Antisemitic flyer
One of the flyers found in San Francisco on Jan. 23, 2022. (Screenshot/ ABC7 News - KGO)

‘Goyim TV’ flyers claiming Covid is Jewish plot land in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights

Jon Staenberg and his 13-year-old daughter, Rivka, left their home on Sunday morning in San Francisco carrying a big garbage bag. They often spend an hour or so on the weekends picking up trash in their Pacific Heights neighborhood.

But on Jan. 23, they came upon something more distressing than litter: three flyers, printed on white copy paper, folded and placed into a plastic bag weighted down with white rice, claiming: “Every single aspect of the Covid agenda is Jewish.”

“I was shaken,” said Staenberg. He wasn’t sure exactly what to do, so he took a photo and sent it to a local rabbi. As for Rivka, who celebrated her bat mitzvah in May, “it was an opportunity to teach [her] to never take anything for granted,” he said. “We should not ever think for a moment, even living in Pacific Heights, that antisemitism doesn’t exist.”

The flyers paint Covid as a Jewish conspiracy and list the names of Jews, or people suspected of being Jews, associated with the pandemic, from CDC leaders to the CEO of Pfizer. The leaflet bears a five-pointed star connected with Satanism and an advertisement for the website Goyim TV. A Nextdoor user said they picked up 20 of the baggies along Pacific Avenue between Baker and Scott streets and alerted the San Francisco Police Department.

The incident alarmed local residents and led to reports on the evening TV news. But the well-manicured San Francisco neighborhood is only the latest among many that have been hit over the past two months with antisemitic flyers bearing the Goyim TV insignia.

One of the GDL flyers found in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.
The flyers were weighted down in bags of uncooked rice.

Over the weekend, the flyers appeared in Miami Beach. In November, residents in Beverly Hills reported they were left in driveways, weighted down with pebbles. The same flyers were left in Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont, JNS reported, citing the Secure Community Network.

All share a message of Jewish conspiracy and include the website for Goyim TV, the video-sharing site co-created by Jon Minadeo Jr., a Petaluma man and leader of the Goyim Defense League, or GDL.

The Anti-Defamation League, which follows the internet-based group closely, calls it “a loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism” that “includes five or six primary organizers/public figures, dozens of supporters and thousands of online followers.”

The most prominent organizer is Minadeo, 39, who last year successfully incorporated in California as “Goyim TV LLC,” business records show. He sometimes goes by the nickname “Handsome Truth.”

An avid weightlifter who has dabbled in acting, Minadeo has for months hosted hours-long livestreams on the Goyim TV website, courting digital payments from viewers all over the world. In the streams, he blasts rock music, plays with digital filters (for example, altering his face to look like Shrek) and speeds through video chats with strangers using a torrent of racial slurs and “heil Hitler” salutes, attempting to convince them of his worldview — essentially, that Jews are responsible for the world’s evils.

Offline, Minadeo and other members of the GDL often pile in a van for what they call “Name the Nose” tours, during which they hang antisemitic banners on highway overpasses, including one in Oakland in 2020, that lament “Jewish supremacy” or claim Jews “want to start a race war.” Last year they held a demonstration outside a Holocaust center in Florida, denying the Holocaust and claiming Jews are engaged in “white genocide.” Minadeo calls these activities his “activism.”

“GDL’s overarching goal,” according to the ADL, “is to cast aspersions on Jews and spread antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories.”

Seth Brysk, ADL regional director, condemned the flyers in a TV news interview, saying the recent Colleyville hostage crisis made clear the power of antisemitic propaganda to encourage acts of violence.

Screenshot of a video posted on Aug. 23 on Goyim TV of Jon Minadeo shouting at people on the street in Los Angeles through a megaphone.
Screenshot of a video posted on Aug. 23 on Goyim TV of Jon Minadeo shouting at people on the street in Los Angeles through a megaphone.

The flyers served the purpose “of spreading their conspiracies and spreading their lies — but also for the purpose of intimidation and terrorizing,” Brysk said. “There is that link to spreading [lies], trying to intimidate — it can inspire violence and terroristic activity.”

While the vast majority of flyering activity is protected by the First Amendment, distributing antisemitic propaganda has spurred criminal charges in California recently.

In December, law enforcement in Sacramento County arrested 34-year-old Nicholas Wayne Sherman for papering a synagogue and homes in Carmichael with flyers advertising Aryan Nations and saying “Hitler was right.” Officials charged one felony and 13 misdemeanors for a state statute prohibiting the use of terrorist symbols; for example placing swastikas and burning crosses on someone’s property with the intent to intimidate. Sherman was in custody as of Monday facing $100,000 bail.

The Goyim Defense League usually takes pains to stay within what it considers to be the bounds of the law (though one adherent was recently arrested in San Diego for hate-motivated assault). In the case of the flyers, Goyim TV included a disclaimer at the bottom: “These flyers were distributed randomly and without malicious intent.”

A source close to Minadeo said he has been under pressure to stop his antisemitic activities by friends and family who fear their association with him will harm their livelihoods.

According to the source, Minadeo rejects Covid vaccines and has been ill with Covid-19 recently. He has not streamed in 34 days.

SFPD Officer Adam Lobsinger wrote to J. on Monday that police were handling the flyering incident and requested leads from the public.

“On January 23, 2022 San Francisco Police officers from Northern Station received reports of suspicious fliers in the Pacific Heights neighborhood,” Lobsinger’s statement said. “Officers located multiple fliers that contained anti-Semitic language. Officers collected the fliers, canvassed the scene for additional evidence, and authored an incident report.”

“The SFPD Special Investigations Division is handling the incident,” the statement said. “No arrests have been made. Anyone with information is asked to contact the SFPD at 415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD.”

Supervisor Catherine Stefani, whose district covers Pacific Heights, condemned the flyering on Twitter and said she was in contact with law enforcement.

“Let me be very clear: this kind of anti-Semitic hatred has no place in our city,” she wrote. “I’ve been in touch with SFPD and intend to see these individuals held accountable.”

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.