by Christopher Pohlhaus, the leader of the neo-Nazi group Blood Tribe and a key organizer of the rally, had McLellan stand next to him, with his face uncovered, during the rally in the hope his tattoos would freak people out. It sure worked. 

This notoriety came as a double-edged sword though, because some folks seeing and hearing his stories began to publicly question him and one far-right conspiracist even fully latched onto him as “proof” that neo-Nazis are government funded. A Telegram channel was even created with the singular focus to prove Boneface was a “larper.” Neo-Nazis in Ukraine began to call out their American counterparts, saying McLellan never fought with them. What was supposed to be a show of force for increasingly brazen U.S. neo-Nazis instead turned into yet-another embarrassing spectacle of incompetence and infighting. 

So, to see if they had a liar in their midst, Pohlhaus and his fellow members of Blood Tribe made the baffling decision to hold a public trial of their member. This two-day event consisted of the neo-Nazis going over “evidence” for and against Boneface’s involvement in the Ukraine war for hours. It was broadcast on the Pohlhaus’s Telegram page and simulcast to other racist video streaming services.


On the first night of the trial, which VICE News watched for hours for some ungodly reason, it seemed like Boneface—who referred to himself solely in the third person—was winning over the Blood Tribe’s leaders. How could they not be swayed by arguments like he accidentally got his travel documents wet in the rain earlier that day and that’s why they looked forged, and that he has a legion of fans who won’t stop photoshopping his face onto actual photos of Azov soldiers? But when he was asked to speak Ukrainian things fell apart.

The neo-Nazi said he knew how to speak it and attempted to get some sentances out but, according to a person listening who knows Ukrainian, he was just saying random words and making vaguely Slavic noises. 


Boneface during his trial. Photo via screenshot.

Two nights later, on night two of the trial, the vibe was very different. Possibly sensing what was coming, Boneface didn’t show up for his trial and was subsequently buried by all of his former neo-Nazi pals. They went over step-by-step how the obvious forgeries were forgeries, how the photoshopped photos were now suspicious, and where the videos that Boneface claimed was proof he was there originally come from. It was an angry tense affair. During the final moments of the trial, one neo-Nazi made a vague call for violence against their former member. 

“I'm not going to state exactly what I told everyone else, that would be silly of me, but use your imagination. People like this cannot be tolerated to make a mockery of what we do,” a neo-Nazi going by Ronald said during the public trial of a man calling himself Boneface with no hint of irony. 


Now, the Blood Tribe and other groups who tout their vetting skills need to grapple with how they were made to look by a man they, just days ago, were championing. One video shows that Pohlhaus was so smitten with Boneface that he invited him to do a “blood ritual” where the tatted-up neo-Nazi was asked to cut his hand on a spear that other initiates had bled on. In perhaps a precursor of the problems he would cause the group, Boneface failed several times to draw blood. Elsewhere in Naziland, Boneface was even pushed out as an admin and leader of a group of American Banderites (Ukrainian Nationalists.) After Boneface's excommunication from the Blood Tribe, the group, which had written glowingly about the tatted-up Nazi time and time again, also apologized for getting caught up in fanboying over Boneface. 

“We apologize for ever supporting him because, to be honest everybody did,” they wrote. “It was a hype and sadly we also fell into the Boneface hype.”  

Now, the Boneface hype is no more,  the man's reputation among the far-right is in tatters, and even the neo- Nazis are at a loss for what's next for their former hero. 

"I imagine he's going to have a hard time,” said Pohlhaus. "A real hard time because you know a guy like that ain't going to fit in a regular society.”