A neo-Nazi who became a C-list meme celebrity for singing a cringeworthy rendition of “Dixie” was arrested Friday on federal weapons charges.
Heon “Hank” Jong Yoo of Tyler, Texas, is 24-year-old white supremacist of Korean descent, who is most famous for videos in which he brandished a sword in front of a Confederate flag and declared “sieg heil Taylor Swift.” While those videos, which went viral on Facebook and Twitter, earned him internet derision, he expressed more violent views on less-public platforms, including calling for “right wing death squads,” advocating lynchings, and posing with rifles, leaked chats show.
Last week, Yoo was arrested on a warrant from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for allegedly making false statements during a firearms purchase, the Tyler Morning Telegraph first reported. The warrant is currently sealed and jail records describe him as being held on a federal detainer, currently without bond.
The arrest was not Yoo’s first over weapons charges. In December 2016, he was cuffed alongside three other men on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges. Police said Yoo and the other men had started arguing with someone on his lawn, and pulled weapons before fleeing in a truck. When police stopped the vehicle, they found “a tactical vest, three magazines, a handgun, two rifles, a machete, and a shotgun” inside, Texas’ KLTV reported.
The case was dismissed last year. Tyler court records also show Yoo was arrested on trespassing charges in February. The law firm representing Yoo in the ongoing trespassing case declined to comment on his most recent arrest.
Previously, Yoo was most famous for a pair of viral videos. In one, Yoo waves a decorative sword in front of an American flag, a Confederate flag, a Texas flag, a Trump sign, and a homemade “death to Islam” poster, before trying to sing the unofficial Confederate anthem “Dixie.” It is unbearably bad.
In another, captioned “love Taylor Swift. sieg heil,” Yoo says he supports the pop star “because she supports Donald Trump.” Swift has never publicly commented on her preferred candidate in the 2016 election, prompting speculation that she secretly backed Trump. The blonde pop star also has a legion of neo-Nazi fans who described her to Motherboard as an “Aryan goddess.” (Swift has been largely quiet on the unfortunate fan base, except to threaten a lawsuit to a blogger who pointed it out.)
But while Yoo went viral for alt-right memes like Taylor Swift worship, he endorsed explicit violence against other minorities in an alt-right chat group whose members have collaborated with Richard Spencer. In leaked chat logs published by the media collective Unicorn Riot, Yoo posted a Snapchat picture of himself and a friend holding rifles. “Right wing death squad,” he captioned the picture, “KKK.” He drew and cross out Jewish and Muslim symbols.
Yoo railed against Jews, Muslims, and African-Americans in hundreds of posts, including posting pictures of scores of dead Haitians after the country’s 2010 earthquake, and a fake advertisement for a truck-mounted lynching machine.
In February 2017, he posted a picture of three rifles, including some that appeared semi-automatic, laid out on a Confederate flag. He’d arranged bullets to spell “n--ger tears.”
His aggravated assault with a deadly weapon case was dismissed five months later, court records show.