Emily Austen, a Fox Sports Reporter, was fired Friday after making insensitive remarks about Mexican, Jewish and Chinese people.
Austen’s troubles stemmed from an appearance on social media video where she disparaged Mexican and Chinese people after being asked about a high school valedictorian who used Twitter to brag about being an undocumented citizen.
“I didn’t even know Mexicans were that smart. …That’s f***ed up,” Austen said. “I didn’t mean it like that. You see, you guys know that the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class.”
After that the reporter added some anti-Semitic remarks when talking about her work experience as a bar worker in Florida.
“The way I used to talk to the Jews in Boca. I just didn’t care,” she said. “They would complain and b***h about everything. I gave a guy, delivered his beer, and he was complaining to me that there was too much head. I knew that he was a stingy a** and he wasn’t going to give me a tip.”
Early Friday, Fox Sports sent out a statement regarding Austen.
“We were made aware that Emily Austen appeared in a social media video unaffiliated with FOX Sports in which she made insensitive and derogatory comments. She was not speaking on behalf of Fox Sports, nor do we condone any of the statements she made in the video,” Steve Tello, the network’s senior vice president, said. “Emily has been advised that her comments were unacceptable, and she is not scheduled to appear on any upcoming Fox Sports Florida or Fox Sports Sun broadcasts.”
The writing may have been on the wall even before the statement. At the end of the video show, host Dan Katz joked, “we might have to hire you because you’re gonna get fired.”
The President of CRIF, the representative umbrella body of the French Jewish community, has strongly condemned the discovery of anti-Semitic tags on the front of the synagogue in Verdun and on the Rabbi’s house.
Swastikas and the inscription ” white power ” were daubed on the synagogue during the weekend, nearly two months after a first desecration, said Jean-Claude Levy, president of the Jewish community in this city of eastern France.
” It’s the police who informed me. I went there and saw swastikas on the wall of the synagogue as well as the inscription ‘white power’’, he explained.
” The vandalism of a place of worship is unacceptable. I strongly condemn the anti-Semitic tags on the Verdun synagogue, ” said CRIF President Francis Kalifat on his Twitter account.
The president of the Jewish community of Verdun has asked to secure the synagogue to prevent such incidents from recurring. “The only solution we have is to secure the place. We will do everything to protect it. I’ll contact the Jewish Central Consistory of France,” Levy said.
Inundated with anti-Semitic tweets and frustrated by Twitter’s initial response, New York Times editor Jon Weisman is packing up and leaving the social media platform.
Weisman said Wednesday — in a tweet — that he will be “moving to Facebook where at least people need to use their real names and can’t hide behind fakery to spread their hate.”
The deputy editor of the Times’ Washington bureau and a published novelist, Weisman has more than 34,000 followers and a coveted blue check mark indicating his account is verified.
But his prominence also made Weisman, who is Jewish, a frequent target of anti-Semitic trolls. Fed up, Weisman said one of the Times’ social media gurus forwarded a compendium of some of those tweets to Twitter on Monday.
In one tweet, Weisman was referred to as a “kike.” Another threatened to have him put “in the oven.”
Weisman said that Twitter responded by saying the tweets didn’t violate the company’s rules and none of the users would be suspended.
By late Wednesday morning, however, Twitter appeared to change course. The two accounts that Weisman linked to earlier in the day have since been suspended.
Weisman said that, although his complaints have clearly been heard, it is still a mystery why some users get booted and others do not.
“I started getting notifications from Twitter that accounts are being suspended as soon as I said I was quitting Twitter, so yes, somebody is listening,” Weisman told CNNMoney in an email. “Not all the accounts that I reported, however, are being blocked. I really don’t understand what is deemed acceptable and what is over the line.”
Weisman isn’t sure if he will abandon Twitter for good. The company’s actions on Wednesday suggest they don’t want to lose him.
“They seem to be trying to get me back already,” Weisman said.
Indeed, until it was removed last week, a user-generated Google Chrome extension allowed those who installed it to identify Jews and coordinate online attacks against them.
Last week, Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for the US newspaper, The Atlantic, decided to fight back. He changed his Twitter username to (((Goldberg))), co-opting a symbol that neo-Nazis use to brand Jews on blogs, message boards, and social media. The “echoes,” as they are called, allude to the alleged sins committed by Jews that reverberate through history, according to Mic, a news site geared toward millennials that first explained the origins of the symbol.
Then, Yair Rosenberg of Tablet Magazine, another popular troll target, encouraged his followers to put parentheses around their names as a way to “raise awareness about anti-Semitism, show solidarity with harassed Jews and mess with the Twitter Nazis.” Several journalists and other Jewish professionals followed suit.
Jonathan Weisman, a New York Times editor who changed his username to (((Jon Weisman))) over the weekend, wrote on Twitter that the campaign was a way to show “strength and fearlessness” in the face of bigotry. Weisman was the victim of a barrage of anti-Semitic abuse last month after he tweeted the link to an article in the Washington Post that was critical of Donald Trump. Weisman retweeted much of the filth — including memes of hook-nosed Jews and depictions of Trump in Nazi regalia — that came his way. “Better to have it in the open,” he wrote. “People need to choose sides.”
In Israel, where Twitter is less popular than other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, a small number of journalists, including Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, joined the cause.
Many non-Jews also added the parentheses to their usernames out of solidarity. Among them was NAACP President Cornell Brooks, who tweeted on Saturday: “Founded by Jews & Blacks, the haters might as well hate mark our name [too]: (((@NAACP))).”
Yet the move has struck some Jews as unseemly, the virtual equivalent of willingly pinning a yellow “Jude” star to one’s shirt. On Sunday, the journalist Julia Ioffe tweeted that she was “really uncomfortable with people putting their own names in anti-Semitic parentheses.”
Mordechai Lightstone, a rabbi in Brooklyn who works in the Jewish social media world, said it was dangerous “if we only subvert these hateful acts and use that as the sole basis to define our identities.” A better solution, he said, would be to “channel this into positive actions expressing Jewish pride.”
AntiSemitismWatch believes any tactic people feel empowers them in fighting anti-Semitism has merit. As such, we support those who have determined it is appropriate for them. Indeed, there is something to be said for stealing the tools of anti-Semites, if nothing else other than to annoy and frustrate them! However, the fight does require more. It requires exposure of these people and groups, holding authorities and governments to account, recognition of the global nature of the problem and people dedicated to ensuring the lessons of history are not forgotten or ignored.
But do let us know what you think by using our comment section below or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The European Commission together with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have today unveiled a code of conduct that includes a series of commitments to combat the spread of illegal hate speech online in Europe.
The code is seen as part of the response to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally.
While the effective application of provisions criminalising hate speech is dependent on a robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech, the Commission and IT companies recognised such work must be complemented with actions geared at ensuring illegal hate speech online is expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame. However, they did argue that to be considered valid in this respect, a notification should not be insufficiently precise or inadequately substantiated.
Twitter’s Head of Public Policy for Europe, Karen White, commented: “Hateful conduct has no place on Twitter and we will continue to tackle this issue head on alongside our partners in industry and civil society. We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”
Google’s Public Policy and Government Relations Director, Lie Junius, said: “We’re committed to giving people access to information through our services, but we have always prohibited illegal hate speech on our platforms. We have efficient systems to review valid notifications in less than 24 hours and to remove illegal content.”
Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management at Facebook said: “We welcome today’s announcement and the chance to continue our work with the Commission and wider tech industry to fight hate speech. With a global community of 1.6 billion people we work hard to balance giving people the power to express themselves whilst ensuring we provide a respectful environment. As we make clear in our Community Standards, there’s no place for hate speech on Facebook. We urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate. Our teams around the world review these reports around the clock and take swift action.”
The code of conduct includes the following public commitments:
The IT Companies to have in place clear and effective processes to review notifications regarding illegal hate speech on their services so they can remove or disable access to such content.
Upon receipt of a valid removal notification, the IT Companies to review such requests against their rules and community guidelines and where necessary national laws.
The IT Companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.
The IT Companies to educate and raise awareness with their users about the types of content not permitted under their rules and community guidelines.
The IT Companies to encourage the provision of notices and flagging of content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct at scale by experts.
The IT Companies to provide regular training to their staff on current societal developments and to exchange views on the potential for further improvement.
The IT Companies to intensify cooperation between themselves and other platforms and social media companies to enhance best practice sharing.
The IT Companies and the European Commission, recognising the value of independent counter speech against hateful rhetoric and prejudice, aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking.
However, considering the sheer scale of anti-Semitic and other hate speech that floods social media platforms and the suspect nature of the IT companies response to it, we believe many in the community will wait to see the results of this initiative in action before endorsing it.
The small Jewish community in Edirne, in northwest Turkey, has waited patiently since 1976 for a wedding in its local synagogue – and when it finally occurred yesterday, the response it drew from other Turks was less than celebratory.
The wedding was set to be such a significant and joyous event that it was decided to broadcast it via Periscope and Twitter – a particularly popular social medium in Turkey. However, it drew the attention of anti-Semites in the country, and the bride, groom and Jewish community in general were told, “Too bad Hitler didn’t finish the job” and the like.
Edirne has a Jewish history of some 1,500 years, but just 50 years ago, only 100 Jews lived in Edirne. Finally, the local Jewish cemetery there was confiscated by the authorities, and then destroyed to make way for a residential neighbourhood.
Then began the upswing. In 2013, the synagogue was renovated, and last year it was opened to the public. Its first wedding, yesterday, drew many members of the budding Jewish community, and the joy was great. Community leader Yitzchak Ibrahimzadeh even decided that it should be shared with the public at large, via Twitter. The happiness turned to consternation, however, as the responses began tweeting in: “Kill the Jews!” “Get out of occupied Palestine!” etc.
Ibrahimzadeh did not lose heart. “Many anti-Semites expressed their hatred on the Periscope broadcast,” he tweeted back. “Together, hand in hand, we will overcome them.” He proudly included pictures of a synagogue, church, mosque and Turkish flag, symbolizing his hope that unity would win the day.
The small Turkish-Jewish community, numbering not more than 17,000, disseminated the news of the anti-Semitic barrage, and it was mentioned in various news media.
Anti-Semitism in Turkey is a common phenomenon. Polls conducted in 2007–2009 showed that 64% of Turks would not want to see Jews as their neighbors, and 76% have a negative attitude towards Jews. A recent article by the New York-based Gatestone Institute entitled “Turkey’s Runaway Anti-Semitism” states that while there is “always an unusual optimism in the official language chosen by Israeli officials or Jewish community leaders [regarding anti-Semitism in Turkey], facts on the ground are a little bit different than the rosy picture.”
City prosecutors in southern France are investigating a local politician for his Twitter account, which was marked “forbidden to dogs and Jews” and featured tweets mocking and denying the Holocaust.
The Montpelier prosecutors were notified Monday by municipal officials about the account, which belongs to Djamel Boumaaz, a former member of France’s far-right National Front party, the Liberation daily reported.
Boumaaz, a Muslim who quit the party last year over what he termed anti-Muslim sentiments by party leader Marine Le Pen, said someone had hacked his account and posted the tweets, the news site Infos H24 reported.
According to Liberation, the profile of the account, which was shut down Monday, read: “Forbidden to dogs and to Jews.”
A tweet posted Sunday featured a black-and-white picture of corpses along with the text: “OK, let’s make up besides I have a heap of Jewish friends.”
Another tweet read: “My son has nightmares from your Holocaust. I told him not to be afraid of imaginary things.”
A known associate of Holocaust denier Alain Soral and anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, Boumaaz was second on the National Front list for the municipal elections in Montpelier in 2014.
Gilles Clavreul, France’s inter-ministerial delegate for the fight against racism and anti-Semitism, tweeted that he contacted Twitter’s French office demanding the closure of Boumaaz’s account for hate speech, which is illegal in France.
Three French anti-racism associations have joined forces to file legal complaints against social network giants Facebook, Twitter and Google’s Youtube for failing to remove “hateful” content posted on their platforms.
French law requires websites to take down racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic material and tell authorities about it.
But French Jewish students union UEJF and anti-racism and anti-homophobia campaigners SOS Racisme and SOS Homophobie said the three firms had removed only a fraction of 586 examples of hateful content the anti-racism groups had counted on their platforms between the end of March and May 10.
Twitter removed only 4%, Youtube 7% and Facebook 34%, according to the associations.
“In light of Youtube, Twitter and Facebook’s profits and how little taxes they pay, their refusal to invest in the fight against hate is unacceptable,” UEJF president Sacha Reingewirtz said in a statement.
Germany got Facebook, Google and Twitter to agree in December to delete hate speech from their websites within 24 hours.
When news first broke about the anti-Semitic and other similarly nasty comments made by the world heavyweight boxing champion, Tyson Fury, in an interview posted online, AntiSemitismWatch did not necessarily feel it warranted much coverage other than a Twitter tweet. He is a man who has frankly shown himself adept at making bizarre, offensive statements before. However, the man keeps digging himself further into the mire on the subject and so, basically, deserves everything he gets.
Fury’s disturbing rant came during an interview posted onto YouTube. In comments about women, he said on: “We live in ancient times where we don’t like women to be whores, opening legs to every Tom, Dick and Harry. We don’t s**g men. We don’t s**g kids. So, if that’s draconian then yeah, I suppose I like being a draconian [sic]. They should call me Dracula Fury shouldn’t they.“
He continued: “I think it’ll be perfectly normal in the next 10 years to have sexual relationships with your animals at home, you know your pets your cats and dogs and all that. So that will be legal.”
He also made a series of disturbing comments about rape, bestiality and pedophilia.
Regarding Jews, Tyson suggested, “Everyone just do what you can, listen to the government follow everybody like sheep, be brainwashed by all the Zionist, Jewish people who own all the banks, all the papers all the TV stations. Be brainwashed by them all.”
“I see all the Zionist media outlets are on my back, because I speak the truth!
U will all see the truth soon enuf [sic], they killed my lord jesus”, he subsequently tweeted.
The obvious conflation of Zionists, Jews and Romans is a point we suspect is completely lost on the boxer and a point too difficult for him to understand.
Nevertheless, he did try to send out some form of message to take the heat out of the situation.
Other social media users were unsurprisingly robust in their criticism of Tyson’s behaviour.
Boxing is often spoken about in terms of what adolescent males can learn from the ring, in particular discipline and respect. Those at the top of the profession have a clear responsibility to act as role models to the young on behalf of the sport. The world heavyweight champion has, by implication, the greatest responsibility imaginable.
The ignorance shown by Tyson in his comments should arguably draw compassion rather than calls for him to be banned. However, his lack of any sense of appreciation of his role model status is thoroughly unforgivable.
In the simplest terms, the political left-wing forms the ‘natural home’ of the ideology that views with hatred everything associated with and related to Israel. In essence, it is anti-Zionist sentiment that is driving the current wave, insurgency if you will, of anti-Semitism.
These views that have come so much to the fore within Labour were sparked by left-winger Corbyn’s party leadership victory, which brought with it an influx of new members with these ‘out-dated and prejudiced’ views.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is the living embodiment of this problem. There is now overwhelming evidence that BDS is home to vile anti-Semitic rhetoric, debate and policy. BDS, and its acolytes such as Israeli Apartheid Week, drives this, in part, through its lack of respect for the dignity of the individual and for the rights of others to hold and express different intellectual positions.
The article prophetically concluded that BDS movement is systemically anti-Semitic and that the political left was in danger of becoming similarly so, and so was the Labour Party!
The first point has, indeed, seen some action follow with various party members, officials and MPs, including Livingstone and Naz Shah, suspended. However, it is this very same evidence that leads AntiSemitismWatch to conclude that this response is doomed to failure.
With each new accusation there have been issues of indecision, prevarication or lack of leadership shown.
Gerry Downing, accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ and being ‘obsessed with Jews’, kicked out, readmitted on appeal and then kicked out again.
Vicki Kirby, probed by the party in 2014 after a series of posts on Twitter in which she apparently suggested Adolf Hitler might be a “Zionist God” and Jews had “big noses”, subsequently reinstated with a warning, appointed vice-chairman of Labour’s Woking branch, and then suspended again.
Naz Shah, who following the Facebook revelations was not suspended for 32 hours until Corbyn succumbed to the pressure exerted by the media, the Prime Minister, Jewish commentators and some within his own party.
Even the suspension of Ken Livingstone was weakly handled by Corbyn. Virtually all party communication on the subject was dealt with by Labour ‘spokespeople’. We also had the spectacle of John Mann being seen be many as the hero of the hour in his facing down and castigation of Livingstone. While not perhaps expecting precisely the same from the leader of the official government opposition something of the spirit displayed by Mann has been entirely lacking in Corbyn.
There are other Labour members in addition to John Mann worthy of mention for their mettle shown in fighting anti-Semitism in the party, including Wes Streeting and Luciana Berger who has herself been subjected to vicious anti-Semitic abuse.
Yet, these example are not set to be the sum total of what Labour will have to contend with. It is inevitable that the injurious damage will continue through further revelations. As such, they will persist in making mockery of the claim of a party with zero tolerance against anti-Semitism.
That brings us to the announcement of an independent inquiry to be led by Shami Chakrabarti, the former head of the rights group Liberty, who will be tasked with opening a dialogue with the Jewish community and will report back to Labour headquarters within two months on how the party can best tackle antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.
It is entirely inconceivable that this inquiry will deliver the necessary radical and truthful thinking and proposed action to deliver the step-change necessary for the Labour Party to emerge from this crisis with a realistic prospect of regaining its credibility.
Instead, it will likely focus on tightening party processes for dealing with potential transgressors of Labour rules on racism and anti-Semitism etc. It will also undoubtedly conclude that there exists a real desire within the party leadership to tackle the issues but, AntiSemitismWatch predicts, it will entirely fail to offer up the necessary action plan to tackle the causes.
So AntiSemitismWatch offers up to Corbyn, Labour and Chakrabarti our own radical five point plan:
As with any plan for recovery, first admit there is a problem. Labour’s Chuka Umunna has alluded to it, but still shied away from admitting the full extent, when he said: “I think there is a problem with anti-Semitism on the fringes of the left, there is no doubt about that; it would be completely disingenuous to deny that.”
The message must come from Corbyn himself. No longer is it viable or acceptable for him to stand behind others speaking on his behalf.
The admission must acknowledge that, like all parts of the political spectrum, Labour will contain individuals who hold plain, old-fashioned anti-Semitic attitudes. Labour is not immune to this just because of their long association with human rights but neither is it unique to them.
The more radical aspect to the admission is to accept that while criticism of any foreign state, including Israel, is legitimate, the rhetoric on this one lone country has, all too often, been used as a disguise for attacking the Jewish people more widely.
The issue of anti-Zionism would also need to be addressed as part of the admission, acknowledging that the right of self-determination is an unalienable right. That anything that calls for the destruction, removal, transportation or dismantlement of a democratic state and its people is in itself anti-Semitic. This provides for Corbyn and Labour to reassert a commitment to achieving a peaceful two-state solution.
Only such explicit clarity offered by our five point plan will take Labour towards a path out of the mire. It provides the only clarity necessary for Labour to then be able to hold true on its zero tolerance pledge.
Danny Cohen, the former head of the BBC, recently suggested of Labour, ‘If you are Jewish how can you vote for them?“. The relationship between Corbyn’s party and the Jewish community hangs by a thread. There remains limited time and opportunity for repair, our five point plan is an offer that should not be rejected.