Thousands of people protested against an alleged “white supremacist” rally in Boston on Saturday.
Multiple outlets, journalists, politicians and other public figures declared that the event that drew an estimated 40,000 people to protest against was racist in nature.
ThinkProgress covered the rally with this headline, “White supremacist rally fizzles, overtaken by massive anti-racism march.” The story mocked the idea that it was a “free speech” rally, stated that there it would draw “attendees from the same white supremacist groups that marched on Charlottesville last weekend,” and that some Klansmen had announced they would attend the rally.
In a viral tweet that was retweeted over 50,000 times, musician Mikel Jollet said, “The hate speech rally in Boston has about 100 white supremacists and TWENTY THOUSAND peaceful protestors…”
The mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, also stated that the event was intended to spread a “message of hate.”
In response to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s skepticism that the rally was white supremacist, Politico Magazine editor-in-chief Blake Hounshell cited the fact that there was one man in attendance who wore a shirt celebrating the “14 words” — a popular neo-Nazi slogan.
However, by all appearances, the Boston free speech rally was not white supremacist. The organizers of the event denounced racism prior to Saturday and dropped the one speaker who had any involvement with the alt-right rally in Charlottesville last week.
One of the primary speakers at the rally was Shiva Ayyadurai, an Indian-American running for Senate in Massachusetts. When he spoke, people behind him carried signs saying, “Black Lives DO Matter.”
— Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai (@va_shiva) August 19, 2017
In his speech, Ayyadurai called for “love” within the nation and the unification of Americans of “all races and backgrounds in order to take on the Establishment.”
Joe Biggs, a right-wing commentator who was a featured speaker at the rally, blamed the Mayor Walsh for the false impression the rally was racist.
“Marty Walsh deserves the blame for calling us white supremacists. Throughout the week, he was calling us racists. Every news channel said we were Nazis,” Biggs told The Daily Caller.
“He’s the reason thousands of people showed up wanting to kill us,” he added with laughter.
He insisted that the rally was definitely not a white supremacist rally and he himself was not a Nazi, noting that his wife is non-white.
“Not everyone there was even a Trump supporter. We had a guy who spoke with pro-Bernie stuff on and another guy who didn’t even vote,” Biggs said.
He also said that the event opened up with a Jewish couple addressing the attendees and that another speaker was an African-American man who spoke about equality and unity.
Biggs expressed concern about the security for the event. He said that the rally had to end early over fears it would be tough to leave the area if they waited longer, but he still said it was “total chaos leaving the rally.”
The attendees had to wade through the “hateful crowds” in an armored police vehicle and were later dropped off at a random post office, forcing them to make it to safety on their own.
In his opinion, “the whole thing was a trap to continue the narrative that everyone on the right is similar to Hitler.”
When asked about the man with the 14 words shirt, Biggs said he never saw him at the rally that drew around 40 attendees and strongly disputed he was a part of it.
He added that while the attendees waited for their police escort, “a random dude showed up with a shaved head, red-laced jackboots and a swastika t-shirt.” Police put the alleged skinhead with the free speech crowd, even though he did not attend the rally and no one knew who he was.
Organizers made the skinhead turn his swastika shirt inside-out and then kicked him out of following along with the police escort.
Biggs said that no media were allowed in to cover their rally, including a documentary filmmaker with him.
“It’s almost like they didn’t want anyone to know it wasn’t a Nazi rally,” he told TheDC.
Cassandra Fairbanks, a writer for Big League Politics who was slated to speak at the rally, also disputed it was racist in nature.
“The Boston rally was never about race or identity politics, and wasn’t planned as a response to Charlottesville or related in any way,” Fairbanks told TheDC. “It was about the freedom of speech and Trump supporters not being allowed to rally or gather without attempts to silence us from the left.”
She pulled out of speaking at the rally over a deluge of death threats she received following the violence in Charlottesville. Like Biggs, she blamed Mayor Walsh for why the free speech rally was wrongly branded as a “white supremacist.”
“The people protesting were duped into protesting things they agree with by the media and their disgusting mayor,” Fairbanks said.
She added that the Boston rally shows that “the Left will now brand every right-wing gathering as a Nazi rally. They even labeled the march against google as a white supremacist march. We are screwed if we let them keep this false narrative up.”
To accusers who may say she and other speakers are white supremacist, she responded, “I’m Puerto Rican, Biggs’ wife is Guyanese, Shiva is Indian. If that’s a Nazi rally, the Nazis are probably more diverse than Antifa now.”