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The Zapatas Expound Upon COVID Denial, Toxic Masculinity & So-Called Anti-Communist Freedom-Fighters

Rebecca and Carlos Zapata. Photo source: Facebook.

On Sun., June 6, Carlos Zapata, one of the leaders of the movement that’s documenting the recall of three Republican members of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors in order to replace them with far-right-thinking individuals, appeared with his wife Rebecca on KCNR 1460 AM’s radio show “Jefferson State of Mine.

The show, which airs every Sunday morning, is hosted by Win Carpenter and Terry Rapoza. Carpenter is the chair of the State of Jefferson (SOJ) movement, and Rapoza is the group’s county coordinator and merchandiser.

The two guests and hosts discussed a wide variety of issues during the hour-long show, including COVID-19, the recall movement in Shasta County and the Red White and Blueprint docuseries that’s documenting it, and Zapata’s confrontation of local comedian Nathan Pinkney, also known by his stage name, Nathan Blayze.

Sally Rapoza, the director of social media for the SOJ movement, who’s also Terry Rapoza’s wife, advertised on Facebook a few days before the program the fact that the Zapatas planned to appear on the show.

Sally Rapoza’s Facebook advertisement for the Zapata appearance on the radio show

Sally Rapoza’s Facebook advertisement for the Zapatas appearance on the radio show

Some of the comments made by the Zapatas were wacky, and others delved into conspiracy theories as Carlos Zapata continued to defend and double down on the toxic sense of masculinity he is well known for. Similar to the recall movement in Shasta County and a handful of its supporters, the Zapatas failed to provide evidence and examples for many of their claims.

The interview began with Terry Rapoza asking the Zapatas to tell listeners about themselves. Carlos responded by talking about his August appearance at the Shasta County Board of Supervisor meeting when he warned its members that it was not going to be peaceful much longer if they continued to support Governor Newsom’s COVID-19 mandates, and that he had been in combat while serving in the military and never wanted to go back but would do so, even against his own fellow citizens, to save his country and “open the county.”

Repeating an argument he’s made many times before, Zapata claimed that the governor’s COVID-19 mandates were unconstitutional and a violation of civil liberties. Despite the threat-laced comments that came out of his own mouth at the board of supervisor meeting, he explained that “it wasn’t a threatening message,” but rather a warning “for them to be able to make a good educated decision, which they failed to do.”

Zapata then shifted to talking about the Red White and Blueprint docuseries created to support the recall of board of supervisor members. He explained that the goal was to create a “blueprint so that other counties can follow” and “take their county back” across the country. In regard to explaining exactly what counties across the United Stated needed to be saved from, “corruption” was Zapata’s answer.

Similar to the first three Red White and Blueprint episodes, he provided no evidence of corruption in Shasta County or elsewhere.

“Now we’re actually seeing it,” cited Zapata regarding the so-called corruption that he failed to support with any evidence. This, as he also explained that “many other counties” had contacted the makers of the docuseries, while again, offering no examples.

“The problem is government,” continued Zapata as he seemingly struggled to explain the purpose of the recall movement and docuseries, and “the way government has been formed across the country.”

Rapoza followed each of his comments in this portion of the interview with “mhmm” as Zapata expressed that government was corrupt at every level across the country and that “we need to undo this whole thing and hit the reset button.”

Rapoza, who followed Zapata’s comments about government corruption with the same kinds of statements expressed by SOJ leaders like Mike Baird, claimed that “we want government that represents the people” and abides by the United States Constitution and California Constitution. Like Zapata, the Red White and Blueprint episodes, and leaders of the SOJ movement, Rapoza failed to provide examples to support his claim that the federal and state government was not representative of the people and did not adhere to their respective constitutions.

The Zapatas on COVID-19

After the discussion of so-called government corruption, Zapata introduced his wife Rebecca who works as a registered nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Redding. She was, for all intents and purposes, referred to as a medical expert.

