(J. The Jewish News of Northern California via JTA) — The functional headquarters and nerve center of the nation’s most prolific antisemitic propaganda group have moved from California’s Bay Area to Florida.
Jon Minadeo Jr., the leader of Goyim TV, announced the move in videos and social media posts this week, explaining that he had grown increasingly isolated in his hometown of Petaluma and saw Florida as fertile ground for the hate group’s activities.
The announcement came in a dramatic, Hollywood-style movie trailer replete with drone shots of the Florida coast, alligators and flamingos. “My time in this state is over,” Minadeo says in a voiceover.
A loose network of antisemites, white supremacists and virulently anti-gay activists, Goyim TV — which is both a website and the name of Minadeo’s business registered in California — focuses its efforts on spreading anti-Jewish propaganda. Its followers have claimed responsibility for hundreds of antisemitic flyer drops in more than 40 states over the past two years.
The flyers, which are often distributed in plastic baggies, blame Jews for the Covid pandemic, for the war in Ukraine and for “gun control”and represent a significant portion of the antisemitic incidents recorded by national antisemitism watchdogs.
“GDL’s overarching goal is to cast aspersions on Jews and spread antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories,” an Anti-Defamation League report says.
In 2022, the group “more than tripled” the number of propaganda acts targeting Jews, “making them feel vulnerable all over the United States,” the ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said during a recent media appearance.
Jon Minadeo, Jr. pins antisemitic flyers to vehicle dashboards in Novato, California in Marin County, near Arthur and Washington Streets. Video published Nov. 23. pic.twitter.com/NO6uBCm1ff
— Gabe Stutman (@jnewsgabe) November 28, 2022
The most widely viewed videos on Goyim TV are hosted by Minadeo, who works alongside a cadre of supporters known as the Goyim Defense League to help keep the website running, evade takedowns and orchestrate propaganda events “IRL,” or “in real life.” The terms “Goyim TV” and the “Goyim Defense League” are often used interchangeably by watchers of the hate group’s activities.
The group has gained widespread publicity in part because of several banner drops; one such stunt troubled many in Los Angeles in October. Seeking to capitalize on the mainstreaming of antisemitism from celebrities such as the rapper Ye, Goyim TV hung a banner over the 405 freeway claiming “Kanye is right about the Jews.” That phrase subsequently appeared in other public stunts, including in Florida, where it was displayed during a college football game in Jacksonville.
Minadeo, who grew up in Northern California, had for years recorded near-daily livestreams in a makeshift studio at his home in Petaluma. In the livestreams, which have continued from Florida and are viewed in real time by hundreds of people who simultaneously donate money, Minadeo rails against Jews, Black people, Latinos and LGBTQ people, spouting a litany of slurs, Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories.
He sells and ships packets of 500 flyers, encouraging his viewers to pass out as many as possible, usually in the middle of the night. Minadeo praises those who drop the flyers, calling them “paper goys,” and rewards anyone who earns coverage on TV news broadcasts with free merchandise, including antisemitic T-shirts and bars of soap that say “wash the Jew away.”
Despite his close family ties and following in Northern California, Minadeo had increasingly felt besieged by negative press and by criticism of his behavior by authorities. Minadeo’s family owns Dinucci’s Italian Dinners, a historic restaurant and popular stop en route to the Sonoma Coast, and a source close to Minadeo said the 39-year-old once worked as a waiter there, one of his last real jobs.
But his reputation had suffered locally amid a flood of coverage of his provocative antisemitic propaganda operation in J. The Jewish News of Northern California and other Bay Area media organizations.
And he had made enemies. Over a year ago his house was vandalized, he said, and later someone “threatened to burn down my house.” Minadeo said he never felt the authorities took his complaints seriously.
“Jews are getting to intimidate me, vandalize my house, slander me, assault me, and the police do absolutely nothing,” he said.
Can confirm his house was in fact vandalized, and Antifa took credit for the crime.https://t.co/2xOZSmVrY9
— Gabe Stutman (@jnewsgabe) December 15, 2022
North Bay police have called out the flyer campaigns as “hate incidents,” which Minadeo said has damaged his reputation.
“You’re essentially putting a green light on my head with the community, to say that I’m some bad person because I’m talking truth about Jews,” he said.
Though Minadeo says he does not support violence, his content is rife with violent imagery and messages. One digital background that appears frequently on his livestream is a photo of the train tracks leading to Auschwitz. Much of the casual language used in the Goyim TV online universe is extremely violent; when Minadeo wants to point out something he doesn’t like, for example, he instructs his followers to “gas” it, or kill it, using a reference to the Holocaust.
He also encourages his followers to harass journalists and activists who cover or speak out against his activities.
Minadeo hopes Florida will be more hospitable to him and his worldview, and he may have reason to believe that to be true. A recent report from the ADL described an upward trend of extremist and antisemitic activity in the Sunshine State, driven in part by emerging white supremacist groups including White Lives Matter, Sunshine State Nationalists, NatSoc Florida and Florida Nationalists.
Minadeo and Goyim TV have partnered with neo-Nazi elements in Florida on antisemitic stunts in the past, and the Goyim Defense League has been extremely active in the state. Last May, Minadeo and his followers held a “protest” outside a Holocaust memorial center in Maitland, an Orlando suburb, carrying bullhorns and holding up signs denying the Holocaust and saying “Jews promote homosexuality.” In October, he and others describing themselves as “laser Nazis” used a light projection to superimpose the “Kanye is right about the Jews” message at the Jacksonville football game, which was attended by 75,000 people.
Jon Minadeo Jr. of Petaluma, leader of the Goyim Defense League, celebrates a digital scroll reading “Kanye is right about the Jews,” projected onto TIAA Bank Field after the Florida-Georgia rivalry game in Jacksonville on Saturday night. Attendance was 75K pic.twitter.com/bbMB2EgRZ5
— Gabe Stutman (@jnewsgabe) October 30, 2022
Minadeo has pledged to continue Goyim TV’s propaganda efforts and daily livestreams from Florida, where at least one other prominent member of the hate group already lives: Dominic Di Giorgio, a tech-savvy GDL operative known as “Ned Flanders.”
In its video announcing the move, Goyim TV showed images of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Jerusalem signing an antisemitism bill and praying at the Western Wall. “Keep the pressure on,” a message on the video said. “This has to end.”
Parts of Florida have large Jewish populations, including Tampa and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area, which has one of the largest Jewish populations of any metro area in the United States.
The Secure Community Network, which monitors threats to Jewish communities across North America, did not address Goyim TV specifically in a statement but said it monitors threats to Jewish communities closely, and over the last six months it had addressed “risk events” affecting over 4,000 Jewish institutions and referred “over 225 individuals to law enforcement for follow-up.”
“As the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America, the Secure Community Network works closely with local Jewish Federations, community leaders, and law enforcement partners to keep the Jewish community safe and secure,” said the group’s leader, Michael Masters.
A version of this piece originally ran in J. The Jewish News of Northern California, and is reprinted with permission.