Reply to anti-Semitic tweet has Brick Mayor John Ducey at center of Twitter storm
Watch: The future of LakewoodBRICK - Mayor John G. Ducey was at the center of a Twitter storm Wednesday after his response to a comment about Jewish visitors at Brick parks went viral. The trouble for Ducey started Tuesday when Twitter user @simms10471 tweeted to the mayor to "do something about our parks and beaches," saying they were being used and "ruined" by "Hasidic and Orthodox Jews." Ducey responded to the comment with: "Our parks security has started already. Just call police with any problems and they will send them out."The mayor's response triggered a flood of tweets criticizing Ducey for ignoring the anti-Semitism in the sender's message. Twitter users charged that Ducey's response implied that police should be called to deal with Orthodox Jewish park users. "It’s just a misunderstanding," Ducey told the Asbury Park Press on Wednesday. "My response from people who don’t know me kind of got misconstrued. They were trying to twist that around.”He added: “Obviously, there was no call made (to police) because there was no problem.”The account @simms10471 has since been removed or deleted. The mayor called the comment "bigoted" and noted that blocking nonresidents from using Brick parks would be illegal."It would be discriminatory to ban people from our parks, and would be against Green Acres rules as well," he said. New Jersey's Green Acres program funds parks and outdoor recreational spaces for public use."What I was trying to do was diffuse the situation and take the target off the discriminated people and put it on myself," Ducey said.The mayor condemned "bigotry or hateful comments" in a post on Twitter and spent much of Wednesday morning responding to comments to clarify his statements. But many Twitter users were not satisfied with his explanation.
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"Too late, you showed us yesterday who you really are, an good old fashioned anti-Semit," wrote @LeviLobl."Then why did u tell a guy to call the cops if there were Jews in the park?" wrote @gardengoth420."Weak. Your failure to condemn an anti-semite yesterday, while entertaining his hateful rhetoric is all the proof we need that you aren't fit to be a public servant," wrote @WanderingBen.The Twitter exchange comes amid fast growth in neighboring Lakewood, predominantly fueled by the influx of Orthodox Jewish families.The cultural change frequently has erupted into sharp discussion in social media, very often veering into anti-Semitism.Earlier this month, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal took Facebook to task for allowing speech on its platforms that promote "negative stereotypes and conspiracy theories about Orthodox Jews." Ducey said he understands why his comment was misconstrued, but added that he was trying to diffuse the situation.“It’s a shame that it happened," he said by phone. "There’s no place for bigotry (or) antisemitism in Brick Township. We (municipal officials) definitely condemn anyone who would portray those types of feelings towards people."Contributing: Stacey Barchenger
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