Silicon Valley companies aren’t the only ones hiring in San Francisco; one of the nation’s most notorious hate groups is recruiting in the Bay Area.
Residents of San Francisco's Haight neighborhood opened their doors Tuesday morning to find white supremacist propaganda on their stoops and front gates. “JOIN THE KU KLUX KLAN,” the flyers, distributed by the Klan, read.
While San Francisco police say they can’t confirm the flyers’ origin, the KKK has been eager to take credit.
“Yes. They are from the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and we are diligently recruiting in California and the other west coast states,” someone who identified himself as Will Quigg, Grand Wizard of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, told the Daily Beast in a phone conversation. (Amanda Barker, the KKK’s Imperial Kommander also confirmed the group’s involvement with the flyers, emailing the Daily Beast, “Yes that is our fliers.”)
Unless the Klan’s demonstrations veer into violence, as they did during an April rally in Anaheim, California, San Francisco police say they can’t take any action.
“We’re aware of the flyers, but we don’t know who put them up,” San Francisco Police Officer Grace Gatpandan told the Daily Beast. “We don’t condone anyone committing any type of violence, but the police can’t prevent anyone from joining the KKK. Obviously it’s not a pretty site but whoever put it up was exercising their free speech.”
The flyers appear to be in response to recent protests against police brutality.
“Black Lives Matter Black Panthers are telling followers to kill white people and police officers in the name of justice for the killing of negro’s by policemen in the line of duty,” the entirely capslocked screed says. “These negro’s were not innocent, they were thugs breaking the law, and standing up against police.”
The flyers are signed by Quigg’s “Loyal White Knights of the KKK,” a branch of the so-called “new KKK”. Formed around 2010, the Loyal White Knights have a history of campaigning off civil unrest. Following South Carolina’s vote to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse last July, the group led neo-Nazis and other KKK chapters in a violent protest outside the building, chanting racial slurs and stomping on the Israeli flag.
In 2014, the group engaged in a flyering campaign similar to the one in San Francisco, distributing KKK recruitment materials in a “mostly white gentrified neighborhood” in Atlanta.
This latest campaign (which targets San Francisco’s mostly white Haight neighborhood) asks readers to call a hotline with a North Carolina area code, or visit one of two KKK websites.
Prospective KKK applicants would have a hard time reaching the white supremacist cult by their advertised phone number, which they do not appear to answer.
“Hey whitey,” a man with a strong southern accent drawled on the group’s answering machine. “For far too long these liberals have lied to you about what the Bible actually says when they tell you that you’re supposed to love your neighbor. Let me set the record straight. Leviticus Chapter 19, Verse 18 says ‘do not seek revenge or bear grudges against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Nor do the group’s websites inspire much confidence in the supposedly superior group’s graphic design skills.
One of the white supremacist websites was completely broken, its homepage returning a 404 error. The second website has been open for recruitment since 2010, but has the HTML stylings of 1998 and the racial animus of 1861.
“If you are a native born, White, American Citizen of non Jewish descent,” the site reads, emphasizing this last criteria in red font as though the KKK has had to turn away multiple Jewish applicants, “18 years of age or older, a white person of temperate habits, of the Christian Faith, believe in White Supremacy and 100% Americanism … please fill in below.”
If San Francisco residents are too busy to commit to a full-time KKK membership, the hate group would happily accept their money instead. “Donations accepted on website,” the flyers read, next to a cartoon character in KKK robes.
The KKK Knights website does not appear to have any donations link, although this may be an case of terrible web design. The Loyal White Knights’ website is an unholy mess, even without its “photos” page, which is devoted to pictures of burning crosses.
While the Loyal White Knights are mostly based on the east coast, San Francisco is not without its KKK presence.
After a KKK rally in Anaheim, California turned violent in April, one participant was revealed to be a San Francisco resident. And Quigg insinuated that the group had more members, in positions of power on the west coast. “We have a lot, and we do have lawyers, we do have judges, we have other types of attorneys in our membership in California and in other states,” the KKK member said.
Quigg might have been telling the truth. Regardless, the group wants to see its numbers grow, fueled by white fear.
“We are in every state,” the flyer reads, reassuring would-be applicants that “you will not be alone anymore.”