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.
.@comcast employee Andrew Kovalic is running security for an ugly white supremacist march in Comcast’s hometown of Philly on Saturday. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, don’t tolerate white supremacy in your ranks. Fire Kovalic now and speak out against racism: https://t.co/EiH97ZOqWZ pic.twitter.com/fyw6HBfgLz— Media Mobilizing (@mediamobilizing) November 13, 2018
.@comcast employee Andrew Kovalic is promoting ugly hate speech as a Proud Boy — and is running security for a huge racist and facist rally in Philly Saturday. CEO Brian Roberts: fire him now. Sign this petition here and spread widely https://t.co/EiH97ZOqWZ pic.twitter.com/WCrUNa8MM4— Media Mobilizing (@mediamobilizing) November 13, 2018
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:
THREAD: The Proud Boys and other alt-light groups are rallying in Philadelphia on 11/17.— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 12, 2018
This is Andrew Kovalic, Harrisburg PA Proud Boys Rally Captain. He’s doing Security that day.
He works for @comcast. Here he is making a white power gesture in his Comcast uniform. pic.twitter.com/TC84L290YD
2) Here’s his Facebook profile, where he lists “Comcast” as his workplace next to the laurel iconography of the Proud Boys, an @splcenter- designated hate group.@comcastcares– do you care that your employee Andrew Kovalic is a member of a hate group? pic.twitter.com/gbUz8j9V6b— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 12, 2018
3) Andrew also supports antisemitic conspiracy theories.— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 12, 2018
In their “private” Security chat for 11/17, organizer Jerry Smith says, “Its semitism and identity politics that’s the problem.”
Andrew made sure to hit “like” on that one. pic.twitter.com/mnNMgK46xy
5) Zach Rehl and Holly Delcampo are the organizers.— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 12, 2018
The heads of security are Jerry “I’m a gross antimsemite” Smith and Dino Kay. (I’ll get to them later on in the week.) pic.twitter.com/Id8OrpJRg3
6) They’re trying to present the rally as a pro-American rally.— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 12, 2018
Except that they’re lying to the press while they openly court hate groups to attend.
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.
THREAD: Far-right groups are organizing a “We the People” rally in Philadelphia for Saturday, 11/17.— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 14, 2018
They’re also planning violence against protesters.
This is a screenshot from their leaked security chat, where they discuss what weapons they can legally bring. pic.twitter.com/STLDVEkS67
2) And in the above screenshot, that’s Head of Security Jerry Smith talking with Proud Boy Alan Swinney.— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 14, 2018
This is rally organizer Holly Delcampo introducing Jerry as the head of security. pic.twitter.com/18wXTqYdql
7) And that’s not all.— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 14, 2018
This is Andrew Kovalic, the Harrisburg PA Proud Boys Rally Captain.
He’s part of the leaked security planning chat.https://t.co/1hWzKLa9x6
“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:
Wanted to share our statement on this: There’s no place for disrespectful, offensive behavior in our culture. The individual is no longer employed by Comcast. -Gabbie— Comcast (@comcast) November 14, 2018
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.