Dozens of homeowners in Coral Gables and Miami woke up Tuesday to plastic bags filled with candy corn and pictures of Disney characters on their front yards.
But the package was not intended as a gift. It was a blatant anti-Semitic insult, with the candy serving as weights to hold down paper photos of the characters — six Disney World executives with blue Stars of David stamped on their foreheads and the word “Jewish” written in capital letters below their names.
“Every aspect of Disney’s childcare is Jewish,” the pamphlets said. “Protect your children.”
Residents of Coral Gables said the flyers landed on the lawns of dozens of homes in the city, from Granada Boulevard to Capri and Cordova streets. Only a few were found in Miami, one on a porch near Southwest Fourth Avenue and 21st Street and the other on a lawn away.
Similar anti-Semitic leaflets on other topics, such as gun control and immigration, were dropped on lawns overnight. One says, “Every aspect of mass immigration is Jewish,” and another, with photos of lawmakers, says the same about gun control.
Law enforcement sources said similar flyers showed up overnight at homes from Fort Pierce to Orlando to Jacksonville. It was not immediately clear how the anti-Semitic attacks were being coordinated. The Miami Herald has chosen not to publish or display the material because of its offensive nature.
Daniela Torrealba, a supervisor in the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office, said she and her husband woke up Tuesday morning to the gun control leaflet on the Alberca Street lawn of the couple in the Gables. Torrealba said she put on gloves, carefully placed the plastic bag in another bag and took it to her home before calling police.
“It’s sick and sad to say that this is the situation we’re in, but I was initially happy that everyone got it. I was initially afraid we were being targeted,” she said.
Torrealba said she hadn’t heard anything overnight, and the only clue she came across was from a poster on her Nextdoor app that claimed to see someone in a light-colored car throw something onto a lawn at about 3:30 a.m.
The Fusion Center, an umbrella task force composed of law enforcement officers from many Miami-Dade County municipal agencies, examined the material.
“We have very little information,” said Miami police spokeswoman Kenya Fallat. “We’re looking at how we can put the puzzle together.”
Coral Gables police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said the flyers were left on lawns between the time residents went to bed Monday night and woke up Tuesday morning.
“Our detectives are investigating Ring cameras,” she said.
FBI Public Affairs Specialist James Marshall said his agency was aware of the pamphlets and has been in contact with local authorities. Calls to Walt Disney World officials were not immediately answered on Tuesday.
Similar incidents happened in several parts of California in February, according to a story by the Jewish News of Northern California. The news site reported that similar leaflets blaming Jews for COVID appeared in cities in Northern California and in Colorado and Texas. It accused the anti-Semitic material of a “loose network of men known as the Goyim Defense League” who drew attention with similar stunts, including putting up banners on highway overpasses.
The Miami area pamphlets Tuesday included the same address for an anti-Aemitic website used in the February incidents in Northern California.
The bigot literature comes at a high time for Jews across the country, where anti-Semitic incidents were up 34 percent by 2021 and more than 50 percent in Florida, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League.
Disney became a hot-button cultural issue in March when Chief Executive Bob Chapek spoke out against parental rights law in education, Ron DeSantis, and decided to end political donations. The law, known as the Don’t say gay law, prohibits classroom teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity until third grade. The announcement infuriated DeSantis, who pushed through a bill that has since robbed Disney of its special tax rights.
At one point, the debate became so heated that DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, tweeted, “If you’re against the anti-grooming bill, you’re probably a groomer or at least approve of the care of 4 children from 8 years.”
Chapek is the first Disney executive to be featured on the flyer.
Miami Herald staff writer Omar Rodriguez Ortiz contributed to this report.