Last Friday, a drone dropped flyers with swastikas and anti-media messages written on them outside an Ariana Grande concert at Sacramento State University, according to BuzzFeed. The school newspaper, the State Hornet, was the first to report the incident.
The drone dropped at least two different flyers, one featuring a swastika surrounded by phrases like “mob organized crime” and “drugs/prostitution” and captioned with the phrase “Who’s side are you on?” The other flyer featured a red X and read “Stop the Press!!! The press is the enemy.” It included a URL for a Facebook page called The Red ‘X’ Society.
The flyers were dropped on the school’s annual “Bites on the Bridge” Farm-to-Fork dinner and near the Golden 1 Center, where hundreds were waiting to see Ariana Grande perform.
Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen, who attended the event where the flyers were dropped, told the State Hornet that he would “stop whoever did this.”
“Sacramento State condemns in the strongest terms the dissemination of hate speech and propaganda Friday evening at our annual fundraising dinner on the Guy West Bridge,” Nelsen said in a statement. “The anonymous act of spreading such vile material is offensive and runs counter to the principles of inclusion and diversity practiced at Sac State. It did not stop the event, nor will it slow our march toward greater understanding and commitment to the rights and safety of our campus community.”
Some of the flyers had the words “Tracy Mapes ©2018" written in the corner. That would tie them to California conspiracy theorist Tracy Mapes, who was arrested in 2017 for dropping very similar flyers on NFL games in Santa Clara and Oakland. Mapes was charged with a misdemeanor and released.
In April, Mapes posted video of dropping flyers over the California State Capitol in Sacramento. Mapes also seems to run the Facebook page written on the flyers, The Red ‘X’ Society, which says its “Only Membership Requirement is in the Participation or Direct Action in Exposing US Corruption.” He didn’t return BuzzFeed’s request for comment.
Mapes may seem like a harmless crank, but people with similar beliefs have acted out violently with increasing frequency in the last few years. In March, Cesar Sayoc pleaded guilty to sending over a dozen pipe bombs to prominent liberal media figures in 2018.
Last year, Robert Chain was arrested for threatening to kill Boston Globe employees. He had called the Globe and left voice messages that sound a whole lot like Mapes’ flyers.
“You’re the enemy of the people and we’re going to kill every... one of you,” Chain said.