In the three and a half years I’ve been writing about cannabis for the Mercury, no story has ever been as upsetting to cover than the outing of the majority owner of Oregon cannabis testing lab OG Analytical as a white separatist with Nazi sympathizer tendencies. No one likes to discover that a well-respected, friendly, successful leader in their shared work field is a racist. (Well, unless you are a racist yourself—perhaps those people like this.) Yesterday some more news broke regarding the case of Bethany Sherman, CEO and majority owner of OG Analytical.
Let’s backtrack: In December 2017, it was revealed that Sherman, along with lab co-owner and father of her child Matthew Combs, were outed as having a shocking, hate-filled double life. As Noelle Crombie of the Oregonian wrote, “Eugene Antifa alleged in a report... that Sherman and Combs are neo-Nazis, and that Combs is an organizer for the American Patriots Brigade, which it said serves as a support group for the neo-Nazi gang American Front. It also alleges that Sherman has supplied food and support for neo-Nazi gatherings and operated a Twitter account under the handle, @14th_word.... The Anti-Defamation League says ‘14 words’ is a white supremacist slogan, meaning, ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’”
Gathered text/chat transcripts and social media posts showed Combs using slurs, a Nazi salute, and other troubling things. In a screenshot of a tweet, Combs refers to Sherman, saying she baked swastika-shaped cookies for a Hitler birthday celebration.
Sherman came out in strong denial that she was a Neo-nazi, but confessed to having railcars of pride in her white heritage. Few things make me feel more uncomfortable and itchy about being a person of whiteness than hearing someone expound on their white pride.
The response was swift and severe. OG Analytical was instantaneously shunned, their business evaporating nearly overnight. The employees were unanimous in their wholesale disgust and rejection of the repulsive views held by Sherman and Combs, and it went out of business shortly after. A dozen employees recently filed suit for unpaid wages.
But as the old saying goes, “You can’t keep a good swastika-shaped-cookie-baking white separatist down,” which Sherman proved when she recently filed a defamation suit against the Eugene Antifa group that posted the accusations. According to the Oregonian, “Sherman claims her business OG Analytics cratered and she was forced to flee Oregon after Eugene Antifa publicized her writings in an online message board and social media posts ‘out of context.’” Because taken “in context,” viewpoints espousing separation of races come across far better. (Also, “forced to flee” is somewhat ironic when speaking about a neo-Nazi, right? It’s not just me?)
Sherman proved that fear-filled birds of a white feather tend to stick together, having retained attorney William Johnson, a waste of space who prefers to be described not as a “white separatist” but rather as a “white nationalist” who chairs the far-right American Freedom Party. (Fun fact about this scumball: In the 1980s, he proposed legislation that would have stripped non-white Americans of their citizenship. But again, “white nationalist,” if you please.)
The Civil Liberties Defense Center is defending the Eugene Antifa pro bono, and called Sherman’s suit “frivolous,” stating, “The fact that, once Sherman was exposed as a neo-Nazi, plaintiffs lost business and were subject to a boycott should not be surprising to plaintiffs. Nothing posted on the website at issue is actionable—people simply do not like Nazis and do not want to be affiliated with them or their racist ideology.”
Although numerous rocks were overturned, Sherman and Johnson were not located, and were thus unable to provide any comment. We’ll check at any upcoming cross burnings in an attempt to follow up with these garbage monsters.