Antisemitic message referencing Kanye West displayed outside Florida v. Georgia football game

The message appeared on the exterior of TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.

October 31, 2022, 12:10 PM

An antisemitic message referencing the rapper formerly known as Kanye West appeared on an electronic video board at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, following Saturday's college football rivalry game between the University of Florida and the University of Georgia, sparking outrage and condemnation from local officials.

The offensive message was scrolled across a video board on the exterior of the 68,000-seat stadium, also home to the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, officials confirmed after several people posted images of the message on social media.

The message on the TIAA Bank Field video board read, "Kanye was right about the Jews," officials said. The message was an apparent reference to antisemitic posts the musician now known as Ye has made on social media and in interviews, leading to an onslaught of condemnation against him and causing multiple companies to cut ties with him, including sneaker giant Adidas and fashion powerhouse Balenciaga.

General view before the start of a game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators at TIAA Bank Field on Oct. 29, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla.
James Gilbert/Getty Images

Similar messages appeared around Jacksonville over the weekend referencing West's antisemitic comments, including banners displayed on an overpass and projected on a building in the city.

It was not immediately clear how and who was behind displaying the message on the stadium billboard. Officials at TIAA Bank Field have commented on the incident.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office released a statement Monday morning, saying it has been made aware of the antisemitic messages, but noted that no crime had been committed.

"We have been looking into these actions and will continue to work with our partner agencies regarding these reports of antisemitic messages," the sheriff's office statement said. "At this time, the Sheriff’s Office has not identified any crimes having been committed; the comments displayed do not include any type of threat and are protected by the First Amendment. We will continue to monitor any reports of this nature to determine if they rise to level of a criminal nature."

Last week, demonstrators unfurled similar banners from a Los Angeles freeway overpass and appeared to display Nazi salutes.

The University of Georgia and the University of Florida released a joint statement on Sunday denouncing the commandeering of the Jacksonville stadium's video board to spread hate.

"The University of Florida and the University of Georgia together denounce these and all acts of antisemitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance," the schools wrote in the statement. "We are proud to be home to strong and thriving Jewish communities at UGA and UF, and we stand together against hate."

Jaguars owner Shad Khan also issued a statement Sunday, decrying the acts of hate, saying the messages marred the experience of those who attended the college football game, which Georgia won 42-20.

Ricky Pearsall of the Florida Gators attempts to catch a pass during the second half of a game against the Georgia Bulldogs at TIAA Bank Field on Oct. 29, 2022 in Jacksonville, Fla.
James Gilbert/Getty Images

"I am really distressed on all this antisemitic rhetoric around Florida-Georgia. It’s hurtful," Khan told Jacksonville station WJXT prior to the Jaguars-Denver Broncos game in London on Sunday. “I mean, it’s not the Jacksonville I know and love and all of us have to work together to absolutely put an end to it. So, let’s stop it."

Jacksonville's Mayor Lenny Curry also took to Twitter on Sunday, writing that his city is "made better" by diversity.

"Those who spread messages of hate, racism and antisemitism will not be able to change the heart of this city or her people," Curry said. "I condemn these cowards and their cowardly messages."

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