A neo-Nazi group is targeting Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum with racist robocalls to Florida voters, The Tallahassee Democrat reported this week.
“The automated calls are narrated by someone pretending to be Gillum and using an exaggerated minstrel dialect with jungle noises in the background,” the outlet wrote.
The Democrat, which first reported the calls Friday, said it chose not to publish audio of the call because it was blatantly racist and offensive.
If elected, Gillum would be the first Black governor of Florida. He is one of three Black gubernatorial nominees so far this primary cycle. There have only been two Black governors elected in United States history.
Geoff Burgan, the communications director for Gillum’s campaign in Florida, called the robocall about the gubernatorial nominee “reprehensible.”
“This is reprehensible, and could only have come from someone with intentions to fuel hatred and seek publicity,” he told the Democrat. “Please don’t give it undeserved attention.”
A disclaimer at the end of the call says it was funded by The Road to Power, a white supremacist website and podcast linked to a man named Scott Rhodes — also known as Scott Platek — of Sandpoint, Idaho. According to the Des Moines Register, Rhodes has been linked to other robocall campaigns in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as in Oregon and California.
Most recently, he was linked to a neo-Nazi robocall regarding the death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, a university student in Iowa who was found dead last week. Police say the man accused of killing her is an undocumented immigrant, something President Trump and others on the right have latched onto to push a dangerous, anti-immigrant narrative.
“Some relatives of Mollie Tibbetts are implying that despite having been murdered by a non-white, savage intruder, she would still support the invasion of America by a brown horde currently at a staggering 58 million. But you know in your heart they are wrong,” the voice in the robocall says. “If after her life has now been brutally stolen from her, she could be brought back to life for just one moment and asked, ‘What do you think now?’ Mollie Tibbetts would say, ‘Kill them all.’”
The call reportedly used a woman’s voice to mimic Tibbetts’ for the line, “Kill them all.”
Iowans reported receiving the robocall on Tuesday, according to The Daily Beast.
Immigrants actually commit fewer crimes than native born Americans, and Tibbetts’ family has pushed back against the emerging narrative, saying it is not what Tibbetts would have wanted.
“The Hispanic community are Iowans,” Tibbetts’ father said during her funeral earlier this week. “They have the same values as Iowans…. As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food.”
Another of Tibbetts’ relatives released a similar statement on Facebook, in a post that has since been made private or removed. “Especially for those of you who did not know her in life, you do not get to usurp Mollie and her legacy for your racist, false narrative now that she is no longer with us,” the relative wrote. “Yes, [Rivera] is an immigrant to this country, with uncertainty to his legal status. But it matters not.”