ADL Condemns Empty Chair 'Lynchings' After Virginia And Texas Incidents Go Viral

New York, NY, September 21, 2012 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed outrage over reports of incidents in which empty chairs were hung from trees by rope in Texas and Virginia in an apparent attempt to send a negative message about President Barack Obama.

“Each of these incidents is by itself profoundly offensive, on many levels,” said Abraham H. Foxman. “But when the imagery starts to circulate virally on the Internet, the problem is magnified. Regardless of one’s political views, the noose is widely recognized as a powerful visual symbol of hate, similar in intent and emotional impact to the swastika and the burning cross. These ‘empty chair lynching’ incidents -- now spreading virally on the Internet – are an insult to the President, to African-Americans and indeed to all Americans. They go well beyond what might be considered legitimate expression of political views. While hanging an empty chair does not constitute a crime, it is inexcusable behavior, and Americans across the political spectrum should come together to express our outrage.”

ADL is non-partisan and does not endorse or oppose candidates for office.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.