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Miami Herald apologizes for racist, anti-Semitic Spanish-language insert

The editors, blaming "internal failures," admitted they had not read an ad supplement that said American Jews support "thieves and arsonists" and compared BLM protesters to Nazis.
Image: Miami Herald office
The Miami Herald office building in Doral, Fla., on Feb. 13.Wilfredo Lee / AP file

Editors at The Miami Herald and its sister Spanish-language newspaper, El Nuevo Herald, apologized to readers this week for including a Spanish-language insert that said American Jews support "thieves and arsonists" and compared Black Lives Matter protesters to Nazis.

In an open letter published Monday, the editors said they were "deeply sorry" for the column in the "LIBRE" insert and that they would no longer include the paid Spanish-language supplement, which has included anti-Semitic and racist columns for months.

The insert that ran in Friday's El Nuevo Herald contained a column headlined “American Jews and Israeli Jews.”

The column's author, Roberto Luque Escalona, wrote in Spanish that Jewish Americans always talk about the Holocaust, but questioned whether they'd forgot Kristalllnacht, the name given to the events of Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, when German Nazis carried out violent raids in Jewish communities, destroying Jewish-owned businesses, and arresting and killing Jews.

Escalona lumped together Black Lives Matter protesters and antifa, the coalition of left-wing, self-described anarchist activists who have violently confronted white nationalists. He said those groups had forgotten Kristallnacht, but suggested they were worse than Nazis because "the Nazis didn't steal; they only destroyed."

There has been increased focus on the targeting of Latinos with disinformation and racist political messaging as the presidential race has kicked into high gear and the race to win the battleground state of Florida has tightened.

But social media and Spanish language airwaves have been filled with such messaging targeted at Latinos for months.

Aminda Marqués González, executive editor and publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, and Nancy San Martín, El Nuevo Herald’s managing editor, said in the open letter to readers that neither of them had read the insert prior to publication.

“It is one of a series of internal failures that we are investigating in order to prevent this from ever recurring,” they wrote. "The fact that no one in leadership, beginning with us, had previously read this advertising insert until this issue was surfaced by a reader is distressing."

El Nuevo Herald had been running the LIBRE insert since at least January, according to the letter. But both editors said they only became aware of its offensive content on Friday, after someone tweeted a picture of the "incredibly offensive column" showing how it compared Black Lives Matter protesters to Nazis. The Washington Post first reported the apology on Wednesday.

The Herald apologized after they spent the weekend going through past editions of LIBRE, said Marqués and San Martín, who added that they "were appalled to discover multiple instances of anti-Semitic and racist commentary since January — content that would never meet our editorial standards at el Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald."

Both editors also announced the termination of their relationship with LIBRE and promised to "never publish, print or distribute its content again."

An initial internal investigation found that "we do not have a content review process for LIBRE and other similar supplements that are curated by paid customers," the Herald said, adding that additional findings looking into the newspaper's business relationship with LIBRE will be published in English and Spanish by the end of the week.

Three weeks ago, Marqués apologized after a Herald sports columnist criticized players on the NFL's Tennessee Titans for protesting racism.

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