After Clashing With Food Not Bombs, I Will Defend Their Freedom of Speech | Opinion

  • This week they called us ‘liberal scum’

Photo via Unsplash.

OutSFL and Food Not Bombs Fort Lauderdale recently got into an online spat. In an editorial last week, I blasted them for calling us “disgusting” and all police “pigs.”

This week I will defend them.

While I still abhor their rhetoric, I will vigorously defend their right to say it.

What separates this country from so many places around the world is our strong protections for Freedom of Speech. I would be a hypocrite if I believed it should not apply to those who disagree with me.

In many places around the world, this publication would be banned. The same goes for Food Not Bombs.

FNB responded online to my editorial. They reiterated their disdain for police, then called OutSFL “tone-deaf” and “liberal scum.”

They have a right to say it.

And I have a right to respond and push back. Some on their side thought my editorial was too harsh and went too far. But nothing I said went as far as anything they said.

Let me also add — facts matter. And some of the details in the response they posted were false. For instance, in 2021 a car in the Stonewall Street Festival Parade killed one person and injured two others. Initial reports made it seem like the car targeted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Later this turned out to be false.

The first few moments after the accident were filled with panic and fear — most of those close to the scene had no idea what was happening. Some folks even jumped to quick conclusions, calling it a terrorist attack.

It was not.

This was a tragic accident. The vast majority of people that were there, were thankful of the police’s quick response and actions that day — me included.

Food Not Bombs also claimed the driver was drunk. Also, false. Instead, the driver was an elderly person and hit the accelerator instead of the brakes.

I would implore FNB to do a better job at fact checking their posts.

FNB also made a point that it does more than just feed the poor. That’s true. I was being snarky. I agree with many of the causes they’ve taken up and applaud their efforts to bring attention to left-wing causes — including their advocacy for those experiencing homelessness. Our unhoused population are some of the most stigmatized and marginalized people in this country. Right now, they are under attack. Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a law, basically criminalizing them.

We should all care more about those who are experiencing homelessness.

FNB stood up to the City of Fort Lauderdale when it implemented a ban on feeding the homeless many years ago. They won the case. Good for them. So few organizations actually fight for the unhoused. FNB is one of those few. We need more.

I will end with this: no organization or entity or company, including our own, is above critique. I will always welcome feedback and criticism. But that doesn’t mean we will allow anyone to demean and degrade others on our social media accounts, or encourage violence. While they’re free to do that on their own accounts — that rhetoric and behavior will not be tolerated on ours.


Food Not Bombs Attacks OutSFL; Spreads Disinformation | Opinion


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