An electronic antisemitic message appeared at TIAA Bank Field at the end of the Georgia-Florida game Saturday night, according to a video shared by a television reporter.
The hate message came as similar messages appeared on signs elsewhere in Jacksonville Friday and Saturday.
The message ‘Kanye was right about the jews’ was projected onto TIAA Bank Field’s videoboard. It referred to Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, who posted hate speech attacking Jews on social media earlier in the week.
Other hate messages reported in Jacksonville included banners hoisted on an Interstate 10 overpass on Jacksonville’s Westside and on the Arlington Expressway and a message projected on the outside of a downtown building. A similar message was reported on a Los Angeles freeway a week ago.
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The Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida condemned the ‘antisemitic rhetoric and messages of Jewish hatred here in our city.’
Jennifer Plotkin, board president and Mariam Feist, chief executive officer, expressed outrage in a statement Sunday morning.
The federation ‘has been in communication with the FBI, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office. We will continue to work with them in ensuring the safety and security of our community,’ they said.
The organization, they said, is ‘harnessing our outrage to bring action to our community’ and was initiating the ‘Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) to build alliances and relationships with our elected officials, faith leaders, and public school superintendents to educate, inform, and ensure that our Jewish community has a strong voice in combatting intentional (and unintentional) antisemitism.’
Elected officials, political candidates and leaders from both parties and others also denounced the messages in separate statements late Saturday and Sunday.
The University of Florida and the University of Georgia released a joint statement strongly condemning the messages at TIAA Bank Field and in Jacksonville, saying in part that they ‘denounce these and all acts of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance.’
Before the Florida-Georgia game, there was a report Friday and Saturday of hate messages on posters at I-10. One poster said ‘END JEWISH SUPREMACY IN AMERICA’ and another said, ‘HONK IF YOU KNOW ITS THE JEWS.’
Later, there was a report of a hate message on a poster on the Arlington Expressway that echoed what was projected at TIAA Bank Field.
And a message was reportedly projected on a downtown Jacksonville building Saturday evening.
U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, former Jacksonville sheriff, issued a statement denouncing the messages, saying, in part, the messages were ‘despicable and extremely disappointing. There is absolutely no room for this sort of hate in Northeast Florida.’
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry made a statement via Twitter on Sunday morning.
‘Jacksonville is a city made better because of its diversity. Those who spread messages of hate, racism and antisemitism will not be able to change the heart of this city or her people. I condemn these cowards and their cowardly messages,’ Curry tweeted.
‘…I know this is not representative of our community, but it happened and it’s outrageous. It’s hurtful and wrong. It has to stop …,’ said Khan, who asked that everyone ‘make it their mission to end the ignorance and hatred.’
Officials with TIAA and TIAA Bank also denounced the messages projected on the stadium as well as elsewhere in the city.
‘We are horrified by and condemn the hate speech committed at TIAA Bank Field last night and other acts of anti-Semitism so visible of late. TIAA stands with the Jewish community and remains committed to inclusion and tolerance,’ Michael Cosgrove, vice president of corporate communications, said in a statement Sunday.
It is unknown who is responsible for the messages and banners, and how they were projected onto TIAA Bank Field.
The Times-Union reached out to the Sheriff’s Office to ask if it was looking into the messages but there wasn’t an immediate response.