Before Rebecca delved into a wide variety of COVID-19 conspiracy theories, she, along with Carlos, cited the struggles they have faced since his rise to fame as a local right-wing celebrity.

“I think people see us now as these activists,” claimed Rebecca Zapata, who added that she supposed they were, but also that, “we’re a normal family.”

“Prior to this,” she continued, “we led a normal life.”

Rebecca then stated that “Carlos has taken the brunt” of the turmoil surrounding the recall movement. Her depiction of them as simple country folk who were forced to face the brunt of the chaos surrounding the recall movement failed to include the fact that Carlos is not only the movement’s loudest voice and most popular figure, but also that he has repeatedly acted out in an aggressive and threatening manner that warrants criticism.

From here, the conversation transitioned into COVID-19, where Rebecca shared a wide variety of false information as the discussion dipped into conspiracy theories. She began by stating that everything society was being told about COVID-19 did not “jive” with what she knows. She cited that she was surprised that so many people went along with the COVID-19 “narrative” that it was so dangerous, and she questioned why “we had to go along with all of these lockdowns.”

Carlos then interjected that, “We live in this society where we don’t know what’s left or right or up or down,” and that “we really get to a point of confusion.” He then referred to this confusion as part of the leftist “Maoist Marxist playbook” designed to take away frames of reference and moral foundations and to confuse people so “they don’t know what’s right anymore.”

Zapata followed up his comments about the so-called confusion thrust upon society by leftists that he used to view as some of his friends who subscribed to conspiracy theories as being crazy, but “what I’m seeing now is all this stuff is coming true.”

Again, he offered no examples of what he was talking about, but the larger point he was trying to make was that many conspiracy theories are true and that leftists are a global threat that must be dealt with. Just days after the radio show aired, Sally Rapoza shared a meme on her Facebook page which asked: “What’s the difference between a right-wing conspiracy theory and the truth?” with the answer, “A couple of months.”

Conspiracy theory meme shared on Sally Rapoza’s Facebook page

Conspiracy theory meme shared on Sally Rapoza’s Facebook page

Zapata’s Cold War anti-communist rhetoric would hit an even higher level later in the show.

After his rant about the global threat posed by the “Maoist Marxist playbook,” Rapoza took the discussion back to COVID-19. It was here that Rebecca Zapata cited that COVID-19 tests are inaccurate, that “there’s several aspects that make the numbers false,” and that tests are run over and over again on people until they pick up any trace of the virus “which doesn’t really make you positive.”

She also made the false claim that “if you test one person multiple times, that counts as multiple cases.”

“So, like if you were positive,” continued Zapata, and then proceeded to quarantine and be retested several times, according to Rebecca Zapata each would count as a separate case of COVID-19.

Zapata followed her false claim that multiple tests on one person are counted as separate cases by stating that “multiple studies” have shown that COVID-19 cannot be spread by asymptomatic individuals. She then transitioned into discussing the numbers of people hospitalized with the disease “that seem very high” only because people admitted to hospitals for other ailments and injuries tested positive.

Zapata argued that people in this situation are wrongly categorized in the system as being hospitalized because of COVID-19 rather than testing positive during hospital visits for other issues. “It’s criminal,”  Zapata said, who continued by stating that she just did not know of any other way to say it.

After Rebecca Zapata’s wild-eyed comments about COVID-19, the discussion spiraled downward to the point where everyone involved essentially agreed that it and the vaccine were both a hoax. In one of his most honest statements throughout the show, Carlos interjected, “We don’t know anything here, you know, we don’t know anything.”

Yet despite this breath of truthful fresh air, Win Carpenter followed with perhaps the most outrageous comment in the first half of the show; claiming that people who received the vaccine are spreading the disease.

“They’re spreading it to other people,” cited Carpenter, and “they’re the ones that are the problem” because when they get the vaccine, “they’re shedders for a minimum of two weeks.”

Everyone agreed with Carpenter, while Rebecca added that “you can still get COVID with the vaccine” and spread it, even though in classic contradictory Zapata form, she also stated, “Honestly, I don’t even know what the frick is true.”

