As activists in Philadelphia prepare to resist a planned far-right rally, one local advocacy organization successfully called on the City of Brotherly Love’s biggest corporation to fire a participating employee. 

The Media Mobilizing Project* (MMP) launched a petition yesterday (November 13) that requested Comcast Corporation CEO Brian Roberts immediately fire employee Andrew Kovalic. The petition cited a Twitter thread from user @AntiFashGordon that features a photo of Kovalic in a Comcast uniform giving a hand symbol for the Proud Boys, a self-described “Western chauvinist” group that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calls a racist and misogynistic hate organization.

It also included screenshots of his alleged participation in social media chats for the We The People Rally, whose Facebook page calls for ”all Patriots, Militia, 3%, constitution loving Americans, pro good cop, pro ICE, pro law and order, pro life, pro American value, pro gun and anti illegal immigration” participants to demonstrate. Here are a few emblematic tweets:

The last of these tweets reference how Sports, Beer & Politics‘ Zach Rehl, a co-organizer of the rally, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that organizers are “not interested in having any racist groups there, and if we find them, we’re going to remove them from the event.” The SPLC previously listed Rehl as an organizer of pro-Donald Trump rallies that attracted far-right participants. 

@AntiFashGordon tweeted more screenshots today (November 14) that suggest rally attendees plan to commit violence against counter-protesters. 

“As communities from Kentucky to Pennsylvania to California reel from brutal mass shootings and attacks fueled by racism, White supremacy, and antisemitism, Philadelphia is gearing up to resist a major march and rally from the Proud Boys in the heart of Philly’s historic district, Old City, on Saturday, November 17th,” MMP’s petition read. “While Comcast claims it ‘cares’ about communities like Philly, the poorest big city in America and a majority people of color city, it also employs Andrew Kovalic, a member of the Proud Boys, who is going to be running security for the march on Saturday. Comcast should fire Kovalic now, and strongly state that it will not tolerate racist and fascist speech, organizing and actions from its employees.”

Comcast followed suit this afternoon with a tweet announcing that Kovalic was fired: 

The Proud Boys, which Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes created, made national headlines in October after several members were videotaped assaulting suspected anti-fascist protesters at one of McInnes’ speeches in New York City. McInnes maintains that the Proud Boys aren’t a White supremacist organization, and the group includes numerous young men of color in its ranks. Despite these surface-level appeals to inclusivity, McInnes’ vitriol towards people of color and women—as well as several Proud Boys’ participation in White nationalist rallies—links the Proud Boys to a broader constellation of White supremacist entities. 

 

*Arts and Culture Reporter Sameer Rao previously interned with the Media Mobilizing Project on its CAP Comcast campaign.