Comcast has fired an employee of 10 years after discovering his alleged membership in the far-right group the Proud Boys.
Communications technician Andrew Kovalic of Pennsylvania was terminated Wednesday after a petition created by the social justice organization the Media Mobilizing Project went viral, according to Philly magazine.
“Employing Andrew Kovalic, a member of the hate group the Proud Boys, is an embarrassment and an insult to the communities of Philadelphia and the country,” read the petition with 440 signatures addressed to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. “As Philadelphia gears up to resist the racist march he is helping to coordinate, Comcast should terminate his employment immediately, and state clearly and publicly that it will not tolerate racist and fascist speech, organizing and actions from its employees.”
The petition contained a photo of Kovalic making the “OK” hand signal, which is typically associated with white supremacy.
On Friday, Comcast sent a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle: “There’s no place for disrespectful, offensive behavior in our culture. The individual is no longer employed by Comcast.”
We wanted to make sure you personally saw the statement we released in response to 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 aforementioned march that involves Kovalic is called “We the People,” and according its Facebook description, “This event is 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. … Will you stand with us? ITS TIME TO SHOW PHILLY WHAT PATRIOTISM REALLY IS!!”
According to Philly magazine, the petition was created after a Monday tweet by @AntiFashGordon exposed Kovalic’s alleged allegiance. “The Proud Boys and other alt-light groups are rallying in Philadelphia on 11/17,” read the tweet. “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.”
AntiFashGordon tweeted a screenshot of Kovalic’s Facebook profile, which listed his place of work and the Proud Boys’ laurel logo.
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
Another tweet showed Kovalic liking “antisemitic conspiracy theories” on Facebook. Other alleged members of the Proud Boys were named in subsequent tweets.
3) Andrew also supports antisemitic conspiracy theories.
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
— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 12, 2018
Philly magazine reports that Kavalic is a member of the Harrisburg chapter of the Proud Boys, a representative of which emailed Yahoo Lifestyle “ORANGE_MAN_BAD” when contacted for comment.
The group also sent a statement to Philly that read, “We like beer. We still like beer. Have a Dick pic. Sincerely, The Greatest Fucking Fraternity in the History of Mankind.”
A representative of the Media Mobilizing Project directed Yahoo Lifestyle to a statement in Philly magazine that read: “Comcast has done the right thing by not continuing to employ a person planning a rally focused on hate for Black, Brown, immigrant, Jewish and many other communities. But if Comcast truly wants to erase the hate, it has to make a stronger statement in support of communities under threat in these precarious times, and note that it will never tolerate racist, fascist, anti-Semitic and white supremacist words, actions, and organizing by its employees.”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit legal advocacy group, the Proud Boys, founded in 2016, is a “designated hate group,” having helped organize the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., a gathering of white supremacists.
The Proud Boys’ national website reads: “The basic tenet of the group is that we are ‘Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.’ Like Archie Bunker, we long for the days when ‘girls were girls and men were men.’”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Proud Boys “deny any connection to the racist ‘alt-right,’ insisting they are simply a fraternal group spreading an ‘anti-political correctness’ and ‘anti-white guilt’ agenda.”
Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach Kovalic for comment.
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