Carlos added to his wife’s remarks by explaining that a lot of people are going to die from the vaccine, and then he dipped even further into popular right-wing conspiracy theories regarding the way some folks interpret the United Nations’ Agenda 21 program, by stating that this was part of a broader plan to limit population numbers and social security and retirement payments to people – and that people are stupid if they don’t believe this. Rapoza agreed with Zapata’s hairbrained claim, as the discussion strangely devolved into the topic of abortion.

The Zapata & Pinkney Incident

Following the discussion about COVID-19, Rapoza brought up the topic of the confrontation between Zapata and Nathan Pinkney, a Redding-based comedian who has posted videos online that mock Zapata, the Red White and Blueprint series, and the recall movement.

After threatening on social media to visit Pinkney’s workplace, Zapata did exactly that, and reportedly threw a drink at Pinkney before two of Zapata’s acquaintances — one of whom is a Zapata employee — allegedly attacked Pinkney behind the restaurant. The event is still currently under investigation although it’s widely known that Zapata assaulted Pinkney by throwing his glass at him and instigated the attack by showing up at the business.

Screenshot from Carlos Zapata’s Instagram page

Screenshot from Carlos Zapata’s Instagram page

Rapoza started the discussion by making an extremely weak and unclear argument that Leonard Moty, Shasta County Supervisor for District 2, violated a federal law and committed a felony by “reaching out” to and supporting Pinkney following the assault.

Zapata made some bold statements about the event, and laughed off Rapoza’s claim, citing that it would be impossible to find a court that would try a federal case against Moty. Similar to his comments made during an interview for Gustavo Arellano’s Los Angeles Times podcast published on June 3, Zapata expressed that the entire situation has been blown out of proportion.

After claiming that he did not want to give Pinkney any more attention, Zapata launched into a diatribe regarding how the left fights in a dishonest manner. He then claimed that he is a “very natural law type of guy” and that there is a “natural order of things.”

“The left’s job is to disrupt the natural order of things,” he continued, before going into more detail by describing the “pecking order” in society made up of winners and losers. Zapata defined himself, like he has so many times before, as a tough masculine winner in opposition to so-called weak leftist “losers” like Pinkney.

Despite his contributing role in the incident with Pinkney, and the fact that he was just served a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) for this role, Zapata continued by repeating himself, stating that “this is the way that these losers fight.”

“They know they will never be able to beat me in business,” and “they know they’re not going to have a prettier wife” and “better and smarter kids” or a “nicer home” he continued.

Zapata’s silly and childish message? Nobody on the left has nicer things than he does.

Zapata continued by complaining that his life was being disrupted by a legal system designed to work against him.

While continuing his immature rant against Pinkney, Zapata hilariously bragged that he is more popular than the former because he has more followers on Facebook.

In his second honest comment throughout the first half of the show, he cited, “I know it seems childish to compare, but people aren’t following this guy.”

Despite the fact that this is not true; that, in fact, Pinkney has a larger number of followers on the multiple Facebook pages and social platforms he’s involved with, it did not “seem childish,” it is childish.

Zapata unleashed an even uglier side of himself at the start of the second half of the show.

“When I was a kid, if you wanted to say something to somebody, you had to say it to their face and then you duked it out,” he said. “And this is why they call me a bully.” He continued by saying, “I love to fight, there’s nothing I love more, besides my wife and children, than fighting,” and, “We live in a society where most men are afraid to fight.”

Zapata continued by saying that men have been nurtured to be weak, and how society has been “pussified.” His penchant for violence and fighting in this segment of the show, as well as his sense of toxic masculinity, could not have been more crystal clear.

He then reminisced about how some of his best childhood memories involved getting into fights with other children, while returning to his point expressed earlier in the show that violence is good sometimes.

Zapata on the Recent Red White and Blueprint Podcast

Zapata’s comments on manliness and violence were echoed a few days before his appearance on the “Jefferson State of Mine” radio show during the Red White and Blueprint Episode 4 podcast discussion between Zapata, and militia members Jesse Lane and Woody Clendenen, and two other men.

