Press Release

White Supremacist Propaganda Incidents Reach All-Time High in 2022

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New ADL data shows a 38 percent increase in incidents from previous year

New York, NY, March 9, 2023 … Incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution and events reached an all-time high in the United States in 2022. The ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) annual assessment of propaganda activity recorded 6,751 incidents in 2022, a 38 percent increase over the previous year.

The ADL Center on Extremism tracked a myriad of propaganda activity last year, including the mass distribution of antisemitic, racist and anti-LGBTQ+ fliers; the dissemination of stickers, banners, graffiti and posters; hateful laser projections on buildings and stadiums and in-person white supremacist gatherings, among other events.

Reported incidents of explicitly antisemitic propaganda more than doubled, rising from 352 incidents in 2021 to 852 in 2022. 

“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans and have significantly stepped up their use of propaganda as a tactic to make their presence known in communities nationwide,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “This is a cowardly attempt to intimidate marginalized communities and those who don’t align with their twisted worldview and draw in new recruits. In response to this threat, we must recommit ourselves to the fight against hate and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.”

Propaganda was reported in every state except Hawaii, with the highest levels of activity (from most to least active) in Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Utah, Florida, Connecticut and Georgia. ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map provides a visual representation of the propaganda efforts by geographic location.

Three white supremacist groups – Patriot Front, Goyim Defense League (GDL) and White Lives Matter (WLM) - were responsible for 93 percent of the activity. 

Texas-based Patriot Front was responsible for the vast majority – 80 percent – of propaganda distributions in 2022. The group distributed propaganda in every state except Alaska and Hawaii but was most active (from most to least active) in Massachusetts, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Utah.

The Goyim Defense League (GDL), an antisemitic network that has significant crossover with other white supremacist groups and movements, was responsible for at least 492 propaganda incidents in 2022, representing roughly seven percent of the total propaganda nationwide and 58 percent of the year’s antisemitic propaganda incidents. This is a significant increase from the 74 GDL propaganda incidents recorded in 2021.The massive uptick in antisemitic propaganda overall was largely due to GDL’s growth over the course of the year.

Key findings from ADL’s 2022 report include:

  • White supremacist groups increasingly used banners, often draped over highway overpasses, to publicize their hate. ADL recorded at least 252 banner drops, a 38 percent increase from the 183 counted in 2021.
  • ADL documented 167 white supremacist events, a 55 percent increase from the 108 recorded in 2021. Events took place in 33 states, with the most activity (from most to least active) in Massachusetts, California, Ohio and Florida. The White Lives Matter network was responsible for 43 percent of these events.
  • ADL recorded 219 incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution on campuses, a 6 percent decrease from 2021 and the lowest number since ADL began tracking in 2017. While the majority of these incidents occurred on college or university campuses, at least 11 incidents were reported on K-12 campuses.
  • On-campus propaganda was recorded in 39 states, with the highest levels of activity (from most to least active) in Texas, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan.

“The sheer volume of white supremacist propaganda distributions we are documenting around the country is alarming and dangerous,” said Oren Segal, Vice President of ADL Center on Extremism. “Hardly a day goes by without communities being targeted by these coordinated, hateful actions, which are designed to sow anxiety and create fear. These actions are also being documented by the extremists themselves in order to signal back to their communities online, which provides an on-ramp to further engagement with white supremacy and hate. We need a whole-of-society approach to combat this activity, including elected officials, community leaders, and people of good faith coming together and condemning this activity forcefully.”

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.