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.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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