Tuesday’s Berkeley City Council meeting was disrupted by “Zoom bombers” who spewed antisemitic rhetoric and racial slurs during a public comment period.
Several Bay Area jurisdictions have been targeted by similar hate speech, which exploits the option local governments started providing during the pandemic for the public to participate remotely in meetings. The San Francisco Chronicle reported similar comments have disrupted meetings in Walnut Creek and Sonoma County this year, as well as a meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors earlier Tuesday. A Berkeley High School class was also interrupted by a Zoom bomber early in the pandemic.
At the Berkeley City Council meeting, several Zoom accounts — one of which was named “Dylann Roof,” after the white supremacist gunman who murdered nine Black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina — targeted the remote public comment period for a zoning board appeal.
Each speaker was cut off within a few seconds, but not before delivering racial slurs and hateful messages about Jews. Mayor Jesse Arreguín noted the trend of Zoom attacks as he condemned the remarks and apologized to those who heard them.
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