Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum targeted by racist robocalls after GOP challenger’s monkey comments
On the heels of Andrew Gillum’s historic Democratic primary win in the Florida governor’s race, an intensely racist in robocall is targeting the Black progressive.
Echoing Gillum’s Republican challenger Rob DeSantis, who basically called Gillum a monkey after his win, the robocalls feature an exaggeration of a slave dialect and monkey noises in the background.
As the New York Times reports, these calls open with “I is Andrew Gillum” before the listener is bombarded with “jungle sounds” like drums and monkeys in the background.
The call continues its repugnant racism as the speaker says, “We Negroes… done made mud huts while white folk waste a bunch of time making their home out of wood an’ stone.”
After this, the speaker then promises to pass a law which lets Black people escape arrest if “the Negro know fo’ sho’ he didn’t do nothin’.”
Geoff Burgan, Gillum’s spokesperson responded in a statement sent to the Washington Post, “This is reprehensible — and could only have come from someone with intentions to fuel hatred and seek publicity. Please don’t give it undeserved attention.”
Republicans have also spoken out against the robocalls, including the current governor Rick Scott who tweeted, “There is no room for any racial politics here in Florida — none. Florida is a melting pot of people from all over the globe, and we are proud of it. No attempts to divide people by race or ethnicity will be tolerated, from anyone. THIS. STOPS. NOW.”
There is no room for any racial politics here in Florida – none. Florida is a melting pot of people from all over the globe, and we are proud of it. No attempts to divide people by race or ethnicity will be tolerated, from anyone. THIS. STOPS. NOW. https://t.co/LX72MvP89P
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) August 31, 2018
On Meet the Press, Gillum spoke about the implications of a governor’s race that has racism running through it: “I want to make sure that we don’t racialize and, frankly, weaponize race as a part of this process… People are taking their cues from [DeSantis], from his campaign and from Donald Trump.”
Gillum stopped short of calling DeSantis a racist, telling Chuck Todd on the program, “I have not called him a racist, but his rhetoric in my opinion has to be toned down. I won’t get into the gutter and name call.”
At the end of the robocall, it states that it is produced by Road to Power, an anti-Semitic and white supremacist group based in Idaho. The Southern Poverty Law Center explains that robocalls are becoming a tactic of white supremacist groups, calling them a “new, high-tech, computer-delivered brand of hate.”