Since Matt Hale’s arrest in January 2003, the Creativity movement has languished. In fact, the movement has become less an organized group than a loose array of largely uncoordinated white supremacists who use the trappings and language of the group’s original founder, Ben Klassen.
Creativity always appeared hierarchical, with official titles for members and specially designated positions ranging from state leader to prisoner coordinator, but in fact the group revolved around Hale. He resurrected the organization in the 1990s, oversaw its expansion to dozens of chapters and several hundred members and was at the center of its media-friendly public events. Although some disaffected members broke away and others grumbled, Hale was generally able to hold the group together.
Creativity’s defeat in the trademark lawsuit over its name was a body blow that threatened its identity. Hale’s 2003 arrest was a decapitation. Together, the two events devastated Creativity, especially given Hale’s inability to lead the group from jail after the federal government, concerned that he might incite followers to violence, imposed severe communications restrictions.
The movement collapsed. Some formed “independent” Creativity cells, others left to join extremist groups like the Klan and White Revolution. The efforts of loyal members to reorganize or reenergize were largely unsuccessful.
In the two years since Hale’s arrest, there have been no, public Creativity meetings, rallies, protests or literature distributions. Some Creators have been active online; while Creativity Web pages tend to be short-lived, Internet activity has kept the movement alive, and may help form the future basis for a reorganization of the group.
Remnants of the Creativity Movement in the United States include the following:
California - One Creativity member operates the “Creativity Prison Ministries” out of Porterville, California.
Florida - Long a center of Creativity Movement activity, Florida still has a number of Creators in its state, including Jerald and Tressie Overturf, who launched a brief and unsuccessful attempt in 2004 to take over the movement while Hale was in prison. Jerald Overturf, recently released from prison, was the former head of the Creativity Movement in Florida, and the Florida Department of Corrections has Creativity activists in its facilities. A few other members in Florida have been active, at least online, since Hale’s arrest.
Illinois - Former location of the “headquarters” of the Creativity Movement at the home of Matt Hale’s father, Illinois still has several Hale loyalists, most notably one of the few followers he corresponds with regularly from prison, Kathy Robertazzo.
Massachusetts - Several Creativity members, including Tony Menear and Robert Griffith, remain active in this state.
Michigan - A few Creativity members, including Joel Dufresne, have been somewhat active since Hale’s arrest.
Missouri - Adam Jacobs, formerly the Florida leader of the Creativity Movement, now claims its “World Headquarters” at his residence in Springfield.
Montana - A tiny breakaway Creativity faction has existed in Montana for several years, organized by Slim Deardorff and Dan Hassett (as well as Rudy Stanko of Wyoming and Dane Hall of California). Hassett has said he has left the group.
New Jersey - Several Creativity members, some also members of other groups, are active in New Jersey. There have also been Creators in the state prison system.
Ohio - Creativity activist Mitchell Irwin has been trying to mobilize a Creativity cell in the Cleveland area.
Virginia - Virginia was home to one of the more active members of the Creativity Movement, John King of Newport News. Following Hale’s arrest, King worked to prevent both the accession of a new leader and any radical reorganization of the group. He remains one of Hale’s more loyal supporters.
Washington - In Vancouver, Washington, Melody and Jason LaRue operate Hypatia Publishing and Klassen’s Teachings, publishing Creativity literature. The two broke with Matt Hale in 2002, and they and a few others operate an “independent” Creativity cell.