December 6, 2017 — Eugene Antifa anti-hate group published an article that exposes the founders of one of Oregon’s top cannabis testing labs, OG Analytical, as associating with white supremacists. In the damning article they show Mathew Combs, the labs social media director, and Bethany Sherman, the labs CEO, have been involved in secretive white nationalist chat groups online, promoted white supremacy views on Twitter, and in the case of Mathew Combs, a main organizer of American Patriots Brigade (APB), a well known American Front (AF) neo-nazi “support” group. (Disclaimer: OG Analytical has been an advertiser in Oregon Cannabis Connection)
The Eugene Antifa, in concert with other antifa groups in the Pacific Northwest, gained access to the logs of a Discord server commonly used by PNW fascist groups under the name “Cascadian Coffee Company” (CCC). Discord is a chat app that white supremacists often use for discreet communication. The PNW groups use the app a lot, according to the article, and it contains thousands of communications relating to their events and rallies.
“Until now, Combs has operated fairly anonymously to the public eye as a neo-Nazi,” Eugene Antifa explain in their article. “He serves as Jimmy Marr’s left hand man and Jake Laskey’s right hand man; most notably, Matthew Combs is the American Patriots Brigade (APB) organizer, a support group for the neo-Nazi gang American Front (AF).”
The article is full of screen shots showing Combs direct involvement in the AF and use of the CCC chat app to organize rallies, including a Holocaust denial rally in April 24, 2017 that occurred in Springfield, Oregon. Combs is one of the leaders of the local APB group. Eugene Antifa reports:
“Matt Combs joined Jimmy Marr and numerous other neo-Nazis (who are also Cascadian Coffee Company Discord users) on April 24, 2017, in what can only be described as a Holocaust denial demonstration. At the event, which took place in front of Jimmy and Judy Marr’s residence at 1321 G Street in Springfield, Oregon, Matt Combs wears a balaclava and a green flight jacket with American Patriots Brigade and American Front Support 16 patches. He is seen armed with a mini baseball bat and a high powered laser. Combs feels quite comfortable sieg heiling alongside his other neo-Nazi associates.”
Jimmy Marr is a notorious neo-nazi who lives in Springfield. His truck is often seen around the area covered in neo-nazi symbols and offensive terms and sayings to try and spread their message of hate and bigotry. Jake Laskey, as well, is a well known no-nazi that served 11 years for attacking the Temple Beth Israel Synagogue in Eugene, Oregon.
Combs was also linked by Eugene Antifa to the twitter handle @basedMLC which he uses to spread white supremacist beliefs. He was previously known as “Blackhat16”, but has since been changed to the “odal rune” symbol, a symbol often used by neo-nazis. The article also indicates Combs runs the @16_supportAPB, a twitter account that directly represents the APB:
Bethany Sherman issued a statement to Oregon Cannabis Connection (OCC) and a few other media outlets. She states in the letter that the article is a, “Very twisted in their portrayal of events.” She denies being a part of any “neo-nazi” group and says her family (which includes her boyfriend Mathew Combs) has been mischaracterized. She also calls Eugene Antifa “ a local chapter of an extremist, domestic terrorist organization.” Sherman’s statement said, in part:
“My only crime is a thought crime, akin to 1984. I believe that the world is tapestry of beautiful colors, each one full of a wealth of cultural heritage, and that each culture has a right to be proud of their heritage, and an obligation to protect and preserve that culture. I believe that this tapestry is not exclusive of European Americans, and I find it extremely disconcerting that it is admired and revered to have “Gay Pride,” “Black Pride,” “Asian Pride,” or pride in any other cultural heritage, but if you have “White Pride,” it automatically makes you a Nazi, and you are ostracized, attacked, and lynched by your community. I admit, I am proud that I am white, and I’m not ashamed of my heritage.”
But, Sherman also had a twitter account, Mrs.Blackhat (@14th_word), which has been pulled down. That account showed her support for nationalist white supremacist views. Her description on the account stated, “#nationalist Mommy. Our children deserve to be raised in a whoolesome environment free of oppression against whites. #Pride #Cascadia #14words”
To be clear, the term 14th word is a white supremacist slogan that has been used for many years. The Anti-Defamation League explains on their website:
“14 Words” is a reference to the most popular white supremacist slogan in the world: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The slogan was coined by David Lane, a member of the white supremacist terrorist group known as The Order (Lane died in prison in 2007). The term reflects the primary white supremacist worldview in the late 20th and early 21st centuries: that unless immediate action is taken, the white race is doomed to extinction by an alleged “rising tide of color” purportedly controlled and manipulated by Jews.”
It seems to be a denial of reality to say her “family” is not associated with neo-nazis when her boyfriend, and father of her child, is participating in a Holocaust denial rally and making nazi salutes, all of which are documented with pictures in the article. Her hashtag “Pride”, which is referring to her own “white pride” stance, is a white supremacist slogan.
Also, her “statement” (see below) was an attempt to play the victim, which seems apropos since she also believes whites are “victimized”. She even claims the companies employees are victims too, placing all the blame on Eugene Antifa for outing the couple publicly. It seems that the employees may well be victims, but as a result of her secret beliefs also shared by Combs, not the Antifa who simply shined light on reality. The article is half screen shots and lets the comments tell a large portion of the story.
