A right-wing activist who caused controversy across southern Maine by holding up a sign that says “It’s Okay to Be White” was assaulted on Monday in front of Portland City Hall while demonstrating with his sign.
The attack comes just days after members of the Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) called for the use of violence against him during an online video forum.
The activist, Richard Ward, formerly ran for city council in Portland, and his sign has set off a firestorm of counter protests, complaints to the City Council, and now violent retaliation.
“I was out in front of city hall with my banner, then this Antifa person showed up, and tried to put a sign in front of ours,” said Ward. He said the attempt to interfere with his demonstration led to a brief scuffle, then the person punched him in the head several times.
At that point, Ward used pepper spray to defend himself, which caused the assailant to flee. The assailant has yet to be identified.
Videos posted to Twitter by an anonymous user over the weekend show unidentified members of Maine’s budding socialist movement discussing the merits of using violence against Ward and other activists.
“The most effective tactic we’ve had in the United States for making Nazi’s uncomfortable in the streets, is punching them in the face,” a masked participant who goes by the name “Z” said in the DSA Zoom forum.
Other comments made by “Z” appeared to encourage DSA members to consider using violence as a legitimate political tool.
Those comments came just days before a masked left-wing attacker did precisely that.
Ward immediately contacted the police to inform them what had happened, and several other demonstrators who were with him provided witness statements. Ward said the Portland cops told him the information they provided was enough to charge the assailant with battery, but the identity of the attacker is not known at this point.
Ward denied the characterization of his activism advanced by many on the left, including the anonymous DSA members.
“I just thought it was crazy. The whole calling me a Nazi thing doesn’t make sense to me,” he said. “A lot of my family is not white. A third of my family is black or asian. So I just find it crazy.”
Footage from the DSA forum where members discussed the merits of using violence against Ward was captured by an anonymous activist who describes himself or herself as part of Anti-Communist Action. The Maine Wire has not been able to independently authenticate the video, but DSA sources on Twitter appear to have acknowledged it as authentic.
In another clip posted by the same anonymous Twitter user, “Z” encourages her fellow community activists not to rule out the use of violent “direct action” as a tool to achieve their goals.
In another clip, “Z” brags about wielding influence over reporters at the Portland Press Herald, influence she says she’s used to shape coverage of local issues in the newspaper.
While the “It’s Okay to Be White” slogan may sound innocuous, left-wing activists believe it is a dog-whistle — i.e. a coded message — for white supremacy.
An anonymous source who also goes by the nom de guerre “Z” was quoted by the Press Herald in coverage of Ward’s earlier clashes with left-wing demonstrators.
“It’s not OK for these people to use really dog-whistle rhetoric to try and trick normal people who do believe in equality,” the paper quoted “Z” as saying.
“They’re using old white supremacist nonsense to try and muddy the water,” Z said. “This is the whitest state in America. Being white has always been OK. We’re trying to make the people of color and people who don’t have equal rights also feel like they matter and it’s OK to be them.”
The Maine Wire has asked Portland Mayor Kate Snyder for comment on the attack, and if she responds to our email we will update this story.
UPDATE: The anonymous Twitter user who uploaded the videos of the DSA meeting uploaded a new video Wednesday morning. The video appears to show a scuffle between an Antifa protester and Ward, though it’s hard to make out exactly what happened in the video.
Thank you for being the only media outlet in Maine not silent on this. I think most of us are starting to realize that News Center Maine, WGME, Portland Press Herald, and Bangor Daily work directly for the Dems.
I think Maine is starting to wake up. Good work.
I am so glad the socialists in Portland are finally being exposed. They have had free reign for far too long.
Communism and socialism is disgusting. As a local Portlander, I plan to do what I can to stop it. They use low information Democrats as tools to push their political agenda.
The Maine Wire has once again done what other media has refused to do. I recommend everyone to subscribe and sign up.
I cannot believe that people in Portland Maine would condone this level of violence. There is a reason we have free speech in America. I am ashamed.
I just subscribed. Following The Maine Wire from now on.
Violence of any kind should be condemned. Let me be the first to say I disavow anyone who wants to harm others.
Epic. Please keep up the good work and exposing socialists that creep into our institutions.
Strange, the “comrades” look like they were cast in the Walking Dead. OG Commies would surely laugh at their goofy finger snapping and horrendous BO. Openly encouraging a beat down on a man who wants to peacefully exercise free speech? A vicious gang of 40 y/o virgins, unemployed English majors, no-daddy skanks, and fent addicts. Impressive collection. They might try relocating to Canada to realize the utopia that exists only a hundred miles away. Imagine the satisfaction they would feel as a part of that inclusive “community” when they get trampled by military grade draft horses for demonstrating in public. I guarantee they’d immediately be offered a compassionate way out by the Turdeau Dictatorship based on overwhelmingly negative impacts to society. Honestly, there is no place in Maine for the violence and vitriol they espouse. It needs to end.
I just wanted to thank you Steve for the work you have been doing, reporting what the Maine media is not, and really being fair and balanced. I have heard you also on WVOM, and I hope you continue to make radio appearances. Thanks again!
Co-Founder, Maine Tea Party
In one week I had 3 of my friends send me links to various articles from Maine Wire. I had no idea it existed! We’ve needed a media outlet like this for a long time. Thank you folks for reporting on the truth unlike News Center Maine.