Charles Krafft is a ceramicist whose reputation took a nosedive after former Stranger arts writer Jen Graves exposed him as a white nationalist Holocaust denier. Krafft more recently appeared in a story published on this site about Seattle’s annual white nationalist convention, which he attended.
Aside from his first name, Krafft has little in common with Stranger film editor Charles Mudede. Several years ago, he attended a talk hosted by Mudede at Capitol Hill Arts Center. Other than that, the two have only met in passing and not since Krafft’s outing as a racist.
That’s why The Stranger editorial staff was shocked this morning to discover Krafft had changed his Facebook profile picture to a portrait of Mudede, one from a series taken by local photographer Chase Jarvis. In the photo, Mudede pretends to be frightened. It is intentionally the most unflattering photo from the set.
“He put that picture of me and that expression where I am looking kind of silly. I’m doing almost a coon face. Let’s face it. Look at it.” Mudede said, when asked to comment on Krafft’s profile photo.
Beneath the photo, Krafft posted two videos: One of Nat King Cole and Harry Belafonte singing “Mama Look a Boo Boo.” Another of a racist scene from the film Private Parts in which Howard Stern pretends to call into his own radio show as a black traffic reporter named “Mama Lookaboobooday.”
This is a clear case of racially-motivated harassment. Given his public comments, we shouldn’t be surprised that Krafft would express racist views on social media. But why fixate on Mudede? Our film editor has never written a single word about the white nationalist artist. Though the white nationalist artist has written a racist poem about our film editor.
The Stranger called Krafft for answers.
He explained that he has been displeased with The Stranger’s coverage of his racism.
“You know why I used it, do you? You guys do nothing but go after me. Everything you write about me is negative and half of it is bullshit,” Krafft said on the phone. Asked to specify inaccuracies in our reporting, Krafft pointed to “the last bit about the Northwest Forum with gun-carrying white supremacists at my house. We’re not white supremacists.”
The feature Krafft referred to, concerning a conference hosted by white nationalist Greg Johnson, makes no mention of guns. The writer of the piece, David Lewis, did not go to Krafft’s home in his reporting process for that story. He did not use the phrase “white supremacist” once, though he did jokingly refer to a child as “the next generation of white supremacy.”
Krafft continued, “I’m not going to get into it. We’re called white nationalists. What you’re doing is a pejorative. You have that son-of-a-bitch David Lewis sneaking into my house under false pretexts.”
The Stranger appreciates the distinction between “white nationalists” and “white supremacists,” but delineating between two dangerous and repugnant ideologies is not why we called Krafft.
We asked him why he chose to use a photo of Mudede, who we noted has never written about him, rather than Lewis or Graves, who have. We also mentioned that Mudede is the only black staff member and asked whether his race played a factor.
“No, he just represents The Stranger and that postmodern, intellectual French, neo-Marxist intellectual take on everything that seems to epitomize everything,” Krafft explained.
When asked to explain the videos posted beneath the photo, Krafft said Mudede sounds like Mama Look a Boo Boo Day.
His anger, he said, is not directed at Mudede, but the paper he works for. “I’m pissed off at The Stranger every day. I thought I’d do something on my own Facebook page,” the once-acclaimed artist who has since become a pariah said.
“It goes back to the Holocaust denier part. That’s four years old. Every time you get a chance to stick it to me again, you do so,” he continued. “You’re going to call me up and get politically correct with me about racism and this picture and why you think I did it. Why don’t you send somebody to talk to me before you do hit pieces on me?”
The Stranger asked Krafft to remove the copyrighted photo, which he never had permission to use in the first place. (Photographer Chase Jarvis's lawyer later sent Krafft a cease-and-desist letter.) He agreed and took it down about an hour after our phone call.