DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Mayoral candidate and developer Mike Ablon called on the producer of a video circulating on Facebook to remove it. “I find that unacceptable.”
The video is a clip from the foreign film “Downfall,” specifically a scene in which Adolf Hitler accuses his generals of being traitors toward the end of World War II.
The English subtitles include vulgarities and talk about the Mayor’s race.
It portrays the current mayor, Mike Rawlings, as Hitler and Ablon and two other mayoral candidates, Regina Montoya and Miguel Solis as the Nazi generals.
Ablon, who is Jewish, denounced the video.
It was released this past weekend, which included Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Ablon said, “Yes, it hits home, but it’s the same as if it was religious, if it’s color. It’s a slight. Anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-anything, it’s all the same. It’s racism. You have to move to eliminate this from society. It has no place in Dallas. It has no place in the melting pot of America. We need to be building communities, we need to be building neighborhoods. We need to be tying cities together with the communities and neighborhoods. That should be a focus, a positive focus.”
The video shows the reaction after realizing another mayoral candidate, Councilman Scott Griggs won the crowded race, featuring ten candidates, out-right without needing a run-off election.
It was originally created and posted by a man using the name Tom Joad because he wants to remain anonymous.
Steven Wollard, who supports Griggs, shared it on Facebook.
“I found it amusing and so I shared it. I think Mike Ablon would be better served concerning himself with the minorities and the poor of Dallas than worrying about what happens on Holocaust Remembrance weekend if he wants to be the mayor of our city,” said Wollard.
CBS 11 asked Wollard if he understood why some people may find the video offensive.
“Sure, I could easily see where Ablon’s campaign would use that to try to deflect attention from the things the video is actually attempting to portray. When I watch the video, I don’t think it has anything to do with who killed six million Jews. I think it’s just a funny video,” said Wollard.
Wollard said the video is about members of the Dallas political establishment who’ve wasted money on projects, including the proposed tollroad between the Trinity River levies, instead of spending funds on the homeless, fixing streets, and paying police officers more.
The city is in the process of spending more than $533 million to repair its streets as part of a 2017 bond package approved by voters.
About $20 million of the bond package is targeted to build housing for the homeless.
Last year, council members voted to increase starting pay for Dallas police officers and give raises.
Wollard said he hasn’t discussed the video with Griggs but said he doesn’t think Griggs would find it amusing.
In a statement, Griggs said, “I don’t know who produced this video and I have never seen it and only heard about it this morning when I was contacted by the press to comment on it. The YouTube video was posted by the Mayes Media Group who is representing the Ablon campaign. This reads to me as a cynical attempt to smear my name. I have nothing but respect for the Jewish community and I can’t believe anyone familiar with the truth of this incident would think otherwise. I’m disappointed that they are using these flimsy tactics to distract from the conversation we should be having about what ideas and values we want from our city’s next mayor.”
While Ablon wants the video removed, he doesn’t believe Griggs is responsible for it.
Ablon said, “I’m not in the blame game. I’m in the building game. How do we put our city together.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings also rejected the video, saying, “It was very upsetting. To be likened to Adolf Hitler and to have Hispanic and Jewish candidates liked to Nazis is pretty distasteful. Disappointed about that.I’m worried about if this is the tone of the election already, where does it go from here? There’s always these groups in our city as mean and mean-spirited, and they don’t really exemplify the loving nature this city really has. It’s sad.”
In a statement, candidate Miguel Solis said, “You don’t joke about Hitler and the Nazis. I can take a punch, but when you directly or indirectly target communities that have had to grapple with hatred targeted at them, that’s a step too far. It’s my hope that Councilman Griggs shares this belief, that he explicitly denounces the video and demands that his supporters take it down.”
The Regina Montoya campaign also issued a statement: “This was a reprehensible and vile video that never should have been produced. It has no place in the political discourse of Dallas, or anywhere.”