A disturbing robocall has been hitting phone lines in Florida in the run-up to the state’s gubernatorial election this fall, in which an impersonator of an African-American candidate refers to the nominee as the N-word and as a monkey.
Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, would be the first black governor of the state of Florida if he wins the race against his Republican counterpart Ron DeSantis. Some charges of racism against DeSantis have come about during the campaign, including in August when the GOP candidate made an unwise statement.
Trying to paint Gillum as a “socialist,” DeSantis said on television that “the last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace” such ideologies, he said, according to reporting from Vox.
Despite DeSantis denying that his comments were meant to contain racist sentiment, fallout from said comments in the days were to follow was severe. The Republican candidate has struggled to recover from that point forward — according to reporting from The Hill, Gillum currently leads DeSantis in a recent poll by as much as 6 points.
Now, more charges of racist comments from an outside group are plaguing the race. The call is being made to Florida residents, in which the speaker impersonates Gillum in a minstrel-like manner, referring to “himself” as the N-word and, again, as a monkey. Vice contributor Alexandra Jaffe took to Twitter to share the text of the call.
A second racist robocall has gone out against Andrew Gillum in Florida, apparently from the same white supremacist group that sent a similar call last month. Background: https://t.co/cftGGOeAlK
— Patricia Mazzei (@PatriciaMazzei) October 23, 2018
“Well hello there. I is the n***** Andrew Gillum and I’ll be askin’ you to make me governor of this here state of Florida,” the voice behind the call states, according to reports from NBC News.
The call continues, and makes reference to the allegations made against DeSantis’s comments in the past. “My state opponent, who done call me monkey, is doin’ a lot of hollerin’ about how ‘spensive my plans for health care be,” the impersonator says in the call. When he says the word “monkey,” the sound of a monkey call is played over his voice as well.
A spokesman for the Gillum campaign decried the robocall, slamming it as ugly.
“These disgusting, abhorrent robocalls represent a continuation of the ugliest, most divisive campaign in Florida’s history,” Gillum spokesman Geoff Burgan said. “We would hope that these calls, and the dangerous people who are behind them, are not given any more attention than they already have been.”
The call is apparently paid for by an organization called “The Road to Power,” which is a white supremacist and anti-Semitic podcast hosted by a man named Scott Rhodes from Idaho, according to reporting from CNN.