A substitute teacher and former field hockey coach at an all-girls Catholic high school in Maryland was fired after administrators were tipped off that he was a white nationalist, found to be affiliated with alt-right thought leader Richard Spencer.
Turns out that Greg Conte, 29, who had been working at the Academy of the Holy Cross high school since at least 2014, was moonlighting as director of operations at the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank founded by Spencer.
The school received an anonymous tip-off in the form of an email regarding Conte in late October, the school’s communications director, Danielle Ballantine, confirmed to VICE News. Ballantine said the school was able to confirm the contents of the email very quickly. Days later, school president Kathleen Ryan Prebble confronted Conte, who confessed to his alternate white nationalist identity, and fired him.
After his firing, Conte went public with his identity and some students found out. Last week, in response to students’ discovery, Prebble wrote a letter to parents explaining what had happened. The following day, the school held an assembly for students to give them an opportunity to ask questions.
“Today I learned that it is coming to our students’ attention via social media that former coach and substitute teacher Greg Conte is a member of the ‘alt-right’ movement,” Prebble wrote. “The information they are receiving is accurate, including his admission that he was fired from Holy Cross immediately after his affiliation with the ‘alt-right’ came to my attention. Prior to his firing, he was using an alternate identity in his work with this atrocious group.”
Conte’s Twitter, which uses his alt-right moniker “Greg Ritter,” offers a glimpse into his white supremacy and misogyny. In one exchange, Conte says he wants to hold off having children for a few years in order to fight the alt-right cause. “Obvi I’m pro having white kids,” Conte wrote. “But we’re at the critical moment. Time to devote maximum resources to the fight.”
“Give it 3-5 years,” Conte continues. “Then the AltRight can knock up every girl from here to Vladivostok.”
In another tweet, Conte remarks, “Roy Moore is right on two issues: Russia and women. That’s all that matters.”
In Prebble’s letter to parents, she assured them she’d found no evidence that Conte had tried to peddle his ideas in the classroom.
“As for his potential impact on our girls, I conducted an investigation at the time of his firing and determined there was no reason to think that he negatively influenced any of our girls with his philosophy,” Prebble wrote. “It appears at the time he was focused on maintaining an appropriate persona for our school environment.”
Some of Conte’s students identified him in footage of the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August. His moniker “Greg Ritter” appears on organizing documents for Spencer’s speaking appearance at the University of Florida in Gainesville in October. The event itself was a bust, but in the hours following, three neo-Nazis who’d traveled to Gainesville to see Spencer speak were arrested after one of them allegedly tried to kill a protester.
An Atlanta-based antifa group originally connected the dots from “Greg Conte” to “Greg Ritter” after obtaining Spencer’s planning documents for the Gainesville event. The document listed a phone number for “Ritter,” which activists also found listed under the name “Greg Conte” on the website for a technology recruiting firm, Sutton Whitfield LLC, where he’d previously worked as an Equal Employment Opportunity officer.
Since being fired, Conte has doubled down on his views. “Diversity leads to social problems, it leads to conflict, it leads to war,” Conte told abc7 in an interview, while holding a cigar. “I was a little bit disappointed, though — I mean, we’re at the point where the beliefs of people in the alt-right are fairly common.” Spencer and other prominent alt-righters praised his media performance.
“Greg Conte out-Spencer-ed Richard Spencer,” Spencer declared on Twitter. “Fantastic interview and great cigar-smoking aesthetic.
Conte also claims he’s received an outpouring of support on Twitter. “It’s wonderful to see all these people coming out in support of me on Twitter,” he wrote. “Thank you, all. Now… once the Alt-Right takes over IRL, we cannot be stopped.”
Cover: White nationalist demonstrators [including Greg Conte, in dark-red tie] protest in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert