BAY RIDGE — The discovery of a poster advertising a notorious white supremacist group on a wall in Bay Ridge on Thursday has generated outrage as officials scramble to find out who put the flyer there and why.
The poster championing the Patriot Front was found on the wall of a building on 86th Street between Third and Fourth avenues and contained the slogan “To Ourselves and Our Posterity” in large lettering.
The poster was discovered in the wake of a series of shocking physical attacks on Jewish people in Williamsburg, Borough Park and other parts of New York City. There have been 13 anti-Semitic incidents in New York since Dec. 10, the New York Post reported.
The poster doesn’t advertise any particular rally or event.
But, reaction was swift and negative
“We’re very concerned,” Rachel Grinspan, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Home Reporter on Friday. “Any form of extremist rhetoric is a concern, especially to see it popping up in a local neighborhood like Bay Ridge.”
Bay Ridge residents were quick to express their disgust.
“God, that’s so disgusting. Just looking at the poster turns my stomach,” Amanda Ferris wrote on Twitter.
“This is the rare instance when it’s totally acceptable to say, ‘Get out of our neighborhood. We don’t want your kind here,’” Home Reporter columnist Jay Brown tweeted.
Mallory McMahon, co-founder of the group Fight Back Bay Ridge, said the poster represented hate speech. “Anyone defending this is condoning it. This is not a First Amendment issue. This is hate speech and these posters are being found after a wave of anti-Semitic violence in NY. Nazis, GTFO,” she tweeted.
The controversy erupted on Thursday when a Twitter user identifying himself as SoulKhan shared a picture of the poster on social media and urged local residents to be alert to any other white nationalist materials found in Bay Ridge.
The poster was quickly taken down.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the Patriot Front as a white nationalist hate group. The Patriot Front is a splinter group that broke off from a larger organization, Vanguard America, following the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In that incident, clashes between white supremacist groups and protesters grew violent, resulting in the death of one protester, Heather Heyer. Heyer was killed when a man plowed his car into a group of protesters.
The Anti-Defamation League’s website describes the Patriot Front as an organization that “falls into the alt-right segment of the white supremacist movement but presents itself as a ‘patriotic’ nationalist group.”
Councilmember Justin Brannan was blunt. “Hi there. If you are a neo-Nazi, get the F out of my neighborhood,” he tweeted. “My constituents have a right to live without fear. We will not be intimidated by clowns and cowards.”
Brannan, a Democrat representing Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, was one of several voices denouncing the Patriot Front.
U.S. Rep. Max Rose, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus also condemned the group and expressed outrage over the poster.
“At a time when hate crimes are at an all-time high across our city, I am outraged to learn that neo-Nazi propaganda has been posted around the Bay Ridge community,” Frontus wrote on Facebook. “People are becoming more brazen with their displays of hatred and bigotry and we’ve got to make sure that our voices are louder than theirs.”
Frontus, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Coney Island, also posted a photo of the controversial poster on her Facebook page.