Here’s what we know about antisemitic messages displayed in Jacksonville
No crime was committed, the Jacksonville sheriff said, but FBI continues search to find who made signs as officials condemn the antisemitic words
Florida’s college football game against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday was disrupted by an antisemitic message across the TIAA Bank Field’s jumbo board, along with banners bearing the same antisemitic message.
The digital sign read “Kanye was right about the Jews,” associating antisemitic remarks celebrity Kanye West made on Twitter this month. The banners hanging above a highly used road read, “End Jewish Supremacy in America” and “Honk if you know it’s the Jews,” per ESPN.
Vic Micolucci, an affiliate CNN reporter, posted this video of the message on the big screen.
Horrible to see that someone projected an anti-Semitic message on to TIAA Bank Field at the end of the sold-out Georgia-Florida game. A relative sent this to me. It’s in reference to comments Ye (formerly Kanye West) made recently.— Vic Micolucci WJXT (@WJXTvic) October 30, 2022
This hate has to stop. Period. pic.twitter.com/kBKYUx7hIh
Melissa Ross, a local radio host, shared a photo on Twitter of the banners, hanging above I-10, calling it “horrifying.”
On Sunday morning, the two participating universities released a joint statement that condemned the act, as reported by ESPN.
“The University of Florida and the University of Georgia together denounce these and all acts of antisemitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance,” said the press release. “We are proud to be home to strong and thriving Jewish communities at UGA and UF, and we stand together against hate.”
TIAA Bank Field is the home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville was playing a game in London on Sunday.
At this time, local authorities say that no crime has been committed because there was no threat, but FBI officers continue to search for the person who wrote these messages, per CNN.
The local Jewish community is preparing for any possible attacks by adding security at synagogues, Mariam Feist, CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, told News4JAX.
“Start educating children of all beliefs and all walks of life to have respect and tolerance for each other; that’s what makes America the melting pot. We’re all bringing our differences,” Feist told the news station.
Nicole Fried, Florida commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, released a statement with similar outrage as the universities. Calling out the behavior, she said, is part of her duty.
“The first step is to ensure we do not normalize this behavior,” she said. “Do not normalize threats to the LGBTQ+ community. Do not normalize antisemitic messages above a freeway, or anywhere else.”
She added that social media, such as Twitter, is a “vehicle for rapidly spreading disinformation and vitriol.
“Remain outraged, but harness that outrage for good. Vote next month, and stay engaged in the process,” encouraged Fried.