Sep 20, 2022 - News

The state of hate: Extremism is on the rise in Florida

Florida, United States on October 19, 2017. (Photo by Emily Molli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Protesters confront a neo-Nazi (back turned) outside a speech at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 2017. Photo: Emily Molli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Extremism is on the rise in the Sunshine State as new white supremacist groups have sprung up in the nearly two years since Donald Trump lost the presidential election.

  • Per a new Anti-Defamation League report on the state of extremism and anti-semitism in Florida, new groups like White Lives Matter, Sunshine State Nationalists and Florida Nationalists have begun recruiting and demonstrating, while more established extremist Florida groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys have been shifting their focus to local politics.

Driving the news: The ADL Center on Extremism report's top-line finding is that Florida is home to an extensive and interconnected network of white supremacists and other far-right extremist groups you've probably never heard of.

  • And extremist-related incidents in Florida rose 71% between 2020 and 2021.

Zoom in: The report notes a slew of extremist incidents in the Tampa Bay area over the last two years, including:

  • Swastikas spray-painted on the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Pete
  • Neo-Nazi propaganda distributed in Sarasota
  • A private New Year's Eve party in Lakeland for the Vinlanders Social Club, "a racist skinhead crew."

The latest: The Center for Extremism says there was "a significant increase" in Florida-centric violent rhetoric in right-wing online spaces this past August, after the FBI searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago property.

Read the report

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