Like his comments on the radio show, the podcast discussion was a textbook example of toxic masculinity. The men sat around and discussed how they were “tough guys,” and Zapata described himself as a fighter of bullies rather than the bully. Similar to his comments on the KCNR radio show, they discussed how fighting at school and elsewhere is a good character builder for young men.

It was here that Zapata shared a few stories that give more insight into his background. At the 34-minute mark he told a story about a junior high physical education coach in Santa Rosa that “loved to solve problems with fights” in the locker room with young men not getting along, rather than sending them to the principal. Zapata fawned over his affinity for this violent tactic used by his teacher.

The men on the podcast argued that fighting solves all problems, and went as far as stating that it can even prevent the built-up anger that leads to mass shootings. Before the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999, argued one guest in shocking fashion, young men settled conflicts with fighting.

“Because people were allowed to fight,” responded Zapata, “and that weird kid got his ass kicked and learned real fast that you can’t be a weirdo.” Here, Zapata’s comments pointed more toward the way children who do not fit in get bullied, rather than the way fighting serves as some sort of conflict resolution.

Screenshot from the fourth episode of the Red, White, and Blueprint podcast

Screenshot from the fourth episode of the Red, White, and Blueprint podcast

At the 40-minute mark of the podcast, Zapata told another story about getting beat up at the McDonald’s restaurant across the street from his school, Santa Rosa High School. He explained how his head was bashed against a railing in the establishment by a guy he made fun of. While he expressed that it embarrassed him, Zapata also shared that he appreciated the experience, and if he knew how to reach him, Zapata would send the individual a thank-you card every Christmas thanking him for the valuable lesson.

He followed this story with another about how some of the first men he met after joining the Marines in 2003 had never been in a fist fight, and that because he had, the platoon commander said he would do well in the military.

The Second Half of the “Jefferson State of Mine” Radio Show

The appreciation Zapata shared during the radio show and the podcast about fighting, — both published within the matter of a week — paint a broad picture of Zapata’s worldview. During the second half of the radio show, he went to even further extremes after Mark Baird, the leader of the SOJ movement, called in to compliment the group for a “great show” before rejoicing about the overturning of the assault weapons ban in California, and expressing that COVID-19 was a bio-weapon unleashed on the U.S. by communist China.

“He’d make a great governor wouldn’t he?” asked Rapoza in regard to Baird as those in the studio burst out in appreciative laughter.

Following Baird’s call, Zapata was asked about the temporary restraining order (TRO) he was served at his daughter’s graduation for his role in the attack on Pinkney. He did not hold back, calling Pinkney’s lawyer who served him the TRO, Pinkney himself, and everyone against him as “low-life scums.”

Zapata, yet again, claimed he was the victim of harassment, as his wife Rebecca made a nonsensical statement about how she is “infuriated” by injustice and double standards.

Zapata referred to the person who served him the TRO as “some ugly woman,” and asked, “If you’re a man, why would you ever get a restraining order against another man?” He then went on a tirade, claiming that a man has to admit they are afraid of another man in order to get a restraining order against one, and, because of this, he must have never had a man or father-figure in his life who “whipped their ass.”

Zapata was clearly getting even more fired up as the radio show came to a close. In regard to Pinkney, he said, “this is the society we’re raising today” and asked “how are we going to defend this county?”

“Back in the day we didn’t give people like this a voice,” explained Zapata, who continued by partially repeating himself by saying, “Back in the day people got run out of town.”

Following his claim about running people out of town — “back in the day” — Zapata claimed, while citing no examples, that people in the recall movement are so afraid of getting in trouble now that they will not leave their homes because this is the “position they put us in.”

Rebecca followed his comments by expressing that Pinkney lied to the police and lied to get the TRO, and thus, was wasting tax-payer dollars. Then Carlos jumped back in and questioned who was paying for Pinkney’s lawyer, and that his lawyer is terrible and probably on food stamps.