Regardless of her direct involvement in any of these groups, her mere association with them is enough to call into question her statement and its veracity. Indeed, Combs’ deep involvement makes her guilty by association … in every way.
On December 5th, there was chatter of a staff walk-out, but Sherman said she sent them home.
“My staff did not “walk out”, explained Sherman in an email to OCC. “I understandingly allowed them all to go home early to process after we have a company conversation.”
That should be an interesting conversation, to be sure. As her explanation below indicates, she has resigned as CEO and offered the company for sale.
Bethany Sherman’s statement to the media:
December 6, 2017,
An article was recently put out about me, my family, and my company by Eugene Antifa, a local chapter of an extremist, domestic terrorist organization. I would like to address these claims head-on.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a “Neo-Nazi” or affiliated with any “Neo-Nazi” group or any other extremist organization. The accusations made against me and my family are very upsetting to me, and I want to make it clear that this is not who we are. The contents of this article are very twisted in their portrayal of events.
My only crime is a thought crime, akin to 1984. I believe that the world is tapestry of beautiful colors, each one full of a wealth of cultural heritage, and that each culture has a right to be proud of their heritage, and an obligation to protect and preserve that culture. I believe that this tapestry is not exclusive of European Americans, and I find it extremely disconcerting that it is admired and revered to have “Gay Pride,” “Black Pride,” “Asian Pride,” or pride in any other cultural heritage, but if you have “White Pride,” it automatically makes you a Nazi, and you are ostracized, attacked, and lynched by your community. I admit, I am proud that I am white, and I’m not ashamed of my heritage. And I admit that I have been so conditioned to feel shame about this pride that I discreetly sought community where I could. Knowing the potential ramifications of my actions, I did my best to keep them incredibly discreet. I did not share this activity or my believes with anyone in my professional community. I further admit that I also quickly realized that this was not the supportive online community I had found was not the right community for me, and somewhere near half a year ago I withdrew all communication with that community. To be clear, this community was NOT any faction of ANY “Neo-Nazi” organization. The community I’m referring to is comprised of hard working, good-hearted people like you and like me, who are forced into secrecy because they share similar beliefs, which Eugene Antifa is now proving to be true: that being White and having pride in your cultural heritage will make you the victim of hate crimes. I learned a great deal from this experience, and have learned even more in the last 24 hours since this article was published.
My hiring practices, my business partnerships, and my friendships should say enough about the fact that neither myself, nor my company has in any way acted in a discriminatory fashion against anyone for their race, religion, politics, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, disability, or other. We just hosted our Company Christmas party and I gladly welcomed a wealth of diversity into the joyous occasion. I have donated thousands of dollars to support organizations like the Human Rights Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Red Cross, and The MS Society. I have created jobs for 15 people, I’ve volunteered hundreds of hours to organizations like Good Will, CALC, and The State of Oregon to help build and establish regulations. I have founded organizations whose aim to bring people together for the betterment of our communities. I am a human being, just like you, and I’ve worked very hard to give back and to create a safe and accessible industry for ALL Oregonians. I am the victim of a hate crime, perpetrated by an anonymous organization whose primary aim is to ruin other peoples’ lives. I have never made any such attempts at hurting any other human being, in any way (including via defamatory articles or social media posts) for any reason, nor have I EVER made any discriminatory overtures. Let’s be clear about this: Neither myself, nor my company, have ever, EVER practiced, preached, or recruited anyone to practice or preach hate or hateful rhetoric in ANY way. I hope that my community can find it within themselves to see beyond these hurtful claims at who I really am, at the work I’ve done in this community to help build it, and trust that these claims don’t fit me; that I am a good, loving person, committed to my community, and that this commitment has no shred of hate or discrimination in it.
The remarks made in this article have had a devastating effect on not only me, but on each of my 14 hardworking employees who are completely unrelated to the contents of the aforementioned article. To be clear, I still have yet to receive a single dollar in profit from OG Analytical, instead diverting the company earnings to better support my employees for 4 years in a row. I am proud that we launched a full benefits program this year, including health, vision, dental, and vacation time, and have elected to payout employee bonuses each year instead of paying out profits to owners. My employees have been dedicated to our mission of building a sustainable cannabis testing industry, which, in odd contrast, requires that we remove all bias from the work we do. By boycotting OGA, you’re not hurting me, you’re hurting the 14 hardworking people unrelated to this accusation who rely on OGA for their living.
This being said, the devastating impacts of this article are clear, regardless of any statement I could possibly make about them. Abhorrent racial epithets have covered our social media pages to the point that I took them down to save my employees and clients from further harassment. I find it difficult for me to find a path forward with the company while salvaging the hard work each of my employees has put into OG Analytical. Without these people, I could not have accomplished all the successes this company has seen in the last 4 years. In effort to save my team from further harm, I am resigning as CEO of OG Analytical effective immediately, and offering up the company for sale.
If you have further questions about these allegations, I would urge you to take them up with me directly, instead of causing further harm to my employees. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m open to questions. Thank you, Bethany Sherman, Owner and CEO, OG Analytical.