Robert Wilson
A screenshot of Robert Wilson speaking to CBS 8 reporter David Gotfredson outside a San Diego courthouse on Dec. 27, 2021.

This story is part of an ongoing project with KQED in San Francisco and other NPR stations to chronicle the extent of extremism in California. There will be future reporting throughout the state published by the various newsrooms in the coming months.

A prominent San Diego figure in an antisemitic extremist group has fled the country with no sign of returning, inewsource has learned.

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Robert Wilson, a public face of the hate group known as the Goyim Defense League, was supposed to stand trial for allegedly assaulting his neighbor while yelling homophobic slurs. Court records and interviews indicate Wilson has fled prosecution and is continuing to spread white supremacist views on social media from Poland.

The criminal case was intended to be a high-profile victory for the San Diego County District Attorney’s office, which is prioritizing hate crime prosecutions due to the growing number of incidents nationwide.

District Attorney Summer Stephan released a statement when the charges against Wilson were first announced in December 2021, emphasizing the case’s importance.

“This case and these events demonstrate that those who are motivated by prejudice often spread their hate around to various groups, attacking our neighbors on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation or other grounds,” Stephan said. “Hate against one group is a threat to everyone and we won’t tolerate these crimes in our community.”

Almost six months have passed since Wilson missed his last court appearance. DA spokesperson Tanya Sierra would not specify if prosecutors are attempting to extradite Wilson, but said “we never give up on bringing justice to victims.”

“The fact that he is not in San Diego County means that our community is safer,” Sierra said.

Wilson is one of about six primary organizers and public figures in the Goyim Defense League, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which closely monitors the group’s activity. 

The hate group engages in internet trolling, flyer distributions, street demonstrations and other tactics to spread antisemitic, homophobic and white supremacist views. They are known for pedaling conspiracy theories centered around Jewish people and hanging derogatory banners on freeway overpasses.

A banner the group displayed in October in Los Angeles, which said “Kanye is right about the Jews,” garnered widespread attention when it was circulated on Twitter.

The Goyim Defense League is a small, loosely connected network of individuals who have dozens of supporters and thousands of online followers, according to the ADL. Their members are connected to 11 arrests or criminal cases across the U.S.

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