White supremacists targeted Tompkins County legislator Anna Kelles (D-2nd District) and a campaign supporter through anonymous emails in late May, the campaign said in a Monday press release. Kelles is a candidate in the Democratic primary for the 125th New York Assembly District.
The perpetrators, affiliated with the website “8kun,” directed threats to Kelles sometime around May 22 or 23, campaign manager Mo Brown told The Sun. The members directed the campaign to remove a banner located at 701 W. State St. — if not, they alleged that they would deface the banner with Nazi symbols, the campaign said.
Ultimately, the campaign removed the banner. “Anna didn’t want to see it defaced,” Brown said.
The second threat, directed at a supporter, came on Sunday afternoon. The anonymous email warned that unless the supporter removed a lawn sign in support of Kelles from their home, the group’s members would “dox” — publicizing private information — the supporter, the campaign said.
The supporter filed a report with the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, Brown said.
8kun (formerly 8chan) is a white supremacist and neo-Nazi internet platform — its members have a history of white nationalist violence. In 2019, terrorists in El Paso, Texas, Christchurch, New Zealand, and Ponway, California utilized the site to communicate prior to their attacks, posting white supremacist manifestos and videos of the attacks.
The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
The threats to Kelles campaign and supporters come in a time of profound protest against white supremacy and national outcry over surfacing acts of police brutality — sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by white men in Georgia.
The Tompkins County Democratic Committee condemned the threats against Kelles in a press release on Monday. “Our democratic Committee stands together to support all of our candidates.”