A charter school principal in New Orleans has lost his job after video surfaced of him appearing to wear Nazi-associated rings.
The video, which appeared Thursday, shows then-Principal Nicholas Dean of Crescent Leadership Academy holding an American flag and a shield as he discusses talking to six journalists who “appeared to me completely soulless.”
Dean, who identifies himself in the video as Nick Andrews, is also seen wearing a helmet, goggles, and two rings closely associated with Nazism. One appears to be of the German Iron Cross and another a skull ring that was awarded to leading members of the Nazi party, according to the local Times-Picayune.
“If foreigners come here with Marxist ideas and Marxist tactics ... it’s my duty to be here,” Dean can be heard saying in the video.
Crescent Leadership Academy said Dean was terminated Thursday.
“Educators are role models, and they should prioritize this sacred role above all else,” Superintendent Kunjan Narechania said in a statement. “While the circumstances surrounding this decision are regrettable and damaging, I appreciate the board making a swift decision so that school can move forward and so that our community can continue to heal.”
Dean’s firing came as he was already being investigated after photos emerged of the principal standing next to a Confederate flag and a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee prior to its removal earlier this month.
“I didn’t go to protest for either side,” Dean told the Times-Picayune at the time. “I went because I am a historian, educator and New Orleans resident who wanted to observe this monumental event,” he said. “People who know me know that I am a crusader for children and I fight tirelessly on their behalf.”
But an investigation by the Times-Picayune also turned up a podcast that Dean was featured on ― under the alias Nick Andrews ― where he discusses his work in predominately black schools.
“I started seeing how the black community looked at each other and how race and tribe is so powerful for them, and I really respected that,” Dean says in the podcast. “Even though they fight a lot, kind of tribally, there’s a sense of unity among blacks that’s just understood. That was when I began my own kind of identity, if you will, quest.”
In the podcast, Dean refers to Take ‘Em Down NOLA ― a group that has advocated for removing Confederate monuments ― as a “black supremacy movement.”
Dean says in the podcast that he is not a white supremacist, but that by other people’s definition of one, he “most certainly” is. He adds that going to graduate school with “radical leftists” changed his worldview.
“If these people get their way, I don’t exist,” Dean says.
New Orleans has recently made a massive push to remove Confederate monuments in the city. After Robert E. Lee’s statue was taken down, Mayor Mitch Landrieu made an impassioned speech celebrating the removal.
“These statues are not just stone and metal,” Landrieu told a crowd at Gallier Hall. “They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy, ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement and the terror that it actually stood for.”
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