Crypto-fascism is a pejorative term for the secret support for, or admiration of, fascism. The common usage is "crypto-fascist", one who practices this support. The term is used to imply that an individual or group keeps this support or admiration hidden to avoid political persecution or political suicide.
The term is largely credited to Gore Vidal. In an ABC television debate during the chaos of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Vidal described William F. Buckley, Jr. as a "crypto-Nazi", later correcting himself as meaning to say "crypto-fascist". However, the term had appeared five years earlier in a German-language book by the sociologist Theodor W. Adorno, Der getreue Korrepetitor (The Faithful Répétiteur).
The term was famously used by German Nobel laureate Heinrich Böll in a 1972 essay (titled "Will Ulrike Gnade oder freies Geleit?) that was sharply critical of the tabloid newspaper Bild's sensationalist coverage of the Baader-Meinhof Gang. In the essay, Böll stated that what Bild does "isn’t cryptofascist anymore, not fascistoid, but naked fascism. Agitation, lies, dirt."