ADL Statement on Tragic Death of Good Samaritan in Louisiana; Lack of Action by Snapchat

New York, NY, June 6, 2018 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on Snapchat to take meaningful action and to work with law enforcement in response to the death of Good Samaritan Sherell Lewis, who was struck and killed by a pickup truck in Leesville, Louisiana, as he was helping remove dangerous debris from a roadway. The alleged driver then reportedly posted on Snapchat a picture of his dented truck, along with using racial slurs to describe Mr. Lewis.

Brittan Heller, Director of ADL's Center for Technology and Society, issued the following statement:

This is a tragic situation, made worse by the use of hateful speech on Snapchat that devalues and demeans the life of Sherell Lewis. The fact that Snap Inc. has not responded to this incident yet is unacceptable. The user clearly violated Snapchat’s community guidelines, which prohibits "content that demeans, defames, or promotes discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or veteran status." We call on Snap Inc. to suspend the user and address how it intends to improve its detection of hate speech in the future, and to work with law enforcement to investigate this situation further.

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.

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