The radio show fell further off the cliff when Lori Bridgeford called in to lodge the same kind of baseless complaints against Pinkney she’s expressed at numerous Shasta County Board of Supervisor meetings. Bridgeford claimed that Pinkney’s videos on social media are “crummy and idiotic” and that he worships Zapata on “some subconscious level.”

The panel then joked that Pinkney “had a crush” on Zapata, to which he responded, “I’ve heard that about him.”

Bridgeford then expressed her appreciation for all of Rebecca’s comments about COVID-19, and that it was a “cover-up” and also that A New Cafe “is not a newspaper” and that she didn’t know why it was called “the News Cafe [sic].”

Rebecca followed Bridgeford’s line of reasoning by stating that Doni Chamberlain, the founder and editor of A News Cafe, is “disgusting” and a “socialist.”

“A fourth grader could do a better job,” added Bridgeford, who finished up her call with the false claim – which she’s made many times – that the material Pinkney posts on social media is slanderous.

The “wall of truth” Bridgeford helped install at a recent board of supervisor meeting that depicted Pinkney in a highly negative manner, is, of course, acceptable to her.

While she claimed that Pinkney is “obsessed” with Zapata and others in the recall movement, it appears as if the opposite is true.

Bridgeford also argued that Pinkney, who she cited is “part of ANTIFA and BLM,” is “not going to get away with this,” while Rebecca added, “he’s scum.”

In shedding some new light on the TRO situation, Carlos exclaimed, “I hope the judge feels the same way on Friday because my lawyer will go to court on Friday and at that point they’ll decide whether the TRO becomes an RO.”

(Zapata’s court date did indeed take place on Friday, June 11, but only his lawyer appeared.)

Zapata then repeated a statement he made while being interviewed by Arellano for his Los Angeles Times podcast, namely that he is a hero because he has prevented scores of people from attacking Pinkney; another claim that is incredibly hard to believe.

As the show reached the end, Rapoza questioned the entire situation with Pinkney and the TRO regarding who issued and paid for it, while also claiming that the Los Angeles Times story which pointed out inaccuracies in the Redding Police statement about the incident with Zapata and Pinkney was false. Before taking the last caller, Rapoza told Zapata, “We’re with you and we stand with you,” and, “You’re standing for right.”

The last caller was Jesse Lane, a Zapata associate who also appeared on Episode 4 of the Red White and Blueprint podcast. In short, Lane stated that he had also been taken advantage of with a restraining order by a “girl” who was at his house one night and upset with him the next day and that the left has learned how to do this to take away Second Amendment rights. He also stated that he thought Zapata’s TRO case would get thrown out of court, and that he fully supported him.

At the end of the show, Zapata claimed that the left has no plan, then, in an attempt to change the popular narrative, expressed that “these socialists” are trying to keep three Republicans in office, as opposed to being “with us” to “put their own people in.”

Following this, Zapata closed out the show with one of his most boisterous and extremist statements to date regarding opposition to the recall movement. He stated that while he has thought about walking away from of the movement because of the struggles it has presented to himself and his family, he must keep going for the good of society and his children.

“At the end of the day,” stated Zapata, “we have to keep fighting” because what kind of future society are we going to live in “if we let these communists take over?”

“Let’s call it what it is,” explained Zapata, who continued by stating, “We’re fighting communists right now.”

“We’re living in the beginning stages of communism right now in this country,” he concluded, as Rapoza responded with an “mhmm.”

As the show closed, Zapata continued to repeat himself, stating finally, “We’re fighting communism here at every level, and it’s infiltrated every part of our community, so we’re going to keep fighting.”

 

Shawn Schwaller

Shawn Schwaller grew up in Red Bluff, California. He teaches for the Departments of History and Multicultural and Gender Studies at California State University, Chico, and has a Ph.D. in history. His research interests include the study of race and ethnic relations and identity politics in the contemporary history of California. Shawn can be reached at sschwaller@csuchico.edu

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