Swipe right if you’re white: Wayne Dukes wants to hook up with Hernando County’s racists

Looking to expand his horizons, Hernando County commissioner Wayne Dukes has extended an invitation to meet with local white supremacists.

“Can we put out a bulletin to invite on an off day all the white supremacists in Hernando County?” Dukes asked at a recent commission meeting. “I have never met one.”

Dukes said he was looking to meet up with Hernando County’s white supremacists because racism – or what he called “bad things” – no longer exists.

“It went away. It’s gone,” said Dukes, speaking a few hundred feet from a Confederate monument in a city that was for years the lynching capital of the South and that was renamed to honor a violently pro-slavery congressman from another state.

Dukes’ invitation is expected to be met with plenty of enthusiasm, what with all the confirmed white supremacist in Hernando County who will be pleased to gain access to another elected official.

For starters, there may be an appearance by the local counter-protesters from the June event in Brooksville, where several white supremacists accosted otherwise peaceful protestors. Police arrested one of them, whose Facebook account previously displayed his white supremacist tattoos among other symbols associated with hate groups, after he pulled a machete from his pants.

There’s even a chance the group of counter-protestors who could be heard chanting “white is right” will provide the music for Dukes’ supremacy shindig.

Dukes may get to meet Taylor Parker-Dipeppe, a Spring Hill man arrested in February and charged with taking part in a nationwide neo-Nazi campaign to harass journalists, among others.

(It’s possible Parker-Dipeppe will need to detailed directions as he delivered his swastika-laden flier to the wrong address while attempting to intimidate a journalist, so have your grandkids help you set up your Garmin, Wayne!)

Dukes could also get a visit from Hernando County’s Gabrielle Price, who was arrested on drug and weapon charges in 2017 along with four others police say were self-described neo-Nazis.

Or maybe the members of the neo-Nazi group who infamously and brazenly delivered their hate-filled literature door to door in Spring Hill in 2004 will attend.

It’s also possible Dukes will get a visit from Hernando County resident Anthony Rushford, who attempted to intimidate the people of Sanford in 2012. But don’t worry about your party getting out of control, Wayne. Rushford said he and his cohorts aren’t the usual idiots you see waving around Nazi flags and causing problems.

“Of course, bearing the swastika, people confuse us with some of the other knucklehead groups that just run around acting like fools,” he told the Miami New Times.

When the meeting is over, maybe a member of the active Hernando County chapter of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club, which has been deemed an actual racist terrorist group, can take Dukes for a spin and let him pop a wheelie on a hog.

If all those new friends aren’t enough for Dukes, he can always take his quest international while supporting a local business. That’s right, Citrus County’s own Sharkhunters International is a Southern Poverty Law Center-recognized hate group that leads tours to Nazi sites like Hitler’s vacation home. And lest you confuse these folks with curious historians, remember their ranks include actual former SS members and they advertise in neo-Nazi publications.

But if no white supremacists show up, it’s possible Dukes can just ask fellow commissioner Steve Champion to introduce him to some. Champion was previously an administrator on a Facebook group that hosted some violent, racist rants.

Have fun with all your new friends, Wayne!

Frank Fencil

Frank Fencil is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades' experience. He has uncovered government corruption, toppled dirty police forces and covered two foreign wars as an international correspondent. He chose to return to his native Spring Hill in hopes of giving his hometown the quality watchdog journalism it deserves.

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